OS Grid ref:- SD597712
The small village of Melling is situated in the attractive Lune Valley. The village consists of characterful seventeenth century stone cottages clustered around the church of St Wilfrid, a Grade I listed building.
Of ancient origins, Melling is mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086 as one of three manors belonging to Ulf, along with nearby Hornby and Wennington. Melling was the seat of Ulf’s lordship, when the lands were taken bu William the Conqueror he granted them to the Montbegon family who built a castle at Hornby, making Melling part of the honour of Hornby.
Melling forms part of a cluster of sites along the Lune Valley, the densest distribution of Norman castles outside of the Welsh border countryside. Each has evidence of a motte as at Arkholme and Whittington, but Melling has no surviving bailey. These sites were all of strategic importance, allowing control of movement along the river valley.
Melling Motte (pictured below left) is situated is located centrally in the village, some distance from the present course of the river. it sits on the edge of the first terrace 6 metres above the flood plain, and within St Wilfrid’s vicarage garden. The mound has been damaged by landscaping activities, but former channels of the varied course of the Lune can still be detected on the Melling side of the plain.
Known locally as “The Cathedral of the Lune Valley”, St Wilfrid’s Church (pictured right) originally formed the manorial chapel within the, now missing, castle bailey. The earliest fabric of the building dates from around 1300 or perhaps earlier, but, as it is near the earthworks of a motte-and-bailey castle, it is possible that a church has occupied the site since the tenth century.
Much of the present church dates from the late fifteenth century, the clerestory was added in 1763 when the church was restored. A further restoration was carried out in 1891 by the Lancaster architects Paley, Austin and Paley. A chapel known as the Morley chapel had been created as a chantry from a pre-existing chapel by John Morley who fought at Agincourt in 1415. This was heavily re-modelled in 1841 when the altar was removed, and was restored as a chapel in 1994–95.
The west window of the south aisle dates from around 1300, this window includes a fragment of medieval stained glass. The aisle pews in the church date from the eighteenth century but the nave pews, the screens, the pulpit, and the communion rails are from the late nineteenth century. In the chapel is an aumbry without a door and a squint. There are numerous memorial wall tablets. Discovered during the restoration and built into the vestry wall is a piece of Norman chevron ornament, part of a crucifix, and part of a grave slab. A small but detailed remnant of an Anglo-Saxon cross shaft is displayed on one of the church's window sills. The stained glass in the east window was designed by Henry Holiday. In the churchyard is a sandstone sundial which probably dates from the eighteenth century.
Nearby places of interest
The Crook O’ Lune, situated near Caton, a famous beauty spot, where the River Lune meanders in a large curve through tree-lined banks, the view up the valley is superb.
Wray- famous for its Scarecrow Festival,which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Hornby Castle- once painted by Turner, is an imposing Gothic structure which dominates the landscape from its commanding position above the River Wenning.
Lancaster Castle founded in the tenth century
Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, Lancaster was commissioned by James Williamson, Baron Ashton as a tribute to his second wife, Jenny and was built between 1907 and 1909.