Scalford is a village and civil parish in the Melton borough of Leicestershire, England. It lies 4 miles to the north of Melton Mowbray at the southern end of the Vale of Belvoir. In the 2011 census the parish (including Thorpe Arnold and Wycomb) had a population of 608.
The name of the village is derived from Old English and originally meant shallow ford. It has retained its current spelling for at least 440 years, being shown as 'Scalford' on the map of Warwickshire and Leicestershire produced (in Latin) in 1576 by Christopher Saxton as part of his Atlas of England and Wales.
In addition to Scalford village, the civil parish includes two hamlets, Wycomb and Chadwell. The latter has a tiny Church of England church, St Mary's, which was damaged in the 17th century and is now restored in a smaller form.
The Scalford parish church, which is on a small hill in the centre of the village, is named after St Egelwin the Martyr (alias St Ethelwin) and is believed to be the only one in the country named after this saint. A Grade II* listed building, it was built circa 1100 AD. It has been refurbished internally in 2014 to include a kitchen and toilet area with the original pews having been cleaned and restored; the old tile floor has been uncovered, cleaned and repaired; new under-pew, under-floor and radiator heating has been installed together with new up- and spot-lighting. The church is again used for services, the nearest alternative places of C of E worship being the churches in Chadwell and Waltham on the Wolds. The Vicar is responsible for a number of other parishes in addition to Scalford. The church hosts weddings, Christenings and funerals. The village hall is available for after event meetings or receptions (contact Andy Wade on 01664 444229 to arrange) as is the local Kings Arms pub. The church is also available as a public space for choral and music recitals, art exhibitions, or non-religious gatherings.
The Scalford Methodist Church, built in 1844 and recently redecorated throughout, has its own minister, is very active and is currently the only place of weekly Christian worship in Scalford. It is a very picturesque setting for weddings as all the internal pine pews, organ, fixtures and furniture are still in place. It serves an area extending into the Vale of Belvoir and has members from Eastwell to the north, Waltham on the Wolds to the east, Ab Kettleby to the west, and Melton Mowbray to the south. It hosts a preschool group ' every term-time morning, has a luncheon club monthly on Fridays and regular activities in addition to its 10.45a.m. Sunday morning services, some 4.00pm. services and other special services for festivals. It is unusual in that it has a garden and its own cemetery. It also hosts choir rehearsal sessions,the Women's Institute meetings and from time to time Scout and Guide weekends. There are war graves at the chapel and also at the church which also has a fine war memorial to the first and second world wars. Fund raising takes place also at the Village Hall.
Like many villages, Scalford has lost a number of industries and amenities over the years. There used to be a dairy which produced Stilton cheese, three bakers, a blacksmith, stonemasons, builders, a shoemender, a range of shops (one incorporating the post office), a garage and a second pub, The Plough, all now gone. There were also flourishing brickyards around 1875 to 1930 and bricks with the Scalford imprint burned in can still be found. The master's house remains and is called Lion House after the company name.
Currently (2017) there is one public house and restaurant in the village, the Kings Arms, along with a school and a post office (in a kitchen) which also sells a limited range of groceries. There is also a garden centre and landscape developer. This local company has won gold awards for garden design at the nationally recognised competition at the Sandringham Estate, Norfolk since 2008.
Scalford retains a good community spirit and has not been overdeveloped, new housing in recent years being restricted to in-fill and a small development on the site of the old stilton cheese factory and dairy. There is a modern village hall surrounded by a playing field, which hosts a range of community activities.
In addition to the established farming community, the village is home to many professionals who work in Leicester, Nottingham and even further afield. In the past decade there have been a number of recipients of MBEs for services to the community, sport and geological study.
In times gone by, the village was entirely surrounded by a triangle of railways. Scalford station was on the GNR and LNWR Joint Line from Market Harborough to Bottesford, while a number of mineral lines, attracted by the iron-ore mining which used to take place in this part of the Vale of Belvoir, completed the triangle. A book, Railways of Leicestershire and Rutland, by David Webb (2007), illustrated by the Mason brothers, [Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-3219-X] shows the lines and pictures of the locomotives.
Before 1939 the lines were often used for transporting horses to local races and point to point meetings. Regular passenger services ended in 1953 but the lines survived for freight and summer specials until final closure came in 1962. Some of the railway infrastructure still exists in the form of various cuttings and embankments, which have largely become incorporated into the countryside but leaving in place a few bridges and footpaths.
Scalford is situated on the Jubilee Way footpath from Melton Mowbray to Belvoir Castle, and a 'stop off' for walkers between Melton and the Vale of Belvoir. Scalford can be reached from Melton or the Vale by regular buses, and there is more than adequate parking at the village hall, which is overseen by nearby houses. There are quiet roads suitable for cycling, and for the children 'Twinlakes', a fun park with very good resources for children of school age since no adult is admitted without a child. Nearby villages which should be visited are Waltham on the Wolds, Eastwell, Goadby Marwood, Holwell and Thorpe Arnold.
Scalford hall, on the outskirts of the village, is an Edwardian mansion house which is now an 88-room hotel and wedding venue. In the 1940s it was the home of Colonel Colman, of the Colman's mustard company. The Colonel was a friend of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, and throughout their much publicised courtship, Edward and American divorcee Wallis Simpson regularly stayed at Scalford Hall. Colonel Colman died in the hunting field as he might have wished but his late wife is still remembered by older people in the village.
Scalford is closely linked with Melton Mowbray for major resources and shopping. Media related to Scalford at Wikimedia Commons