Painting The Town Red
The true infamous story of 'Painting The Town Red'
PAINTING THE TOWN RED
Painting The Town Red…
Owes its place in the English language to a mad prank which took place in
Melton Mowbray in the early hours of Thursday morning 6th April 1837.
During this week a great amount of excitement was to be seen in the town, owing
to the Croxton Park Races.
Many visitors of rank and fashion had come to stay and meet friends who resided
in the metropolis of fox hunting during the winter months.
The Marquis of Waterford with a large party attended the races and was
billeted in Melton.
PAINTING THE TOWN RED
Thursday morning 6th April 1837 three o’ clock.
It was at the Grantham toll gate where they
screwed up the shutters and the toll gate door,
Shouted for the “Gate!” the start of the nights
The keeper reached down for a loaded gun,
Uttered a curse! when the powder to prime, found
there was none.
Lady Luck had smiled at the Marquis and his party
For No.1 shot could have well paved the Marquis
and his party’s plight.
They daubed the town in a blood red coat,
The sign of the Red Lion left in the canal
The Marquis along with the party he led,
Captured the constables,
Barnes, a man of the watch, liberally received
a coat of red!
In the Market Place most of the houses came
in for the brush,
The White Swan its mantle soon sported a
At the Beast Market a number of doors were
presented with a bright red coat,
The sound of the spree about to reach new
heights of infamous note.
Arrested by the constables, detained under
lock and key,
Edward Horner Reynard Esquire a participant
of the spree.
Humble town folk from their windows stared
in disbelief and shock,
As the Marquis and his party attacked the watch-house
and forced three of the locks;
Unable the fourth to force,
Their following action was to steer a somewhat
They beat the constables Mason
and Campian, demanded their prisoner
to be set free,
Threatened to murder them if they did not
deliver up the key!
And so the night’s infamous furore was
about to cease,
As the constables in fear of their lives, their
prisoner they were obliged to release.
During the day on Thursday the Marquis with Captain Grantham and Mr Reynard
were once again on the streets.
After what appeared to be a row or a challenge to the constables to fight any of the party of the Marquis, Mr Reynard was arrested by three constables and was locked
up for a second time.
On the second night there was no painting, however the foul language and oaths that
ensued had never been heard before on the streets of Melton Mowbray.
Copyright Peter Morriss
First published Poetic Hours 2002
Click on thumbnail to enlarge.
The thumbnail on the right shows a picture of Burrough Hill, Leicestershire.
an Iron Age Hill Fort.
It was here where horse races were held in the 1800s.