MELTON CONSTABLE is a parish and village, with an important junction station on the Midland and Great Northern joint railway, of the lines to Lynn, Fakenham, Norwich, Yarmouth, Holt and Cromer, 8 miles east-north-east from Fakenham, 6 south-west from Holt, 12 from North Walsham and about 127 from London, in the Northern division of the county, hundred, petty sessional division and county court district of Holt, union of Walsingham, rural deanery of Holt and archdeaconry and diocese of Norwich. Burgh Parva, a part of this civil parish, has always been annexed to Melton Constable, but the church of St. Mary is in ruins, and only the tower and portions of the walls are now standing. A temporary iron church was erected in 1903, pending the restoration of the old church of St. Mary. The church of St. Peter at Melton is a small but ancient building of Hunstanton stone, in mixed styles, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts and a low Normal tower containing one bell: the east window is stained: the church was restored in 1884 at the sole expense of Lord Hastings, a north transept being added to form a vestry; the family pew of Lord Hastings, which was erected in 1681, is adorned with shields of arms: the church was refitted with good carved oak benches, a new oak lectern and a reading desk and an oak reredos was erected in 1903; there are monuments to various members of the Astley family: the church affords 100 sittings. The registers of Melton Constable date from the year 1551 and those of Burgh Parva from 1559. The living is a rectory, consolidated with that of Burgh Parva, net yearly value £168, including 81 acres of glebe, in the gift of Lord Hastings, and held since 1893 by the Rev. Cameron Quilter Knowles M.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge, who is also vicar of, and resides at Briston. The extensive repairing shops and permanent way depot of the Midland and Great Northern joint railway have been erected here. The Railway Institute, opened in 1896, for the use of employés, comprises reading and billiard rooms, dining and coffee rooms, a library of 1,000 volumes, and also a large hall for public meetings and entertainments. There is a recreation ground of 9 acres, leased by the Parish Council from Lord Hastings. Melton Constable Hall, the seat of Lord Hastings, is a rectangular mansion of brick and stone, to which various additions have been made, including a corridor over 100 feet long, connecting the hall with the wing on the site of the old hall: the house is surrounded by elegant terraces, inclosed by ornamental grounds, and affords a fine view of the large lake; it is situated in an extensive and well-timbered park, which is stocked with red and fallow deer, being the second park in England where the red deer were introduced: the various apartments contain a fine collection of valuable paintings and porcelain. Melton was granted by the Norman Conqueror to Arfastus, Bishop of Thetford, of whom it was held by Roger de Lyons, whose descendants took the name of Mealton, and sometimes signed themselves De Constable, from the office which they held under the bishop: it has now been for centuries the seat of the Astleys, Barons Hastings. The Swanton Great Wood, famous as a preserve for woodcock shooting, is upon this estate. The stud farm and paddocks, which adjoin the park, are celebrated as the birth-place of the Derby winner "Melton," and the Home farm for its herd of red polled cattle, Tamworth pigs and a stud of shire horses. A lamb sale is held here annually during the first week of July. Lord Hastings is lord of the manor and sole landowner. The soil is mixed; subsoil, clay. The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, turnips and grass. The area is 1,698 acres of land and 24 of water; rateable value, £5,053; the population in 1901 was 934.
Post, M. O. & T. O., T. M. O., E. D., S. B. & A. & I. Office (Sub-Office. Letters should have S.O. Norfolk added). John Linder, sub-postmaster. Letters are delivered at 8 a.m. (for callers only at 12 noon) & 4 p.m.; dispatched at 11.45 a.m. via Norwich & 5.30 p.m. by Dereham & at 7.45 p.m. via Peterborough. No postal business on sundays except telegraph from 8 to 10 a.m. Wall Letter Box at railway station, cleared at 5.40 p.m. week days only.
Midland & Great Northern Joint Railways (locomotive department), Wm. Marriott, district engineer & locomotive supt.; Charles S. Slade, assistant engineer; David Vicker, permanent way inspector; Edgar George Palmer, chief clerk in the district engineer's office; Walter Gamble, rolling stock inspector; George Ratcliff, architect
Public Elementary School (mixed). Erected in 1896 & enlarged in 1900, for 240 children; average attendance, 215; Alfred Hamer, master; Miss Bertha E. Brown, assistant mistress
Railway Station, Walter William Copland, station master & goods agent
Marked thus * letters should be addressed, Swanton Novers, Melton Constable
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1891 Census Names Index
Directory transcripts from White's 1845 and 1854 and Kelly's 1883; 1892; 1896; and 1937.
White's 1883 [GENUKI-NFK]
Melton Constable Archeology [Norfolk Heritage Explorer]
Church of St Mary, Burgh Parva [Simon Knott]
More on Melton Constable [GENUKI-NFK]
More Parish Information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]