Melton Mowbray is a town in Leicestershire, England, 19 miles north-east of Leicester, 20 miles south-east of Nottingham. It lies on the River Eye and the River Wreake and has a population of 25,554; the town is best known for the Melton Mowbray pork pie. In addition, it includes one of the six makers of Stilton cheese. Melton Mowbray is promoted as Britain's "Rural Capital of Food"; the name comes from the early English word Medeltone – meaning "Middletown surrounded by small hamlets". Mowbray is a Norman family name – the name of early Lords of the Manor – namely Robert de Mowbray. In and around Melton, there are 28 scheduled ancient monuments, around 705 buildings listed as having special architectural or historical interest, 16 sites of special scientific interest, several deserted village sites. There is industrial archaeology, including the Grantham Canal and the remains of the Melton Mowbray Navigation. Windmill sites, ironstone working and smelting archaeological evidence suggest that Melton borough was densely populated in Bronze and Iron Ages.
Many small village communities existed and strategic points at Burrough Hill and Belvoir were fortified. There is evidence to suggest that the site of Melton Mowbray in the Wreake Valley was inhabited before Roman occupation. In Roman times, Melton benefited from the proximity of the Fosse Way and other important Roman roads, of military centres at Leicester and Lincoln. Intermediate camps were established, for example, at Six Hills on the Fosse Way. Other Roman trackways in the locality passed north of Melton along the top of the Vale of Belvoir scarp, linking Market Harborough to Belvoir, the Fosse Way to Oakham and Stamford. Evidence of settlement throughout Anglo-Saxon and Danelaw period is reflected in many place names. Along the Wreake Valley, the Danish suffix "-by" is common, as is evident in Asfordby, Frisby, Hoby and Gaddesby. In addition, a cemetery of 50–60 graves, of Pagan Anglo-Saxon origin, has been found in Melton Mowbray. Although most villages and their churches had origins before the Norman Conquest of 1066, stone crosses at Asfordby and Sproxton churches and Anglo-Saxon cemeteries as found at Goadby Marwood and Stapleford pre-date the Conquest.
Melton Mowbray itself had six recorded crosses, whose construction spanned several centuries: Kettleby Cross,. All the original crosses were removed or destroyed during the Reformation and other iconoclastic periods, or to make room for traffic or other development; the effects of the Norman Conquest are recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. This indicates that settlements at Long Clawson and Bottesford were of noteworthy size, that Melton Mowbray was a thriving market town of some 200 inhabitants, with weekly markets, two water mills and two priests; the water mills, still in use up to the 18th century, are remembered in the present names of Beckmill Court and Mill Street. So Melton Mowbray has been a market town for over 1,000 years. Recorded as Leicestershire's only market in the 1086 Domesday Survey, it is the third oldest market in England. Tuesday has been market day since royal approval was given in 1324; the market was established with tolls before 1077. Legacies from the Medieval period include consolidation of market town patterns.
The latter had a market in medieval times that continued until 1921, an annual fair of horses and cattle. Many buildings in Melton Market Place, Nottingham Street, Church Lane, King Street and Sherrard Street have ancient foundations. Alterations to No. 16 Church Street revealed a medieval circular stone wall subjected to considerable heat. This is the'Manor Oven' mentioned in 13th century documents. Surveys of 5 King Street show it to be part of an early medieval open-halled house, it fortified Manor of the Mowbrays, which existed in the 14th century. King Richard I and King John may have stayed at an earlier castle. In 1549 following the Dissolution of the chantries and religious guilds, church plate was sold and land purchased for the town. Resulting rents were used to maintain Melton School, first recorded in 1347, as one of the oldest educational establishments in Britain. Funds were used to maintain roads, bridges and to repair the church clock. Anne of Cleves House, now a public house, During the English Civil War, Melton was a Roundhead garrison commanded by a Colonel Rossiter.
