Sian Brewis examines how Melton Mowbray became a second home to upper class
gentlemen in search of relaxation
The gentlemen who loved Melton life
Edward and Mrs Simpson: They probably met at Burrough Court before beginning the world’s most talked about romance. This picture of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was taken in 1947

Noblemen have been attacted to the Melton Mowbray area for the best part of 200 years.

As foxhunting became an important feature of local life, other means of entertainment were developed to soak up the aristocrats’ time and money.

From gambling at the races and cockfighting to drinking heavily at the Old Club, there was plenty to do – much of it dubious – for the good-time gentlemen.

Gambling certainly played its part in Melton’s rich history with thousands of pounds bet every week by punters on everything from steeple- chasing to cockfighting.

More and more events had sprung up since the town achieved its foxhunting fame and there was plenty to keep the visiting sporting

noblemen entertained from the early 1800s onwards.

One of the most famous of these visitors in the 1930s was the late Duke of Windsor – then Edward, Prince of Wales – who reputedly met his future wife, the American Mrs Wallis Simpson, when they were house-guests at Burrough Court.

The Prince had been a frequent visitor to Melton since his first look at the town in 1921. He hunted with the Quorn and stayed at Newport and Craven lodges.

In 1924 Edward took possession of private quarters built for him at Craven Lodge and until 1929 he spent much of his time at what he called his “second home” hunting, entertaining and attending social events.

By the middle of the 1929

season the Duke of York, later to become King George VI, was also a frequent visitor, taking apartments at Craven Lodge.

The King’s third son, the Duke of Gloucester, also began to find his way into the heart of foxhunting country.

Their Royal Highnesses attended many social events including dances at the Corn Exchange and the annual dinner of the National Farmers’ Union Melton branch.

The prince became Edward VIII on the death of his father in January 1936 but abdicated in favour of the present Queen’s father.

He abdicated because of his love for Mrs Simpson, the Amercian divorcee, and was created the Duke of Windsor. They later married.