1500. St. Mary’s Parish Church gained its distinctive clerestories and decorated upper level to the tower. The increased interior light from these high windows would have fallen on a brightly painted interior. A huge rood screen, wide enough to walk along the top, would have blocked the view to the altar. Above this a large crucifix with St. John and the Virgin Mary kneeling on either side would have dominated the scene. The two town boundary crosses, one on the Leicester road and the other at Thorpe End, marked the route for religious processions.
1538. The dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII forced out the monks and the knights of the Order of St. John from their
properties in the town. In 1549 some of this property was bought by two church wardens and passed on to 20 trustees to be kept in trust for the town of Melton Mowbray. This was primarily for the schools and is the first reference to the Town Estate.
1543. The two brasses of this date in St. Mary’s Parish Church were fixed, one above the other, in a niche in the vestry. One gives details of the bodies placed near it, one Chrystofer Gonsone and family and is dated ‘XX day of Augt. 1543’. The other is in Latin ‘Scta Trinitus unis deus miserere nobis’ ‘Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us’.
1547. The reformation meant that the Church of England was formed with Henry VIII as its head breaking from the authority of the Pope in Rome. In St. Mary’s the rood screen was removed and from the records there was no priest appointed until 1562.
1550. The Glebe house at Frisby-on-the-Wreake was built.
1553. Hugh Latimer was born at Thurcaston in 1473. Originally a Roman Catholic priest, he became an ardent disciple of the reformers and in 1535 Henry VIII made him Bishop of Worcester. However he was too out spoken for Henry’s liking, and after he handed Henry VIII a Bible marked at a passage which read ‘Whore mongers and adulterers God will judge’ he was sent to the Tower of London for 7 years. After his release Bishop Hugh Latimer moved to Melton Mowbray, where he preached for the last few years of his life before, at the age of 80, he was captured and brought before Queen Mary’s Bishops. Together with Bishop Ridley and Bishop Thomas Cramner, Hugh Latimer was burnt at the stake in 1553.
1566-7. When Queen Elizabeth gained the throne from Queen Mary the country once again became protestant and St. Mary’s rood screen, having been replaced under Queen Mary was once again removed. The pulpit and reading desk at Welby church are of an Elizabethan date. The silver chalice used at Communion services at Sysonby church dates from 1566-7. Sadly its paten had been stolen, which is why most of these valuable and special objects are kept well away from the churches these days.
1580. The school buildings at Spittal End became so dilapidated that the school was moved into the North transept of St. Mary’s Church where it stayed for quite some time.
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