Two battles were fought in the town: in November 1643, Royalists caught the garrison unaware and carried away prisoners and booty. Around 300 men were said to have been killed. According to legend a hillside where the battle was thought to have been fought was ankle deep in blood, hence the name'Ankle Hill'. However, this name is alre
Fox hunting is an activity involving the tracking, chase and, if caught, the killing of a fox, traditionally a red fox, by trained foxhounds or other scent hounds, a group of unarmed followers led by a "master of foxhounds", who follow the hounds on foot or on horseback. Fox hunting with hounds, as a formalised activity, originated in England in the sixteenth century, in a form similar to that practised until February 2005, when a law banning the activity in England and Wales came into force. A ban on hunting in Scotland had been passed in 2002, but it continues to be within the law in Northern Ireland and several other countries, including Australia, France and the United States. In Australia, the term refers to the hunting of foxes with firearms, similar to deer hunting. In much of the world, hunting in general is understood to relate to any game weapons; the sport is controversial in the UK. Proponents of fox hunting view it as an important part of rural culture, useful for reasons of conservation and pest control, while opponents argue that it is cruel and unnecessary.
The use of scenthounds to track prey dates back to Assyrian and ancient Egyptian times, was known as venery. Many Greek - and Roman - influenced. Hunting with Agassaei hounds was popular in Celtic Britain before the Romans arrived, introducing the Castorian and Fulpine hound breeds which they used to hunt. Norman hunting traditions were brought to Britain when William the Conqueror arrived, along with the Gascon and Talbot hounds. Foxes were referred to as beasts of the chase by medieval times, along with the red deer and roes, but the earliest known attempt to hunt a fox with hounds was in Norfolk, England, in 1534, where farmers began chasing foxes down with their dogs for the purpose of pest control; the first use of packs trained to hunt foxes was in the late 1600s, with the oldest fox hunt being the Bilsdale in Yorkshire. By the end of the seventeenth century, deer hunting was in decline; the Inclosure Acts brought fences to separate open land into many smaller fields, deer forests were being cut down, arable land was increasing.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, people began to move out of the country and into towns and cities to find work. Roads, railway lines, canals all split hunting countries, but at the same time they made hunting accessible to more people. Shotguns were improved during the nineteenth century and the shooting of gamebirds became more popular. Fox hunting developed further in the eighteenth century when Hugo Meynell developed breeds of hound and horse to address the new geography of rural England. In Germany, hunting with hounds was first banned on the initiative of Hermann Göring on July 3, 1934. In 1939, the ban was extended to cover Austria after Germany's annexation of the country. Bernd Ergert, the director of Germany's hunting museum in Munich, said of the ban, "The aristocrats were understandably furious, but they could do nothing about the ban given the totalitarian nature of the regime." According to the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America, Englishman Robert Brooke was the first man to import hunting hounds to America, bringing his pack of foxhounds to Maryland in 1650 along with his horses.
Around this time, numbers of European red foxes were introduced into the Eastern seaboard of North America for hunting. The first organised hunt for the benefit of a group was started by Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax in 1747. In the United States, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both kept packs of fox hounds before and after the American Revolutionary War. In Australia, the European red fox was introduced for the purpose of fox hunting in 1855. Native animal populations have been badly affected, with the extinction of at least 10 species attributed to the spread of foxes. Fox hunting with hounds is practised in the east of Australia. In the state of Victoria there are thirteen hunts, with more than 1000 members between them. Fox hunting with hounds results in around 650 foxes being killed annually in Victoria, compared with over 90,000 shot over a similar period in response to a State government bounty; the Adelaide Hunt Club traces its origins to 1840, just a few years after colonization of South Australia.
