Locals who follow international news may have done a double-take this week as Rutland made headlines.

Rutland, England, that is.

Our little city’s namesake is the smallest and most rural of England’s counties and frequently gets referenced by comedians who want to poke fun at small-town life. It is also, I learned this week, the only county in England without a McDonald’s.

That is about to change. Local activists had been fighting it the same way certain Vermonters will try to keep a Walmart or Dollar General out of their town, but McDonald’s got a permit this week to build a restaurant in Rutland.

The Daily Mash, Great Britain’s equivalent of The Onion, had some fun at Rutlanders’ expense, publishing a guide to McDonald’s advising locals to try the specials — “One day, you’ll tell your grandchildren about the day you dined on a Spicy Chicken McNuggets sharebox, the taste sensation that has never truly left you” — and to use violence against fellow patrons on a whim.

The most amusing comment, though, came from the Duchess of Rutland. Yes, there is a Duke and Duchess of Rutland, and the Duchess complained that McDonald’s does not source its food locally and suggested it should serve “pheasant burgers and nuggets.”

I first saw this in The Daily Mail, a tabloid with only slightly more journalistic integrity than a Russian spambot, but they linked to video of her appearance on “Good Morning Britain,” and she really said it.

“It’s organic,” Her Grace said, looking and sounding less like Maggie Smith on “Downton Abbey” and more like someone you’d run across at the farmers’ market. “No hormones in it — no problem!”


City Hall will be closed Monday in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The agenda includes a request for residential tax stabilization, a contract for printing utility bills and the proposed paving bond.



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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

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