The Heritage Lottery Fund gave us the money and support to look at the last hundred years, or so, of the history of our village.
We have been able to consider where we are today as people, how we got here, how we worked, where we lived, how we learned and how we shopped.
So we have recorded the land we worked and burrowed into. The schools we went to, the buildings we lived in, where we bought our essentials and how we sent our letters.
We have seen how events outside the village – in war and peace – changed our lives. And found some villagers who went on to change others' lives too.
For hundreds of years, Cottesmore was a small feudal village owned by the Exton Estate. The land, the buildings, the labours of the people were owned by the Earls of Gainsborough.
During the nineteenth century there were small changes as young people left the village to earn wages in the new industries that the industrial revolution was creating across Britain. But those changes were slow.
Nothing looked very different at the beginning of the twentieth century but war was looming. Between 1914 and 1918, 86 Cottesmore men marched to war. 10 died but 76 came back. Their experiences and those of their comrades from across Britain were to drive enormous changes for them, their families and the whole of the county.
The women and men of Cottesmore began to gain new freedoms. To vote, to own or rent their homes free of the threat of eviction, to travel and earn real wages.
There were many setbacks through the twentieth century. The other side of freedom of employment was the danger of unemployment. The number and nature of land-based jobs, in particular, were changed by mechanisation in the second half of the century.
Cottesmore grew from a peaceful rural village to one that depended on war, or the threat of war, for its main focus. For over 70 years it was an important air base and during the cold war, part of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.
Now Cottesmore is a very mixed community and is one of the largest villages in Rutland with two primary schools, lots of retired people, workers in all sorts of employment and self-employment. But perhaps not as self-sufficient as it was.