The controversy around hunting led to the passing of the Hunting Act 2004 in November of that year, after a free vote in the House of Commons, which made "hunting wild mammals with a pack of dogs" unlawful in England and Wales from February 18, 2005. However, exemptions stated in Schedule 1 of the 2004 Act permit some unusual forms of hunting wild mammals with dogs to continue, such as "hunting... for the purpose of enabling a bird of prey to hunt the wild mammal". An amendment to the 2004 Act which would have allowed licensed traditional hunting under stricter conditions, advocated by the Prime Minister Tony Blair and some members of the government's independent inquiry on fox hunting, was voted down; the passing of the Hunting Act was notable in that it was implemented through the use of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 after the House of Lords refused to pass the legislation, despite the Commons passing it by a majority of 356 to 166. Scotland, which has its own Parliament, restricted fox hunting in 2002, more tha
Wars of the Roses
The Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, associated with a red rose, the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose. The wars eliminated the male lines of both families; the conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, but there was related fighting before and after this period between the parties. The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years' War, unfolding the structural problems of feudalism, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of King Henry VI which revived interest in Richard of York's claim to the throne. Historians disagree on. With the Duke of York's death in 1460, the claim transferred to Edward. After a series of Yorkist victories from January–February 1461, Edward claimed the throne on March 4, 1461, the last serious Lancastrian resistance ended at decisive Battle of Towton.
Edward was thus unopposed as the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. Resistance smoldered in the North until 1464, but the early part of his reign remained peaceful. A new phase of the wars broke out in 1469 after The Earl of Warwick, the most powerful noble in the country, withdrew his support for Edward and threw it behind the Lancastrian cause. Fortunes changed many times as the Yorkist and Lancastrian forces exchanged victories throughout 1469–1470; when Edward fled to Flanders in 1470, Henry VI was re-installed as king on 3 October 1470, but his resumption of rule was short lived, he was deposed again following the defeat of his forces at the Battle of Tewkesbury, on 21 May 1471, Edward entered London unopposed, resumed the throne, had Henry killed that same day. With all significant Lancastrian leaders now banished or killed, Edward ruled unopposed until his sudden death in 1483, his son reigned for 78 days as Edward V, but was deposed by his uncle, who became Richard III. The ascension of Richard III occurred under a cloud of controversy, shortly after assuming the throne, the wars sparked anew with Buckingham's rebellion, as many die-hard Yorkists abandoned Richard to join Lancastrians.
While the rebellions lacked much central coordination, in the chaos the exiled Henry Tudor, son of Henry VI's half-brother Edmund Earl of Richmond, the leader of the Lancastrian cause, returned to the country from exile in Brittany at the head of an army of combined Breton and English forces. Richard avoided direct conflict with Henry until the Battle of Bosworth Field on 22 August 1485. After Richard III was killed and his forces defeated at Bosworth Field, Henry assumed the throne as Henry VII and married Elizabeth of York, the eldest daughter and heir of Edward IV, thereby uniting the two claims; the House of Tudor ruled the Kingdom of England until 1603, with the death of Elizabeth I, granddaughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Shortly after Henry took the throne, the Earl of Lincoln, a Yorkist sympathizer, put forward Lambert Simnel as an imposter Richard of York, younger brother of Edward V. Lincoln's forces were defeated, he was killed at the Battle of Stoke Field on 16 June 1487, bringing a close to the Wars of the Roses.
The name "Wars of the Roses" refers to the heraldic badges associated with two rival branches of the same royal house, the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. Wars of the Roses came into common use in the 19th century after the publication in 1829 of Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott. Scott based the name on a scene in William Shakespeare's play Henry VI, Part 1, set in the gardens of the Temple Church, where a number of noblemen and a lawyer pick red or white roses to show their loyalty to the Lancastrian or Yorkist faction respectively, it is suggested by literary critics that Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has strong allegorical references to the conflict with York represented by the White Queen and Lancaster represented by the Red Queen. The Yorkist faction used the symbol of the white rose from early in the conflict, but the Lancastrian red rose was introduced only after the victory of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, when it was combined with the Yorkist white rose to form the Tudor rose, which symbolised the union of the two houses.
