Wing is a small village lying to the south of Rutland Water, approximately equidistant from Oakham and Uppingham. It is home to some 300 people, some of whom live in 17th-century houses built from ironstone quarried in nearby Barnack or Clipsham and roofed with tiles from Collyweston. It is also home to one of the few remaining ancient turf mazes, probably cut by monks in the Middle Ages as a meditational exercise to replace going on a crusade. Its design is similar to the pavement maze in Chartres Cathedral and other medieval examples.
Wing was once the home of the Rev Francis Meres, who wrote in 1598 a book called “Palladis Tamia: Witts Treasury” – it contains the first critical account of the poems and early plays of William Shakespeare. It was also home to the Rev Charles Vernon Boys, famed as physicist and inventor of instruments, who in the 1890s designed an instrument capable of responding to the light of a candle one mile away.
The name Wing probably comes from the Norse, called Vikings from the early 18th century, ‘venge’ meaning open field. It may have been that the Nordic settlers, pushing their way in among the resident Saxons during the 9th and 10th centuries, were able to find unclaimed land to farm, as the forest that covered much of Britain at that time thinned naturally on the slight ridge of land above the river Chater. The remains of that forest can still be seen a few miles away in Wakerley and Fineshade.
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