History of Minal
 
Introduction
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When I first prepared the Minal Community Web Site in 2000, I referred to The Victoria History of Wiltshire, (held in the Marlborough Library), of which the most recent edition was published in 1983, as the primary source for the history published on this site. I believe that it was also a source of inspiration for Norman Spires, who died in 2002, when he wrote A Minal Chronicle in 1990.

This History of Minal is published in his memory. In his introduction he wrote:-

 

“I believe that Mildenhall is archaeologically and historically unique.

There must be many hundreds of parishes which can proudly point to one event of great significance occurring in past centuries, whilst towns, of course with their greater concentrations of population, can list many more.

This parish of Minal has a background which, although sometimes mundane in terms of greatness, has two thousand years and more of continuous recorded history.

Although an agricultural parish, there is clear and well - maintained documentation of items relating to people, their occupations, the Church, the places within the parish and even to great centres of ancient archaeological interest, some as yet unexplored or explained.

"A Minal Chronicle" attempts to set out these happenings - and the proof which goes with them - in a logical and sequential way. Here are more than two thousand years of parish history.”

 

Because this was a very personal history of Minal, it was written in the first person, so that throughout this history, the ‘I’ refers to Norman Spires.

Additional material was also provided by Mark Corney, Department of Archaeology, University of Bristol, on the history of Cunetio, and by Linzi Mathews (ne Standfield), who attended the school in Minal in its final years. She has provided a snap shot of the school life and of life in Minal in that period.

Throughout its life, Minal has gone through a gamut of variations in the way that its name was spelt and pronounced, and as a village has been found in records since the early 9th century. In the Domesday book, in 1086, its spelling was Mildenhalle, but over the years the various spellings and the years that they were recorded are:-

806
1086
1241
1301
1428
1482
1539
1560
1574
Mildanhald
Mildenhalle
Mildhale
Myldenhale
Mildenhale
Myldenhalle
Midnall
Mildenghall
Mildenhale
1657
1663
1675
1694
1699
1742
1760
1780
1978
Milldinghall
Minhale
Middenhall
Mildenall
Middonhole
Mindinhole
Minal
Middenhal
Minal

The village of Mildenhall although spelt this way, had been pronounced Minal by the local residents for centuries. During the long standing rectorship of Rev Courtman, who retired in 1978 at the age of 94, he changed the name of the church to Minal Church, and so one can see both spellings used in the village.

I feel that this History of Minal is a fitting tribute to Norman Spires. I hope that visitors to the site will enjoy reading it.

PS: In 2003 another history of Minal was written by John Chandler, in his books ‘Marlborough and Eastern Wiltshire’ and ‘Devizes and Central Wiltshire’. A concise version of his history the Mildenhall Concise History, can be seen on the Wiltshire County Council website. You might find the additional information interesting.

Maurice D Stanton