Owing to nobles holding multiple titles, more than one badge was used: Edward IV, for example, used both his sun in splendour as Earl of March, but his father's falcon and fetterlock as Duke of York. Badges were not always distinct. Most, but not all, of the participants in the wars wore livery badges associated with their immediate lords or patrons under the prevailing system of bastard feudalism. Another example: Henry Tudor's forces at Bosworth fought under the banner of a red dragon while the Yorkist army used Richard III's personal device of a white boar. Although the names of the rival houses derive from the cities of York and Lancaster, the corresponding duchy and dukedom had little to do with these cities; the lands and offices attached to the Duchy of Lancaster were in Gloucestershire, North Wales, in Yorkshire, while the estates and castles of the Duke of York were spread throughout England and Wales, many in the We
Stilton is a village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, about 12 miles north of Huntingdon in Huntingdonshire, a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire as well as a historic county of England. There is evidence of Neolithic occupation of the parish; the Roman finds dug up in the village include a 2nd century jug. Archaeologists have found a potential Roman settlement in the village and a Roman cheese press. Stilton was listed in the Domesday Book in the Hundred of Normancross in Huntingdonshire. In 1086 there were three manors at Stilton; the Domesday Book does not explicitly detail the population of a place but it records that there were ten households at Stilton. There is no consensus about the average size of a household at that time. 5 to 5. 0 persons. Using these figures an estimate of the population of Stilton in 1086 is that it was within the range of 35 and 50 people; the Domesday Book uses a number of units of measure for areas of land that are now unfamiliar, such as hides and ploughlands.
In different parts of the country, these were terms for the area of land that a team of eight oxen could plough in a single season and are equivalent to 120 acres. By 1086, the hide had become a unit of tax assessment rather than an actual land area; the survey records that there were 6. 37 ploughlands at Stilton in 1086 and that there was the capacity for a further 1. 62 ploughlands. In addition to the arable land, there was 10 acres of woodland at Stilton; the tax assessment in the Domesday Book was known as geld or danegeld and was a type of land-tax based on the hide or ploughland. It was a way of collecting a tribute to pay off the Danes when they attacked England, was only levied when necessary. Following the Norman conquest, the geld was used to raise money for the king and to pay for continental wars. Having determined the value of a manor's land and other assets, a tax of so many shillings and pence per pound of value would be levied on the land holder. While this was two shillings in the pound the amount did vary.
For the manors at Stilton the total tax assessed was five geld. In 1086 there was no church at Stilton; the Roman Ermine Street, which became the Great North Road, was integral to the development of the village, in late medieval times the village was a popular posting station and coaching stop. At one time there were 14 public houses for a population of around 500; the main inns of the period were the Bell Inn and the Angel Inn, both of which are still in existence. The Bell Inn has been recorded since 1515 and was rebuilt in 1642; the Angel Inn, dating from the early 17th century, was rebuilt as an impressive red brick house in the 18th century. It ceased to be an inn and was badly burned in 1923. Fires damaged the village as a whole in 1729, 1798 and 1895. Stilton's reliance on its position on the Great North Road has twice led to problems when use of the road reduced; the bypass was the first from London to Newcastle when the A1 was improved in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Bell Inn fell into disrepair and the village as a whole lost many businesses.
To try to revive interest, on Easter Monday 1962 Tom McDonald of The Talbot and Malcolm Moyer of the Bell Inn organised the first cheese-rolling race along a course near the post office. Held every May Day holiday, it became a popular annual event. In 2018, the race was cancelled due to declining interest; this may be linked with photos of the event showing small logs being rolled, not actual cheeses. Listed as Stichiltone or Sticiltone at the time of the 1086 Domesday Book the name Stilton means "village at a stile or steep ascent"; as a civil parish, Stilton has a parish council. The parish council is elected by the residents of the parish who have registered on the electoral roll. A parish council is responsible for providing and maintaining a variety of local services including allotments and a cemetery; the parish council reviews all planning applications that might affect the parish and makes recommendations to Huntingdonshire District Council, the local planning authority for the parish.
