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Exciting Re-ordering Project moves on

church logo newjpgsmallThis was the scene in St Mary’s Church, Melton Mowbray yesterday (Tuesday, February 21st) as the exciting and ambitious £1.9m Re-ordering Project moves on.

As expected we have uncovered burials in the North and South Transepts of the Grade 1 listed historic building, parts of which date back to 1170.

What we have found are below the reduced floor level and therefore the new floor and heating system will be placed above the burials and they will not be disturbed further.

Only sundry bones have been discovered and the majority of burials are known about from Liz Craig’s research. Some 15 or 16 burials have been discovered in the South Transept in the last 10 days, with a further six or more in the North. These discoveries are being dealt with by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services.

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Above and below: The coffin of George Bennett in the South Transept of St Mary's Church.

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church logo newjpgsmallTwo lead coffins have been found in the South Transept, one of which contains the remains of Major George Bennett, of the Third Troop of Horse Guards commanded by the Duke of Argyl. He was born in 1680 and died on March 25th, 1738 in Nottingham. The second coffin beside it is thought to contain the remains of his wife Mary, the daughter of Thomas Mansfield, of Leake.   

Most coffins in the 18th Century were made of wood and it is thought that the couple had lead ones because of their standing and rank.

George was the son of Sir John Bennett, who was High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1679 and again in 1692. He married Sir Thomas Middleton’s sister Mary in 1673 and had six children… Thomas, John, George, Elizabeth, Mary and Anne.

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The monument to Sir John Bennett and his family in St Mary's Church.

church logo newjpgsmallSir John was Lord of the Manor at Welby and his family lived at Welby Grange, a mansion which stood in the field next to St Bartholomew’s Church. All three sons of Sir John Bennett died childless so the manor came to their unmarried sister Elizabeth, who died in 1751. 

There is a marble memorial in the South Transept of St Mary's Church to Sir John Bennett and his family. The Bennetts held the advowson of St Mary’s which entitled them to choose the vicar. The estate and the advowson passed to Elizabeth’s nephew, Chiverton Hartopp, who was the son of her sister Anne and her husband Thomas Hartopp of Quorn.

Chiverton did not live long enough to enjoy it for he died in 1759. This is recorded on a tablet nearby in the church, were the white marble has been intricately carved into the weapons and paraphernalia of war in that period.

Chiverton was a major in the Duke of Kingston’s horse regiment. He and his wife Catherine's daughter Mary married the Hon. Capt. Richard Howe in 1758, and he eventually became Earl Howe, one of England’s greatest admirals.

It is generally accepted that the subject of Thomas Gainsborough’s finest painting is Mary, Countess Howe, the admiral’s wife. Few realise that she may have attended the parish church as a teenager.

It was Lord Howe who chose the celebrated Doctor Ford as vicar of Melton in 1773, the advowson having descended to him through his wife.
 
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Above: The coffin of gentleman Anthony Wadd which has been found in the North Transept and the mural monument which can be found near the north door.

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church logo newjpgsmallA lead coffin has also been found in the North Transept near the north door. It contains the remains of Anthony Wadd, a local landowner, benefactor and gentleman, who died on February 1st, 1758 aged 61. There is a small mural monument near the north door to his memory.

The Re-ordering Project in St Mary's Church is big, bold and ambitious. It’s something that will change the course of history in Melton Mowbray and something that will improve the life for everyone in the local community.

And now it's time to get that local community involved. We aready have the magnificent sum of more than £1.4m towards the project, but we need your help to hit our target of £1.9m. 

* To donate to the project online go to our Just Giving Page by clicking here.

* To find out more about the project click here.


* For more pictures taken on Tuesday click here.

 
 
 

 

 
 

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£2,000 boost for project
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A beautiful sight, alright!
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Window is installed
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The excitement is mounting
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All is calm, all is bright!
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Not long to go now!
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Ian lays the last slab
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A touch of glass!
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Project's £21,000 boost
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The heat is on!
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The light fantastic!
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Shedding some light!
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Hard work is paying off 
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Things are looking good! 
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Making amazing progress
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Work on church is going well
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Chancel ceiling gets a good clean
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Student Emily takes a tour 
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Let there be light!
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Work is looking good
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Work is taking shape nicely
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A hive of activity
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Progress so far
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£1.9m work is taking shape
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£1.9m project is going very well
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Work is progressing well
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Guided tours prove a big success
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Your donations count! 
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See £1.9m work in progress
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Get a glimpse of the Re-ordering work
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Our generous benefactor
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A colourful, vibrant design
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Derek is top of the glass!
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Under the floor the truth revealed
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New window is coming along nicely
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Work is cracking on
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Funny you should say that!
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A clear view
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Your help is needed now!
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In for the long haul –a time for change
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Work is on schedule
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Getting rid of asbestos
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Writing a new chapter
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