A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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Melmerby (St. John the Baptist)
MELMERBY (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Penrith, Leath ward, E. division of Cumberland, 8½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Penrith; containing 329 inhabitants. This place was anciently of greater importance, and had a weekly market, and an annual fair; the former has been long discontinued, but a pleasure-fair is still held on Old Midsummer-day. The parish comprises by measurement 1651 acres of land in cultivation, exclusively of about 3000 of fell and common; there are extensive beds of limestone, some quarries of freestone, and a mine of lead. On the eastern side of the parish is Hartside Fell, a lofty mountain rising 1312 feet above the village, and over which passes a new road from Alston to Penrith. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £12. 11. 5½., and in the gift of John E. Pattenson, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £118, and the glebe comprises 35½ acres. The church is built of red freestone, and contains several ancient monumental stones. In the parish are two springs, one sulphureous, and the other chalybeate. The Roman road called the Maiden-way is visible here; its width is 21 feet.
MELMERBY, a township, in the parish of Coverham, union of Leyburn, wapentake of Hang-West, N. riding of York, 4¼ miles (W. S. W.) from Middleham; containing 110 inhabitants. At this place, of which Sir William Chaytor is now lord of the manor, the monks of Coverham possessed two oxgangs of land, granted to them by Roger Fitz-Richard. The township is situated north-west of the river Cover, and comprises 930 acres, including a portion of moorland fell.
MELMERBY, a township, in the parish of Wath, wapentake of Hallikeld, N. riding of York, 4 miles (N. N. E.) from Ripon; containing 322 inhabitants. The township comprises 1109a. 14p., of which 839 acres are arable, 252 pasture and meadow, and 18 woodland; the soil is generally fertile, but part of the land consists of a fox-cover, which extends eastward to Leeming-Lane. The village is handsome, and has some neat houses with gardens attached. A tithe rent-charge of £333. 10. has been awarded, and there is a glebe of 3½ acres.
MELPLASH, a tything, in the parish of Netherbury, union and hundred of Beaminster, Bridport division of Dorset, 2¼ miles (S. S. E.) from Beaminster; containing about 600 inhabitants. Here is a church dedicated to Christ, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Bishop of Salisbury; net income, £100.
Melsonby (St. James)
MELSONBY (St. James), a parish, in the union of Richmond, wapentake of Gilling-West, N. riding of York, 5 miles (N. N. E.) from Richmond; containing 530 inhabitants. The parish comprises 2669a. 3r. 7p., of which 2000 acres are arable, 524 meadow and pasture, and 34 woodland and plantations. Its surface, which is elevated, is broken into hills and dales: the higher grounds command a view of the Hamilton hills on the one side, and of Stanemore on the other; the lower lands are watered by a rivulet. The scenery is in many points highly picturesque, and the soil, which rests on limestone, is generally fertile: freestone is found, and on Gatherley moor, partly within the parish, are some quarries in full operation; limestone is also obtained, and there are limekilns in several parts. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 2. 11., and in the patronage of University College, Oxford: the tithes have been commuted for £690, and the glebe comprises 94 acres. The church is an ancient structure, partly in the Norman style, and is probably the same as that noticed in the Domesday survey. A school is supported by an endowment of £26 per annum. In a field opposite the rectory-house are some slight remains of a religious house, thought to have been a Benedictine nunnery, founded in the latter part of the reign of Stephen, or the earlier part of that of Henry II., by -Roger D'Ark, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Gatherley moor is noticed by Camden as one of the most distinguished places in England, for the celebration of races and other sports. Over its surface was once a raised bank of earth of great antiquity, about 12 yards in breadth, with a trench of equal width on each side, the whole generally called the Scotch Dyke, and supposed to have been a boundary line between the territories of the Britons and the Picts. There were also several barrows, now obliterated by the inclosure of the moor.
MELTHAM, a chapelry, in the parish of Almondbury, union of Huddersfield, Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Huddersfield; containing 3263 inhabitants. The chapelry is situated at the base of the mountain called West Nab, and abounds with mineral wealth; several coal-mines are in full operation, and there are quarries of good building-stone. The manufacture of woollen and cotton goods is carried on extensively; and fairs for horses, sheep, and cattle are held. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £273; patron, the Vicar of Almondbury; impropriators, the Governors of Clitheroe School. The chapel, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, was improved in 1835 by the addition of a north aisle and a square embattled tower, at an expense of £1500; it is a neat structure, and contains 1000 sittings, of which 300 are free. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. In a field between West Nab and the village is a Roman encampment.
