1722. The large monument in Burton Lazars churchyard to William Squires with figures representing life, death, time, faith, hope and
charity, cost so much that there was nothing left of his estate to pass on to his family.
1730. Lady Beaumont’s cheese was first made at Quenby Hall. The house keeper, a Mrs. Orton of Little Dalby, went on to make larger quantities of this cheese once she left this employment. By 1756 it was being made by only three women, then the recipe was passed to women in neighbouring parishes and a Mrs Paulet at Wymondham eventually sent some of this cheese to be sold by her relation Cooper Thornhill, who kept The Bell at Stilton in Huntingdonshire on the Great North Road. It is from here that it gained its popularity and name – Stilton Cheese.
1753. The Quorn hunt was formed.
1740. The local people continued to place flowers on the cross at Burton Lazars at times of religious festivals. This practice was deemed Papist and so the cross was destroyed.
1760. The Enclosure Act forced the defining of boundaries which changed the look of the countryside as new hedges were laid.
1795. The canal was opened linking Melton Mowbray to Leicester and the primary commodity transported was coal. The basin at the bottom of Burton Street then became the commercial centre of the town.
1773. Dr Thomas Ford became vicar of Melton Mowbray. A friend of John Wesley, this energetic preacher had a great effect on the town, starting the first Sunday school in the country. In 1775 the Grammar school ceased to exist Dr Ford was the driving force behind remodeling it on an elementary school system with free tuition. The school moved back to its refurbished premises in Spittal End and out of the church. In 1794 a girls’ school was started to teach reading, knitting and plain work.
1811. The Prince of Wales, son of George III, became Prince Regent and would later be George IV. While hunting from Belvoir Castle he was greeted by the ringing of Melton’s church bells. The bell ringers expected him to ride into the town, and they hoped he would give them some money. George sat tight and the angry bell ringers and townspeople showed their displeasure with him by snow balling him when he did finally visit the town!
1824. Lord Byron died at Misselonghi and his body was brought back to England for burial. On its way to Nottingham it rested overnight at The Swan Inn. The next day Lady Caroline Lamb, whose father owned Sysonby Lodge, was out riding and met the funeral procession. She was said to be very upset by this last meeting with her love.
1831. Melton Mowbray pork pies were first baked by Edward Adcock in a shop next to the Fox Inn yard. The waste product of cheese making is whey and pigs love eating whey, so one local delicacy inadvertently led to the other.
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