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Sep 2017

Melton Constable Coat of Arms

A funny little place this with an equally funny and surprising name. It's from the olden days gone by when the land was held by the constable of the Bishop of Norwich, whoever he was and, whatever that means.

The land would later be owned by the wealthy Astley family who made their home a little way south-west at Melton Constable Hall where they had the clout to call on '  Capability' Brown, no less, to do the gardening.

The hall's privately owned now and reportedly falling down so you're not allowed in and the closest you'll get is the old gatehouse.

These are the same Astleys who married[1] into the equally wealthy Delaval family in Northumberland and would end up, rather conveniently, copping for their lot.

In fact, there's a very northern feel here and the terraced streets wouldn't look out of place in the North East, somewhere like  Shildon, say?

[1] It's not thought that the vows included the line 'To love and to cherish and to  never gonna give you up.'

It's said Shildon because they too  celebrate the railway, just as they do here on the side of a bus shelter.

The village grew up around the intersection of four railway lines, you see, and the engineering works that soon followed. Those terraces would have housed the employees of the factories and this all accounts for Melton's, abnormal for Norfolk, appearance, they say.

There's a reminder of the past at the Railway Institute, the old working men's club that's still socially functioning as the  Melton Constable Country Club although live music and free pool on a Wednesday suggests it's not that kind of country club.

The works are still there as well but the engine sheds are full of King Eds, it's a potato storage facility on what's now an industrial estate.

All of this was built by the  Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway in the 1880s including the former elementary school. They even provided allotments in what's now know to be a forerunner to the  New Town although this one's Victorian and more of a large village.

Just when it was thought it couldn't get any more northern, there's a bit of a todo near the leek trenches. There's a young lad doing ballet being chased by a disapproving dad while his angry, older brother wrings a kestrel's neck in the potting shed!

Somebody call 999... 'There's trouble at mill t'constable!'

  M & M Rutland Specialist Butchers (Briston Road)

Things get even more northern in the local butchers with their award-winning haggis, which has been featured on Anglia TV, no less.

Today they're pushing their 'tomahawk steak', which is essentially a rib-eye with the bone left in to look like a handle. It's a premium piece of meat so it's just the punters' pounds that are being thrown over the counter.