MELTHAM-MILLS, a village, in the parish of Almondbury, union of Huddersfield, Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Huddersfield. This place owes its rise to the establishment of extensive cotton and silk mills, by Messrs. Brook, to whom it principally belongs, and who have built handsome mansions for their residence. The manufacture affords employment to nearly 1000 persons, chiefly females. A church in the later English style has been erected by James Brook, Esq., at a cost of £4000; it was consecrated in November, 1845, and contains 275 sittings. The minister's stipend is paid by Messrs. Brook, who likewise provide a house for him. Attached to the church is a spacious schoolhouse.
Melton (St. Andrew)
MELTON (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Woodbridge, hundred of Wilford, E. division of Suffolk, 2¼ miles (N. E.) from Woodbridge; containing 980 inhabitants. It is skirted on the south-east by the navigable river Deben, over which is Wilford bridge. There are some extensive iron-works carried on, and a large building-establishment. The gaol for the liberty of St. Ethelred was formerly in the parish, and also the house of industry for the hundreds of Loes and Wilford; the latter has been converted into a lunatic asylum. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £9. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Ely: the tithes have been commuted for £392. 15., and the glebe comprises 8 acres.
MELTON, a chapelry, in the parish of Welton, union of Sculcoates, wapentake of Howdenshire, E. riding of York, 4¼ miles (S. E.) from South Cave; containing 195 inhabitants. It comprises about 900 acres of land, on the north side of the Humber, and has a pleasant village about a mile east-south-east of the village of Welton, on the road to Hull.
Melton-Constable (St. Peter)
MELTON-CONSTABLE (St. Peter), a parish, in the hundred of Holt, W. division of Norfolk, 5½ miles (S. W. by S.) from Holt; containing 75 inhabitants. This place is of great antiquity, and at the time of the Domesday survey was granted to the bishops of Thetford, of whom it was held by Roger de Lyons, whose descendants assumed the name of Constable, from the office which they held under the see. The parish comprises 1741a. 2r. 7p., whereof 822 acres are arable, 560 meadow and pasture, and about 370 woodland; the soil is generally a sandy loam. Melton Hall, the seat of Lord Hastings, erected by Sir Jacob Astley, is a spacious and handsome mansion of brick, with facings of stone, and contains many stately apartments, splendidly decorated; the grounds are tastefully laid out, and the park, measuring four miles in circumference, and well stocked with deer, is richly wooded. The river Thurne, which is navigable from Aylsham to Yarmouth, has its source within the limits of the parish. The living is a rectory, with that of Little Burgh consolidated (the one valued in the king's books at £6, and the other at £4), and in the gift of Lord Hastings; the tithes have been commuted for £235, and the glebe comprises 33 acres. The church is an ancient structure, in the early and later English styles, with a low tower between the nave and chancel. The church of Little Burgh is in ruins.
Melton, Great (The Virgin Mary)
MELTON, GREAT (The Virgin Mary), a parish, in the union of Henstead, hundred of Humbleyard, E. division of Norfolk, 5¾ miles (W. S. W.) from Norwich; containing 429 inhabitants. The parish comprises by measurement 2487 acres of land, chiefly the property of Edward Lombe, Esq., whose seat of Melton Hall is a handsome mansion, containing a fine ornithological collection, including 400 specimens, all prepared by the celebrated Leadbeater. The living comprises the united rectories of All Saints and St. Mary the Virgin, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 4. each, and in the gift of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge: the tithes have been commuted for £748. 10., and the glebe comprises 22½ acres. The church of the Virgin is chiefly in the early English style, with a square embattled tower built in 1440. The church of All Saints, which stood in the same churchyard, was partly taken down in the reign of Anne; the ruins are finely mantled with ivy.
