Late Medieval (1272-1485)

1324. Melton Market’s charter states that it was held on a Tuesday.

1339. At this time the wool trade in England was so important that sheep actually out numbered people 3:2. Melton was one of the main wool trade centres and because of this three merchants were sent to the Trade Council of Edward III. These were Robert de Waltham, Robert Palmer and John de Brunkelo. These men were so rich that they paid about an eighth of the total tax bill for the town.

1341. The seal of John de Mowbray pictured here was placed on a conveyance for a parcel of land along the banks of the River Eye
purchased by Robert de Waltham in December 1341.

1347. The cell of Cluniac monks based in Sherrard Street was closed as the order was officially suppressed in 1347 as it was of French foundation and England was again at war with France. The school which they had been running passed into the hands of the Crown at this point. This is the first written record of a school in Melton Mowbray, although it must have been running for some time before this date.

1380. The Brentingby bell dedicated to ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary’, was made in 1380. When the church at Brentingby was declared redundant in 1970 the bell was removed and now hangs in the Bell Centre in the middle of Melton Mowbray.

1384. The Anne of Cleve’s house was built to house the chantry priests who sang prayers for people with a view to getting them to heaven more quickly!

1349. The Black Death, Bubonic Plague, wiped out half the population of France. The rats unwittingly carried the fleas that passed the bacteria pasteurella pestis from victim to victim as they fed on their blood. Shivers, a high fever, vomiting, coughing up blood, aching limbs and light hurting eyes were the early symptoms. Unable to sleep, the victims fell in deliriums and suffered diarrhoea before their skin broke out in deep blue swellings, called buboes. Once these appeared death soon followed. In 1349 alone 72 parish priests, including John de Melton Mowbray, died in office in the Lincoln Diocese. By 1381 the population of Melton was reduced to 290 adults. Before this it had been second only in size to Leicester in the county.

Late 1300’s Thomas de Mowbray was created Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal of England. Shakespeare portrays him in Richard II in the sword fighting duel with Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, later to become Henry IV. For his part in this Thomas de Mowbray was exiled and died in Italy. His son Thomas was beheaded after his part in the rebellion at York under Archbishop Scrope in 1405.

1428. Robert Monk, a chaplain and a Lollard was tried for heresy at Lincoln and stated his birth place as Melton Mowbray. The Lollards were followers of John Wycliffe and dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church.

1475. Anne de Mowbray succeeded her father as heir to the Melton Mowbray estates. The last of the de Mowbray line, she died aged only eight, betrothed to Prince Richard, son of Edward IV the younger of the two princes murdered in the tower of London.

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