The parish council represents the views of the parish on issues such as local transport and the environment. The parish council raises its own tax to pay for these services, known as the parish precept, collected as part of the Council Tax; the parish council consists of a parish clerk. The parish council meets on the second Tuesday of the month in the parish meeting room. Stilton was in the historic and administrative county of Huntingdonshire until 1965. From 1965, the village was part of the new administrative county of Peterborough. In 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, Stilton became a part of the county of
Muston is an English village in north-east Leicestershire, 18.6 miles east of Nottingham and five miles west of Grantham on the A52. It is 12.5 miles north of Melton Mowbray. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 339, it lies on the Leicestershire/Lincolnshire county border, two miles east of Bottesford, of which it forms part of the civil parish. The River Devon flows through the village; the parish church is dedicated to St John the Baptist. It is in the Belvoir Group of parishes, based in Bottesford, under the Diocese of Leicester. Muston Meadows is a nearby 41-ha grassland nature reserve featuring 33 types of grass and over 100 other species of flowering plant; the reserve is notable for its colony of over 10,000 Green-winged Orchids. The 14th-century cross on the village green is a Grade II* listed structure; the Viking Way, a long-distance footpath between Humberside and Rutland, passes half a mile to the east of the village. The village lies near the Bingham–Bottesford–Grantham bus route, which runs about once an hour in the daytime on weekdays, but does not stop at Muston.
The local pub, the Muston Gap, occupies a Grade II listed building dating back to the 18th century. It stands on the A52, 110 yards from the Nottingham–Grantham railway line, where the nearest station is Bottesford 1.8 miles away. Muston has a café, bed and breakfast facilities, a children's play area, a village hall. Muston belonged to wapentake of Framland. Muston Gorse wharf on the Grantham Canal was the terminus of the private Belvoir Tramway to Belvoir Castle, which opened in 1793; some detailed, amply illustrated information on Muston and its past appears on the Bottesford Living History website. John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales: "MUSTON... stands on the River Devon, adjacent to the boundary with Lincolnshire, near the Grantham Canal, 1½ mile E S E of Bottesford railway station, 5½ W by N of Grantham. The parish comprises 1,623 acres. Real property, £2,694. Pop. 360. Houses, 74; the property is divided among a few. The manor belongs to the Duke of Rutland; the living is a rectory in the diocese of Peterborough.
Value, £400.*Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church is a handsome structure. There are a Wesleyan chapel and a national school." Property in Muston was owned by Nathaniel Hallowes of Derby, an English politician who sat in the English House of Commons from 1640 to 1653 and again in 1659. He was an active Parliamentarian during the English Civil War; the poet George Crabbe moved to Muston Rectory from a curacy at Stathern in 1789, having been chaplain to the Duke of Rutland from 1782 to 1784. He was a resident incumbent of Muston and of nearby West Allington, Lincolnshire until 1792, but an absentee until 1805, he remained resident for most of the period up to 1814, when he became rector of Trowbridge, Wiltshire. His Natural History of the Vale of Belvoir was a pioneering study of the district. Parish Council Leicestershire Villages
Swithland is a linear village in the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire, England. The population of the civil parish was estimated as 230 in 2004 and measured as 217 in the 2011 census, it is in the old Charnwood Forest, between Cropston and Woodhouse Eaves. Although small, it has a village hall, a parish church, a pub, the Griffin Inn; the village is known for the slate, quarried in the area. Swithland was held by Groby. Part of the village had become held by the Danvers family by 1412, between 1509 and 1796, the whole village was held by the Danvers family; the village includes the 13th-century St Leonard's parish church, which retains the original arcades and has an 18th-century west tower built for Sir John Danvers. The church includes monuments to Sir John Danvers and five of his children; the churchyard of St. Leonard's includes the tomb of Sir Joseph Danvers, built half inside the graveyard and half outside to allow his favourite dog to be buried with him. Swithland was designated a conservation area in 1993, includes 31 listed buildings, including the Grade I Mountsorrel Cross, several Grade II buildings, including the school, built in 1843, a cottage from 1842.