Melton, High (St. James)
MELTON, HIGH (St. James), a parish, in the union of Doncaster, N. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, W. riding of York, 4¾ miles (W. by S.) from Doncaster; containing 115 inhabitants. This parish, called in Domesday book Middeltun, is situated on the northern acclivity of the vale of the Dearne, and comprises 1500 acres, of which 1000 are arable and pasture, and the remainder wood and plantations. The lands are chiefly the property of Richard Fountayne Wilson, Esq., whose seat of Melton Hall has extensive pleasure-grounds, tastefully laid out. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £100, arising from private benefactions and grants from the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty; patron and impropriator, Mr. Wilson. The church, a handsome structure with a square embattled tower at the west end, is supposed to have been founded in the reign of Henry I., when so many new parishes were formed in Yorkshire, and is first noticed in the time of Stephen, when it was given to the nuns of Hampole. In the windows are numerous decorations in stained glass, inserted principally by the late Dean Fountayne, of York, and consisting chiefly of armorial bearings and devices collected from various ecclesiastical buildings in the county. There are also some ancient monuments.
Melton, Little (All Saints)
MELTON, LITTLE (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Henstead, hundred of Humbleyard, E. division of Norfolk, 5¼ miles (W. by S.) from Norwich; containing 330 inhabitants. It comprises 660 acres of land, chiefly arable. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5. 6. 8.; net income, £104, with a glebe of 13 acres, and a house; patrons and impropriators, the Master and Fellows of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The church is chiefly in the early English style, with a square embattled tower; the nave is separated from the chancel by an ancient carved screen, and the font is Norman.
Melton-Mowbray, or Melton (St. Mary)
MELTON-MOWBRAY, or Melton (St. Mary), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Framland, N. division of the county of Leicester, 15 miles (N. E.) from Leicester, and 105 (N. W.) from London; containing, with the chapelries of Burton-Lazars, Freeby, and Welby, 3937 inhabitants. The old name of this place was Medeltune, gradually contracted to Melton, indicating the situation of the town in the middle of the five hamlets that compose the parish; the adjunct Mowbray is the name of its ancient lords, which they assumed by command of Henry I. During the civil commotions in the time of Charles I., a severe action occurred in the neighbourhood, between the royalists and the parliamentary troops, in February 1644, when the forces of the latter, consisting of about 2000 men, were routed, and 170 killed. The town sustained considerable damage by fire in 1613; and in 1637 the plague raged with great violence. It is situated on the road from London to Leeds, in a valley on the small river Eye, and is neatly built: the streets are paved, watched, and lighted, the expense being defrayed out of the Town estate, which produces nearly £800 per annum; and the town has a good supply of water. Here is a building fourteen feet in diameter, called the Manor oven, in which, in the time of Sir Matthew Lamb, an attempt was unsuccessfully made, on the plea of feudal right, to compel the inhabitants to bake their bread. The principal attraction of Melton, and one great cause of its improvement as a town, is the celebrated hunt to which it gives name: the season commences in November, and continues about five months, during which there is an influx of sportsmen from all parts of the kingdom; stabling is provided for nearly 700 horses. A permanent subscription library and newsroom are supported. The chief article of manufacture is bobbin-net lace, and there is a minor one of worsted-hosiery. The general traffic was facilitated, especially in the supply of coal, by opening a navigable communication with Loughborough, called the Melton-Mowbray and Oakham canal, which was effected in 1790, and which, near the town, is intersected by the river Wreak. The railway, also, between Syston and Peterborough, has a station here. The market is on Tuesday, and on every alternate day there is a large show of cattle: fairs take place on the Monday and Tuesday after January 17th, on March 13th, May 4th, Whit-Tuesday, August 21st, and September 7th, principally for horses, cattle, and sheep. The powers of the county debt-court of Melton-Mowbray, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Melton-Mowbray.
