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STILTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1932.

[Description(s) transcribed by Martin Edwards and later edited by Colin Hinson ©2010]
[from The Victoria County History series - 1932]

"STILTON, the parish of Stilton lies mainly on Oxford clay soil with small areas of Cornbrand. It was inclosed in 1805 by a private Act of Parliament. A few surface implements of the Neolithic age or later have been found in the parish, but of the Roman occupation, the only trace recorded at Stilton is a heavy silver-seal ring - perhaps dropped by some traveller on the Ermine Street.

From the position of the village on the Ermine Street (which later became the Great North Road), it obtained a certain importance as a posting station with inns of considerable size. the office of post-master was much sought-after in the 17th century by the rival innkeepers, one of whom offered to take the post not only without salary but would pay down £20 to £40 to obtain it.

Of the present day inns, "The Bell", an interesting stone house rebuilt in 1642 with mullioned windows and a very fine wrought-iron sign, was in existence before 1515. In 1613, the Herald sat in the "Angel Inn" to hold his visitations for this part of the country, and in 1620 it belonged to the Apreece family. Both Inns claimed to have been the first to sell Stilton cheese, and in 1725 the young Lord Harley, passing through Stilton, tasted and disapproved of the cheese sold at the Bell.

The cheese is said to have been made at Stilton before 1720, but it was popularised by Cooper Thornhill, landlord of The Bell about 1730, who, selling more than he could obtain locally, had it made by his relatives in Leicestershire.

The village suffered from very serious fires in 1729, 1798 and 1895, while the Manor House, which stands north-west of the church, was the scene of a fire in 1907. There were both Wesleyan and United Methodist chapels in the parish."

[Description(s) transcribed by Martin Edwards ©2003 and later edited by Colin Hinson ©2010]
[mainly from The Victoria County History series- 1932]