Melton Mowbray has had many fine places of worship built including the magnificent St Mary’s.
The Roman Catholic Church of St John was built in 1840 by E. J. Willson for John and Thomas Exton. It is particularly interesting as the nationally renowned architect, Augustus Pugin who helped design the Houses of Parliament, worked on details and furnishings in the church. The font, where people are christened, was also designed by Pugin but has since been removed. As with any building, it has changed over time but sometimes to the benefit of other. Its old organ was bought and transported piece-by-piece to a boys school in Limes Avenue, then re-assembled.
Other religious communities existed in Melton Mowbray. Two churches which have been lost are those of the Primitive Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists, which were both nearby. The Primitive Methodists built a chapel in 1888 on Sherrard Street and it cost £2,600 and could seat 500 people . In 1911 its pastor was Rev. Stanley Buckley, a native of Lancashire who served as President and Secretary of the Free Church Council. On 17 August 1871, a Wesleyan Methodist chapel opened in Sage Cross Street and cost £2,300 and attendance and evening congregations reached 400 people. These two chapels both replaced earlier, smaller buildings in the area and catered to expanding audiences on the later nineteenth century.
Another Catholic Church has been built in Melton Mowbray in Sandy Lane. This was for the Polish community, exiled from Poland in the 1940s due to World War II and subsequently re-settled in the Melton area. The Record Office has information on what the Polish community endured during this time. Why not visit the website to listen to interviews and read about their experiences?