The living is a vicarage, with that of Sysonby annexed, valued in the king's books at £16. 8. 9.; net income, £580; patron, T. Frewen, Esq.; impropriator, W. Blake, Esq.: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1760. The church is a spacious and lofty cruciform structure, chiefly in the early English and decorated styles: a tower rises from the intersection, and at the west end is a handsome porch. The transepts (which have aisles) are the largest and finest in the county; in the south aisle of the edifice is the effigy of a mailed warrior of the 13th century, in a recumbent posture, and cross-legged. In the reign of Henry VIII., the church was considerably heightened, and a series of elegant windows was put up over the aisles. There are chapels of ease at Burton-Lazars, Freeby, and Welby; and places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. Some schools appear to have been established here at a very early period, and are noticed as existing previously to 1247, when they were taken under the patronage of Henry III., as possessor of the temporalities of the priory of Lewes. Three schools are at present maintained from the Town estates: there are two exhibitions for a school here, conjointly with another school at Leicester, to Lincoln College, Oxford, but they have not been available hitherto; and Sir Richard Raynes, in 1732, bequeathed property now producing £55 per annum, for clothing 26 of the boys. Almshouses have been endowed at various periods, for 12 persons; and the poor in general have some small bequests. The union of Melton comprises 54 parishes or places, 53 of which are in the county of Leicester, and 1 in that of Nottingham; the whole containing a population of 19,297. John de Kirkeby, Bishop of Ely in 1286, and founder of Ely Palace, Holborn; Archbishop William de Melton, lord high chancellor of England in the reign of Edward III., and who was buried in the church here; and the eloquent, but eccentric, John Henley, who was educated at the free school; were natives of this place.
MELTON-ROSS, a parish, in the union of Glandford-Brigg, S. division of the wapentake of Yarborough, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 5 miles (N. E. by E.) from Glandford-Brigg; containing 175 inhabitants. The parish is on the road from Glandford-Brigg to Grimsby, and comprises 1750 acres of good land, of which 100 are meadow and pasture, 100 wood, and the remainder arable; the surface is undulated, and the soil a fine loam, with a marl substratum. The scenery is picturesque, embracing extensive views; from Melton-Wood House, Lincoln minster can be seen, distant 30 miles. There is stone of good quality for building and the roads, and for burning into lime. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £62; patron, the Bishop of Lincoln; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter: there are 24 acres of glebe. The church, erected in 1773, is a plain edifice with a neat interior. Melton gallows, ordered to be erected by King James to check the quarrels between the families of Ross and Tyrwhitt, still remains on the road side.
MELTONBY, a township, in the parish and union of Pocklington, Wilton-Beacon division of the wapentake of Harthill, E. riding of York, 2¼ miles (N. by W.) from Pocklington; containing 49 inhabitants. It is situated at the foot of the Wolds, and comprises about 710 acres of land.
Melverley (St. Peter)
MELVERLEY (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Atcham, hundred of Oswestry, N. division of the county of Salop, 11 miles (W. N. W.) from Shrewsbury; containing 229 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, annexed to that of Llandrinio. A tithe rent-charge of £176. 17. is paid to the Bishop of St. Asaph, who also has a glebe of 6 acres.
Membury (St. John the Baptist)
MEMBURY (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union and hundred of Axminster, Honiton and S. divisions of Devon, 3½ miles (N. N. W.) from Axminster; containing 886 inhabitants, and comprising by measurement 4210 acres. A cattle-fair is held on August 10th. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Axminster: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £265, and the vicarial for £336. The church contains a monument to the memory of Sir S. Calmady, who was mortally wounded at the siege of Ford House, during the great civil war. In the neighbourhood is an ancient encampment, formed by a single vallum, inclosing two acres.
