The ancient market town of Melton Mowbray is located in the heart of the East Midlands in the county of Leicestershire and is well known for its world famous Pork Pies and Stilton Cheese. The cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Peterborough are nearby and the local towns of Grantham, Oakham, and Loughborough are all conveniently situated within a 20-mile radius of the town. London lies just 105 miles to the south.
The town maintains its traditional character through it's famous market days, which have a history going back over 1000 years. It is a popular and lively place to visit, with many visitors coming to sample the atmosphere of the open air markets held on various weekdays. Today, major companies and national institutions provide much of the employment in the town.
Melton's history is still evident today if one looks above the modern shop frontages in the center of town. The mid 16th century Anne of Cleves' House, a gift from King Henry VIII to his divorced wife and the cathedral-sized St. Mary's Church with its dominating 100 foot tower of 1170, are testimony to its rich and varied heritage.
Melton Borough has a rural feel: its peaceful countryside rivalling the Cotswolds with well-treed rolling green hills, valleys, unspoilt villages, hamlets, gated roads and old village churches, constructed in mellow local ironstone. Melton Borough has benefited from the development of towns to the west, itself avoiding large scale industrial activity, resulting in an area with an attractive historical background.
Melton and the area around the town boasts a history going back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. In Roman times, the area became important because of its close proximity of the Fosse Way and other important Roman roads and the military centres at Leicester and Lincoln. Later the Saxon and Dane Law period (8th/9th centuries) heavily influenced the area and this is reflected in many place names.
The effects of the Norman invasion are recorded in the 1086 Doomsday Survey. This document indicates that Melton Mowbray (Medeltone - meaning 'Middletown surrounded by small hamlets') was a thriving market town of some 200 inhabitants, with weekly markets, two water mills and two priests. 'Mowbray' was added later after the name of an influencial wealthy land owning family who lived in the area for nearly 400 years.
In the Civil War, Melton was a Roundhead garrison commanded by a Colonel Rossiter. Two battles were fought in the town: in November, 1643, Royalists caught the garrison unaware and carried away prisoners and booty; in February, 1645, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, commanding a Royalist force of 1,500 men, inflicted severe losses on the Roundheads.
Today Melton Mowbray is bustling with activity as a commercial centre. On Tuesdays, both cattle and street markets are held where fresh produce and household items can be purchased.
A large Saturday street market, Wednesday small antique/bric-a-brac market are local favourites. Melton's Farmers Market takes place each Friday at the Cattle Market where naturally reared meats, organic vegetables, bread and locally made cakes, preserves and honey are traded.