The village pub, the Griffin Inn the Griffin Hotel, was built about 1700 and has been put to several uses in its history, including a brewery and village mortuary. An annual village fair was held in Victorian times outside the pub on the Feast of St Leonard in November; the Swithland Hall estate was held by the family of Danvers until 1796 but after the death of Sir John Danvers it passed to his son-in-law, Augustus Richard Butler, second son of the second Earl of Lanesborough, who adopted the surname of Danvers-Butler and afterwards inherited the title of Earl of Lanesborough. The original Swithland Hall, which stood at the eastern end of the village as it is today, on the site now occupied by Hall Farm, was destroyed by fire in 1822, although part of the hall's boundary wall, including two towers are still in existence, both of which are in Main Street; the current hall, a Grade II listed building, was completed in 1834 and finished in 1852, on a different site to the south-east, in what was known as Swithland Park, by John George Danvers Butler, sixth Earl of Lanesborough.
The estate includes the lantern cross that stood in Mountsorrel that dates from about 1500 and was moved to its current location in Swithland Park in 1793 by Sir John Danvers, who replaced it with the Buttermarket Cross that still stands there. Slate quarrying in the area dates back to Roman times, was an important activity within the village between the 13th and 19th centuries; until the mid-19th century, Swithland slate was much in demand for roofing. From the 17th century until well into the 19th century, slate from Swithland was used for gravestones in Leicestershire and neighbouring counties Nottinghamshire; the slate has a poorer cleavage than Welsh slate, but is exquisitely carved. A distinguishing mark of Swithland slate is the rough texture of the uncarved face; some gravestones were carved by members of the Hind family of Swithland, but many others were carved by masons elsewhere to whom the raw slate was sent. One gravestone type found in a group of villages in the Vale of Belvoir is called a "Belvoir Angel".
Slates from Swithland for roofing were once used, but demand fell before slates from Wales, which were thinner and lighter. Since the quarry has reverted to nature, with the slate pits now flooded and sometimes used by divers. A memorial stone stands in the centre of the village; the land to the north and south of the village is used for both arable and dairy. Swithland Spring Water, based at Hall Farm, sells locally bottled spring water, collected from a spring beneath the farm. Swithland Reservoir, completed in 1896, is the largest reservoir in Charnwood, it is accessible via the causeway road to the east of the village and with a dam that can be reached by Kinchley Lane from Mountsorrel, is a popular site for birdwatching, as well as for walking. Swithland Wood, to the south-west of the village, is near to Bradgate Park; this large area of woodland around a former slate quarry is a popular walking and picnicking spot. Towards the Rothley end of the village runs the Great Central Railway, the last main line built linking the north of England with London.
When opened on 15 March 1899, it was planned for Swithland to have its own station, the Great Central having visions of turning the area into a tourist spot. This never came into fruition, but a bricked-over stairway under the bridge of the railway provides evidence that these plans were taken into serious consideration. A small set of railway exchange sidings were built at this location, but the nearest passenger station was at Rothley; the preserved Great Central Railway is restoring these sidings to working order. The railway line extends to Leicester North to the south and Quorn & Woodhouse and Loughborough to the north, crossing Swithland reservoir by a two-part viaduct. Swithland village website Swithland at the Leicestershire Villages website Swithland Church website
George Crabbe was an English poet and clergyman. He is best known for his early use of the realistic narrative form and his descriptions of middle and working-class life and people. In the 1770s, Crabbe began his career as a doctor's apprentice becoming a surgeon. In 1780, he travelled to London to make a living as a poet. After encountering serious financial difficulty and being unable to have his work published, he wrote to the statesman and author Edmund Burke for assistance. Burke was impressed enough by Crabbe's poems to promise to help him in any way; the two became close friends and Burke helped Crabbe both in his literary career and in building a role within the church. Burke introduced Crabbe to the literary and artistic society of London, including Sir Joshua Reynolds and Samuel Johnson, who read The Village before its publication and made some minor changes. Burke secured Crabbe the important position of Chaplain to the Duke of Rutland. Crabbe served as a clergyman in various capacities for the rest of his life, with Burke's continued help in securing these positions.