Mendham (All Saints)
MENDHAM (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Hoxne, partly in the hundred of Earsham, E. division of Norfolk, but chiefly in the hundred of Hoxne, E. division of Suffolk, 1¼ mile (E. by S.) from Harleston; containing 823 inhabitants, of whom 566 are in Suffolk. A Cluniac priory, subordinate to that of Castle-Acre, was founded at Bruninghurst, in this parish, in the reign of Stephen, by William, son of Roger de Huntingfield, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary; it subsisted till the Dissolution, when the site was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk: there are some slight remains. The parish comprises 2998a. 33p. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5. 5. 2½., and in the patronage of Mrs. Whitaker; net income, £122; impropriator, William Adair, Esq. The great tithes have been commuted for £440, and the vicarial for £50; the glebe comprises 25 acres. The church is in the later English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Mendlesham (St. Mary)
MENDLESHAM (St. Mary), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union and hundred of Hartismere, W. division of Suffolk, 15½ miles (N. N. W.) from Ipswich; containing 1340 inhabitants. This place formed part of the possessions of Hugh FitzOtho, who, in the reign of Edward I., obtained for the inhabitants the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair, the former of which has been long discontinued, and the latter become of very little importance. The town consists chiefly of two long streets, parallel with each other, containing well-built houses, and approached in all directions by excellent roads; the environs are pleasant, and the air salubrious. The parish comprises 3944 acres. The road from London to Norwich, viâ Ipswich, passes through the eastern part. The living is a vicarage, endowed with one-third of the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £14. 9. 2.; patron and incumbent, the Rev. Henry Thomas Day, LL.D.; appropriators of the remainder of the rectorial tithes, the Dean and Chapter of Chichester. The appropriate tithes have been commuted for £540, and the vicarial for £580: the glebe comprises 25 acres, with a house, considerably improved by the present incumbent. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a lofty square embattled tower, and a north and south porch embellished with grotesque sculptures; the pulpit, reading-desk, and cover of the font, are enriched with elaborate carvings. Above the north porch is an apartment, in which are preserved some pieces of old armour. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. In 1473, Robert Cake bequeathed some land which, with other benefactions, produces about £380 per annum, partly applied to instruction, but chiefly distributed among the poor. About the close of the seventeenth century, an ancient silver crown, weighing 60 ounces, was found here; and in 1758, a gold ring, bearing an inscription in Runic characters, was turned up by the plough.
MENETHORPE, a township, in the parish of Westow, union of Malton, wapentake of Buckrose, E. riding of York, 3 miles (S. S. W.) from Malton; containing 129 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 420 acres, and has a secluded village in the narrow dale of a rivulet, near its confluence with the Derwent.
Menheniot (St. Neot)
MENHENIOT (St. Neot), a parish, in the union of Liskeard, Middle division of the hundred of East, E. division of Cornwall, 2½ miles (E. S. E.) from Liskeard; containing 1221 inhabitants. The parish comprises by computation 6047 acres of land, chiefly arable; the soil is very rich near the village, and in general produces good crops of grain: the surface is hilly, and the lower grounds are watered by two small rivers. Copper and tin are found, but not worked at present. Fairs for cattle and sheep are held on April 23rd, June 11th, and July 28th. The living is a vicarage, endowed with the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £21. 15. 5.; net income, £804; patrons, the Rector and Fellows of Exeter College, Oxford, on the nomination of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. Within the parish, and near the town of Liskeard, was an hospital for lepers, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. William of Wykeham was vicar of Menheniot.
MENSTONE, a township, in the parish of Otley, Upper division of the wapentake of Skyrack, W. riding of York, 2¾ miles (S. W. by W.) from Otley; containing 329 inhabitants. This township, called in old documents Mensington, comprises about 1090 acres; the substratum contains stone of moderate quality. The population is partly employed in wool-combing. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a school is supported. Colonel Fairfax, brother to Sir Thomas Fairfax the parliamentarian general, resided in 1640 at Menstone Hall, whence many interesting relics, including a stone table at which Oliver Cromwell dined the day before the battle of Marston-Moor, have been removed to Farnley Hall.
Menthorp, with Bowthorp
MENTHORP, with Bowthorp, a township, in the parish of Hemingbrough, union of Howden, wapentake of Ouse and Derwent, E. riding of York, 7½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Howden; containing 82 inhabitants, of whom 44 are in Menthorp. The township comprises 1595 acres: the village or hamlet is situated on the west bank of the Derwent. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £151. 12. 6.; and the vicarial for £19. 12., payable to the incumbent of Skipwith.
Mentmore (St. Mary)
MENTMORE (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Leighton-Buzzard, hundred of Cottesloe, county of Buckingham, 3½ miles (S. by W.) from Leighton-Buzzard; containing, with the hamlet of Ledburn, 348 inhabitants, of whom 179 are in the township of Mentmore. The parish comprises by admeasurement 1525 acres, of which 500 are arable, and the remainder meadow and pasture; the soil is principally clay, and the surface hilly. The London and Birmingham railway passes about a mile to the east of the church. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 17. 1.; patron, C. Harcourt, Esq.