Melton Constable shown within Norfolk
|Area||6.96 km2 (2.69 sq mi)|
|– density||74/km2 (190/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Melton Constable|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||MELTON CONSTABLE|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Melton Constable is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 6.96 km2 (2.69 sq mi) and had a population of 518 in 225 households at the 2001 census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of North Norfolk. The village sits on fairly high ground south-west of Holt.
The place-name 'Melton Constable' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as 'Maeltuna'. This may mean either 'middle town' or 'mill town'. There is a reference to 'Constabularius de Melton' in 1197, as the land was held by the constable of the bishop of Norwich.
The church of St Peter's Melton Constable contains many monuments to the Astley family, who formerly resided at Melton Constable Hall.
Melton Constable reached its heyday about 1911; in the census of that year it had a population of 1,157. It was a new town built in 1880s at the junction of four railway lines, which came from Cromer, North Walsham, King's Lynn and Norwich and linked Norfolk to the Midlands. A station with a platform 800 feet (240 m) long was constructed with a specially-appointed waiting room for Lord Hastings, the local squire. The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway's main workshops and factory were also situated in the village, helping to give it the character of a rural industrialised village (rather similar to Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire). The workshops were often called the Crewe Works of North Norfolk. When in M&GNJR hands the works built 19 steam locomotives. Under LNER ownership the works was gradually degraded until 1934 when they closed completely. Between 1959 and 1964 British Railways closed the lines and withdrew both passenger and goods services from Melton Constable, which resulted in the slow decline of the village; it now lies stranded in the middle of a vast agricultural area which uses other forms of transport. In 1971 the station was demolished and the works were converted into an industrial estate.
The railways may eventually return to Melton Constable as part of the Norfolk Orbital Railway which would have a station there.
- Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Eilert Ekwall, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.321.
- Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1914 edition
- Vision of Britain
Media related to Melton Constable at Wikimedia Commons