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Melton Constable

Melton Constable lies six miles south-west of Holt.

Melton Constable Sign

Melton Constable Sign

Melton Constable is undoubtedly one of the strangest villages in Norfolk. Approached from Briston, you drive along the main street and notice the huge number of terraced houses - giving you the impression that you've magically crossed into Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. The reason for the houses is that Melton Constable was originally a busy railway town at the hub of an important rail network. Lines converged here from King's Lynn, Yarmouth, Norwich and Cromer. The lines were designed by W. Marriott. Melton station was begun in 1881 and repair sheds, marshalling yards and houses for the railway workers soon followed. However, by the middle of the 20th century, the lines began to close - with the Cromer line being the last to go. Today Melton has no railway - but its history is commemorated in the village sign.

Melton Constable Hall - once the home of the Astley family (for seven centuries) - was built c.1670. It is located in extensive parkland and was one of the oldest enclosures in England (1290). Here is an illustration of the hall in its heyday. (It's hard to photograph because it's set a long way back from the main road.)

Melton Constable Hall

Melton Hall

The hall was used as the principal location for Brandham Hall in Joseph Losey's 1970  film of The Go-Between. The film, which was based on the novel of the same name by L.P. Hartley, starred Julie Christie and Alan Bates as the doomed lovers. The screen play was written by Harold Pinter. The film makes great use of the house, the parkland and the surrounding countryside and, even today, portrays the beauty of the county in summer time.  Sadly, the hall is now derelict.

The tower of Melton Constable church also features in one of the scenes where Ted Burgess is working on the land.

Melton Constable Church

Melton Constable Church

The church contains a number of memorials to the Astley family. Sir Jacob Astley, the Royalist commander, is famous for his prayer on the battlefield at  Edgehill: 'O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day; if I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me.'

More photographs of Melton Constable




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