He developed friendships with many of the great literary men of his day, including Sir Walter Scott, whom he visited in Edinburgh, William Wordsworth and some of his fellow Lake Poets, who visited Crabbe as his guests. Lord Byron described him as "nature's sternest painter, yet the best." Crabbe's poetry was predominantly in the form of heroic couplets, has been described as unsentimental in its depiction of provincial life and society. The modern critic Frank Whitehead wrote that "Crabbe, in his verse tales in particular, is an important—indeed, a major—poet whose work has been and still is undervalued." Crabbe's works include The Village, The Borough, his poetry collections Tales and Tales of the Hall. Crabbe was born in Aldeburgh, the eldest child of George Crabbe Sr; the elder George Crabbe had been a teacher at a village school in Orford, in Norton, near Loddon, Norfolk. As a young man he married an older widow named Craddock, who became the mother of his six children: George, his brothers Robert and William, his sister Mary, another sister who died as an infant.
George Jr. spent his first 25 years close to his birthplace. He showed an aptitude for books and learning at an early age, he was sent to school while still young, developed an interest in the stories and ballads that were popular among his neighbors. His father owned a few books, used to read passages from John Milton and from various 18th-century poets to his family, he subscribed to a country magazine called Martin's Philosophical Magazine, giving the "poet's corner" section to George. The senior Crabbe had interests in the local fishing industry, owned a fishing boat. George's father respected his son's interest in literature, George was sent first to a boarding-school at Bungay near his home, a few years to a more important school at Stowmarket, where he gained an understanding of mathematics and Latin, a familiarity with the Latin classics, his early reading included the works of William Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, who had a great influence on George's future works, Abraham Cowley, Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser.
He spent three years at Stowmarket before leaving school to find a physician to be apprenticed to, as medicine had been settled on as his future career. In 1768 he was apprenticed to a local doctor near Bury St Edmunds; this doctor practiced medicine while keeping a small farm, George ended up doing more farm labour and errands than medical work. In 1771 he changed masters and moved to Woodbridge, where he remained until 1775. While at Woodbridge he joined a small club of young men who met at an inn for evening discussions. Through his contacts at Woodbridge he met Sarah Elmy. Crabbe called her "Mira" referring to her by this name in some of his poems. During this time he began writing poetry. In 1772, a lady's magazine offered a prize for the best poem on the subject of hope, which Crabbe won; the same magazine printed other short pieces of Crabbe's throughout 1772. They were signed "G. C. Woodbridge," and included some of his lyrics addressed to Mira. Other known verses written while he was at Woodbridge show that he made experiments in stanza form modeled on the works of earlier English poets, but only showed some slight imitative skill.
His first major work, a satirical poem of nearly 400 lines in Pope's couplet form entitled Inebriety, was self-published in 1775. Crabbe said of the poem, which received little or no attention at the time, "Pray let not this be seen... There is little of it that I'm not heartily ashamed of." By this time he had returned home to Aldeburgh. He had intended to go on to London to study at a hospital, but he was forced through low finances to work for some time as a local warehouseman, he travelled to London in 1777 to practice medicine, returning home in financial difficulty after a year. Crabbe continued to practice as a surgeon after returning to Aldeburgh, but as his surgical skills remained deficient, he attracted only the poorest patients, his fees were small and undependable; this hurt his chances of an early marriage. In late 1779 he decided to move to London and see if he could make it as a poet, or, if that failed, as a doctor, he moved to London in April 1780, where he had little success, by the end of Ma