Melton Tales

Painting the Town Red

A less sober member of the aristocracy enhanced Melton’s reputation in a somewhat different manner. In 1837, the Irish Marquis of Waterford, drunk after a day at the local races, found a pot of red paint, and proceeded to daub all the buildings and even the toll keeper red, giving rise to the expression ‘painting the town red.’

Inventing Afternoon Tea

The Melton area gave the country one of its most enduring traditions, Afternoon Tea. Anna, Duchess of Bedford was staying in 1842 with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle. Tired of the long wait between lunch and dinner, she ordered for herself and her friends tea, sandwiches, buns and cake to be served at five o’clock sharp. When she later moved to London she took the custom with her and so a famous tradition was born.

Stilton - the King of Cheeses

As well as pies, Melton Mowbray has a long traditional association with cheese. Though the exact origins of Stilton are much disputed, there is little doubt that by about 1730 its production was widespread in the Melton Mowbray area. Protected by a Certification Trade Mark and EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) six local dairies are licensed to produce both Blue Stilton and White Stilton cheese.

Authentic Melton Mowbray Pork Pies

Stilton whey fed a large pig population in the Melton area and hence local bakers developed an edible hot crust pastry which is ‘raised’ to make the pie and filled it with pork. On 4 April 2008 the European Union awarded the Melton Mowbray pork pie Protected Geographical Indication status, following a long-standing application made by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. As a result of this ruling pies made only within a designated zone around Melton, and using uncured pork, are allowed to carry the Melton Mowbray name on their packaging.

Melton’s Historic Markets

The Tuesday markets are the third oldest recorded in the country and were registered in the 1085 Doomsday Book. The Livestock market is the largest town centre livestock market in the country and has been in existence for over 1,000 years Melton established one of the first farmers' markets, visited by Prince Charles in 2000.

Witches of Belvoir

The Witches of Belvoir were three women, a mother and her two daughters, accused of witchcraft in England around 1618. The mother, Joan Flower, died while in prison, and the two daughters, Margaret and Philippa, were hanged at Lincoln. St Mary’s the Virgin in Bottesford is the only church in the UK to house a tomb recording a death by witchcraft.

Melton Cloth

Melton is the traditional centre of English fox-hunting, and black and scarlet hunting coats are traditionally made from Melton cloth, due to its weatherproof qualities. In England not only is Melton used for the scarlet hunting coat, an iconic symbol of the upper-class elite, but it is also used in black for the donkey jacket, an iconic symbol of the working class labouring man before becoming a fashion status for Punks, Mods or Skinheads.

The medieval wool trade paid for the building of the beautiful ‘mini cathedral’ of St Mary’s, one of the finest parish churches in the country.


The way to identify Melton Mowbray flourished in the 1800’s when it became the ‘Capital of Hunting’ and was visited by the aristocracy and royalty during the season. Edward VIII first met Mrs Simpson in the Melton area and the Anne of Cleves Inn was part of Henry VIII’s divorce settlement to Anne.