The Town Estate

Melton history index

Its origins

The Town Estate, whose records date back to 1575, was instituted (after the abolition of the medieval guilds and charities) for the common good of all inhabitants of the town – each having the rights to graze the common land. Initially the Town Estate maintained the highways, pavements and bridges, and even provided street lighting well ahead of similar towns.

In 1849 the Estate bought the Lordship of Melton and received the tolls from the Market. For the rest of the 19th century the Town Estate was the main provider of schools in the Town.

As the Urban District Council and the County Council took over public services, the Town Estate concentrated its resources on the Public Markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays – utilising its funds more and more in the provision of Public amenities for leisure and sport, as the Egerton Park and Leicester Road land testify.

Feoffees

The Town Estate was overseen by Town Wardens and Feoffees, originally with no set term of office. Nowadays the officers are elected at a public meeting held annually in the Autumn.

At the time of the Enclosures Act (1760) they lost land and were charged with culpable neglect and mismanagement – though the court order was withdrawn. This incident led to a trust deed, or ‘charter’ of 1775, limiting the powers of the wardens.
Educational role:

Following the Reformation there are records to show that a Grammar Schoolmaster was employed in Melton, and the Town Wardens were soon involved in the school’s maintenance – the building sited in Nottingham Street.

In 17th century it would seem that a School was held in St Mary Church. In fact Melton had two Schools: the Free School for the poor, and the Grammar School for those able to pay.

In 1793 measures were taken to establish a Free Girl’s school – well ahead of educational provision elsewhere.

At the beginning of 19th century, all the Schools were moved to Kings Street, where they remained until, in 1849, schooling was divided between the Church School (C of E) and the British Infant School (undenominational). These schools the Town Estate maintained until the end of the 19th century.

By 1890 the Town Estate could no longer afford to maintain the educational system, and its maintenance progressively pass to the Town, County and National control.

20th century

As the Urban District Council took over public services, the Town Estate concentrated its resources on the Public Markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays – utilising its funds more and more in the provision of Public amenities for leisure and sport, as the Egerton Park and Leicester Road land testify.

The Town Estate’s Website

To get the most up to date information about the Town Estate, please visit their own website by clicking here.

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