Stuart (1603-1714)

1603. James I, during his triumphant progress from Scotland, passed through the Vale of Belvoir and knighted as many people as he could, 50 on 22nd and 23rd of April alone! This was to try and gain popularity as his strong protestant standards upset Catholics to the point that one Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605! The first English translation of the Bible in 1611, is the King James version.

1604. William Digby died and in 1610 he was charged in the Court of the Star Chamber by the Attorney General with the depopulation of Welby. This he had done some years before his death to complete the layout of his house and estate.

1620-30. Cold Overton Hall was built.

1642-9. The English Civil War was a result of Charles I’s attempts to rule with supreme authority. The Melton Borough was divided. A
Parliamentarian garrison was station in the town. They took down the coat of arms of Charles I from the church to use for target practice. The church suffered at this time and most of the interior furnishings and brasses were removed. On February 23rd 1645 the bloodiest battle of the local campaign occurred on Dalby Road, which was formerly called Ankle Hill after the amount of blood shed. About 150 men died here when the Royalist forces under Sir Maraduke Langdale charged down the hill to be met by the Parliamentarians who fought their way up the hill from the town. Who won is not clear as with so much in this war.

1638. Due to his good fortune in London, Robert Hudson whose birth place was Melton, gifted money to build Bede Houses opposite the church. These were originally built for six old bachelors or widowers.

1658. Great Dalby church’s spire came crashing down after a vigorous ringing in of the New Year. It took out most of the nave and an
estimated £1660 was required at that time to rebuild it. Coinage though was in short supply and the two ‘men of good standing’ who sent around the country to raise money finally ran off with it once they had obtained it! The trade token show here, issued in Melton Mowbray in 1666, shows the measures taken to keep the local economy going during the upheavals of the Civil War and following Commonwealth period.

1662. The first edition of the English prayer book written primarily by Thomas Cranmer, was printed in 1533. The second edition under Edward VI was in 1552. In 1553 Mary removed it and then Elizabeth restored it. In 1604 James I altered it but, finally in 1662, when Charles II had regained the throne the version of the Book of Common Prayer still used in some Church of England services was printed.

1665. Freeby chapel was built as an independent chapel – one of the first in the county. Born in 1674 Dr Issac Watts the great non-conformist clergyman was chaplain to Sir John Hartopp at Freeby chapel. He may even have written some of his famous hymns, ‘O God our help in ages past’ or ‘Jesus shall reign where ere the sun’ in Freeby.

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