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Melton Mowbray 'castle'

In the civil parish of Melton Mowbray.
In the historic county of Leicestershire.
Modern Authority of Leicestershire.
1974 county of Leicestershire.
Medieval County of Leicestershire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK753192
Latitude 52.76419° Longitude -0.88673°

Melton Mowbray 'castle' has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Possible site for the manor house of the Mowbray's (Molbrai), which, considering the status of the family (Earls of Northumberland), may well have been fortified, has been identified at 5 King Street. Surveys of 5 King Street show it to be part of an early medieval open-halled house. Alterations to number 16 Church Street revealed a medieval circular stone wall subjected to considerable heat. This is probably the 'Manor Oven' mentioned in C13 documents. It may be part of the castle or fortified Manor of the Mowbrays, which existed in C14. King Richard and King John visited the town and may have stayed at an earlier castle. (2002,

Who shall tell where lies the site of this castle? The original grantee of the manor was Geoffry de Wirce, from whom the lands passed to Nigel d'Albini, who took the name of Mowbray, transmitting the estates and castle to the family of that name, so famous in after years. William de Mowbray was one of King John's Barons, most active in obtaining the Great Charter in 1215. (Mackenzie)

The historic core of the town is centred on the market place (MLE3931) and parish church (MLE14728). A former, possibly fortified manor house, refered to as a castle, may have been located to the north of the market place. It appears that Melton may well have had a Saxon mint. The historic core is based on Burton's Estate map of 1787 and the early C19th OS Surveyor's map.
A coin found in 1999 suggested that Melton had been the site of a Saxon mint.
The evidence for a castle or 'fortified manor house' at Melton Mowbray is summarised by Hunt and repeated by Cantor, quoting various documentary and antiquarian sources. Hunt notes that Burton, writing in 1622, recorded the presence of a castle at Melton Mowbray, attributing its foundation to Roger, Lord Mowbray. A castle is mentioned in 'Baker's Chronicle' (no reference), whilst Cantor further notes Harvey (no reference and undated) as listing a former castle at Melton Mowbray, now demolished. Hunt postulates its construction in the mid 12th century, during the Anarchy afflicting the reign of Stephen (1139-1154). He suggests the building, manor or castle, was located to the north of the Market Place, in the vicinity of King Street. A 19th century antiquarian notes the presence of substantial masonry remains either side of the street, incorporated into later buildings. The castle or manor house is believed to have been replaced in the later 14th century by a new manor on King Street, thought to surviving in part as 5, King Street (MLE14704). (Hunt 1979) (Leicestershire and Rutland HER)

Gatehouse considers it is likely that Melton Mowbray, as an important pre-Conquest town and manor of the powerful Molbrai's probably did have an early 'castle' but this would have been near the church and was probably succeeded by the C14 manor house. The few vague historical references to a castle at Melton have been used support the identification of 'The Mount' as a castle. The manor house was probably sited beside the church in what later became the Swan Inn. The Old Courthouse, Church Lane shows the continuation of this site as a court site. This would not include King Street, which is the other side of the market place and the remains here are presumably not of the manor house (There does not seem to be any real historical evidence to suggest 5 King Street was the manor house but somehow this idea seems to have fairly widely accepted).
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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