Victorian (1837-1901)

1837. On the night of the 6th of April 1837 the Marquis of Waterford and his cronies from the Hell Fire Club decided to paint Melton red. This included the toll gate at Thorpe End and the toll gate keeper, as well as the swan on the front of the Swan Inn. They had already made a nuisance of themselves over the previous few nights causing much damage to property in the town. The local constables apparently could not cope and called in reinforcements from Leicester. Finally arrested, the Marquis and his friends were brought before Leicester Assizes and fined £200 each.

1842. After the Emancipation Act Roman Catholic churches could once again exist in England. The Roman Catholic Church on Sherrard Street was designed by Pugin and built in 1842.

1846. The railway came to Melton Mowbray. In 1875 a freak snow storm left snow to the depth of 14 inches on the railway station roof, which promptly collapsed.

1848. The houses backing on to the Play Close were encroaching on this common land with pig sties and allotments. The local townspeople rioted and the local specials were called in. After the case was tried at Leicester Assizes the Play Close was freed from all encroachments.

1849. The Melton Town Estate bought the Lordship of Melton, which included the market tolls.

1854. The charge of the Light Brigade was led by Lord Cardigan, who lived at the Limes in his old age and hunted from Melton.

1859. The first edition of the Melton Mowbray Times was published on August 16th 1859.

1866. After the absentee vicar Robert Croughton had run up massive debts, the curate-in-charge, Revd. W. M. Colles became Vicar.
Interested in archaeology he talked his friend Gilbert Scott into becoming involved with the restoration of St. Mary’s Parish Church, Melton. Rev Gilbert Kaney followed Revd. Colles as vicar and had the Colles Hall built in his honour. He was followed by Canon Richard Blakeney, who was responsible for the restoration of the hamlet churches, of which Freeby and Sysonby were in the worst state and had almost fallen down.

1890. Saw the dare devil Midnight Steeplechase with the competitors riding wearing ladies night dresses over their riding clothes! Robert Dalgleish, a surveyor for the railways, noticed the large deposits of iron stone in the area and set up the iron foundry at Holwell Works. The second wool spinning mill was built in Melton Mowbray on the site now occupied by Pedigree Petfoods. It was a large site and would have employed mainly women and children for very low wages.

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