Mildenhall, Suffolk

Coordinates: 52°20′41″N 0°30′32″E / 52.34461°N 0.50890°E / 52.34461; 0.50890
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mildenhall is located in Suffolk
Location within Suffolk
Area36.03 km2 (13.91 sq mi) inc. West Row
Population10,315 (2011) inc. West Row[1]
• Density286/km2 (740/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTL710748
• London75 mi (121 km)
Civil parish
  • Mildenhall
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtIP28
Dialling code01638
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°20′41″N 0°30′32″E / 52.34461°N 0.50890°E / 52.34461; 0.50890

Mildenhall is a market town and civil parish in Suffolk, England. The town is near the A11 road, and is 37 mi (60 km) north-west of Ipswich, the county town.[2] The large Royal Air Force station, RAF Mildenhall, as well as RAF Lakenheath, are located north of the town. Both are used by the United States Air Force as the headquarters of its 100th Air Refueling Wing and 352nd Special Operations Group. Mildenhall is often seen as the start of The Fens on the south/east.

Signpost in Mildenhall


Early history[edit]

The area around Mildenhall has been settled by humans since at least the Bronze Age.[3] Following the Roman Empire invasion of Britain, Mildenhall was the site of a Roman settlement, which at some point contained the Mildenhall Treasure.

The name of the town was first recorded in 1050 as Mildenhale, believed to mean a nook of land belonging to a woman called "Milde" or a man called "Milda".[4] In 1086, the Domesday Book recorded that the town was the property of the Abbot of St Edmunds and had a population of some 64 families.

Early Modern history[edit]

With the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, ownership of the town was transferred to Edward North, 1st Baron North, whose son, Roger North, lived in Mildenhall for a time.[5] Ownership of the Mildenhall estate remained with the North family for many decades. It was Henry North who, upon retirement, built the Manor house at Mildenhall.[6]

Sir Henry North was elected MP for Suffolk in 1685, but he died a bachelor and so ownership of the estate passed to Sir Thomas Hanmer.[7] Hanmer was elected Speaker of the House of Commons in 1714 and spent little time in his estate. He also died without an heir, and ownership then passed to Thomas Bunbury, who also became MP for Suffolk. In 1810 Joseph Smedley was able to hire a building as a temporary theatre for £2.[8]

Modern history[edit]

The Bunbury family held the manor of Mildenhall until the estate was broken up in 1933.[9] RAF Mildenhall was officially opened in 1934 and served as a base for RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War. In 1950, the US Air Force took over its operation.[10]

The town[edit]

Mildenhall is centred on a market place with a 16th-century hexagonal market cross and town pump. The town's market is held here every Friday; it originated as a weekly chartered market in (it is believed) the 15th century. In 1934 Mildenhall was the start point of the MacRobertson Air Race to Melbourne, Australia.

Mildenhall has its own radio station, ZACK FM (Forest Heath Public Radio), broadcasting on 105.3 FM; the transmitter is located at the top of St Mary's Church and radiates 100 W. The station format is classic and current hits plus specialist shows, and it broadcasts 24 hours a day with a mix of music, news and information.[11] The town is the subject and namesake of a song by The Shins, as well as being mentioned in passing in the Pink Floyd song "Let There Be More Light" on the 1968 album A Saucerful of Secrets as a speculated location for first contact between humanity and extraterrestrial life:

Then at last, the mighty ship
Descending on a point of flame
Made contact with the human race at Mildenhall

Due to the airfield, Mildenhall currently has the highest concentration of U.S. citizens in the country. As many as 30% of residents were born in the U.S.[12]


The town has a bus station, which was completed in 2005. Regular bus services run to the neighbouring towns of Brandon, Bury St. Edmunds, Newmarket and Thetford. National Express operate daily coach services to Norwich, London (Victoria Coach Station), Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. Mildenhall railway station was the terminus of the Cambridge to Mildenhall railway until its closure in 1962.[citation needed]


Mildenhall has three schools: two primary schools, St. Mary's and Great Heath and one secondary school, Mildenhall College Academy. The secondary school also contains a sixth form.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Mildenhall has a non-League football club, Mildenhall Town F.C., who play at Recreation Way.

It also has one of the East of England's leading cricket clubs, Mildenhall Cricket Club, playing at Wamil Way. In 2016 the 1st XI won the Two Counties Championship and was promoted to the East Anglian Premier Cricket League. Notable former players include England internationals Tymal Mills and Tom Westley and Essex Women's Lilly Reynolds.

The Mildenhall Cycling Club is located next to the cricket ground, and has famous previous members such as Victoria Pendleton.[13]

There is a leisure centre on Bury Road which is about 5–10 minutes away from the town square.

The River Lark runs through the town, and there is a 19-acre open space adjoining it, called the Jubilee Fields.

Notable people[edit]


Mildenhall is perhaps most famous for the discovery in 1942 of the Mildenhall Treasure. Now at the British Museum, the treasure is a hoard of Roman silver objects buried in the 4th century. In 1946 the discovery was made public and the treasure acquired by the British Museum; Roald Dahl wrote an article about the find which was published first in the Saturday Evening Post, and later as "The Mildenhall Treasure" (a short story) in his short story collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.[23][24] The Mildenhall Museum in the centre of the town contains displays of local history and wildlife, the history of the RAF base, and information on the Mildenhall Treasure. Entrance is free, opening times vary throughout the year.[25] The region between Devil's Dyke and the line between Littleport and Shippea Hill shows a remarkable amount of archaeological findings of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.[26]


  1. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics - Parish Headcounts". Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey (2006). OS Explorer Map 226 - Ely & Newmarket. ISBN 0-319-21857-0.
  3. ^ Bales, Ellen (2004). A Roman Maltings at Beck Row, Mildenhall, Suffolk. East Anglian Archaeology. ISBN 9780860552802.
  4. ^ Mills, David (2011). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. Oxford University Press. p. 327. ISBN 978-0199609086.
  5. ^ "NORTH, Roger (1531-1600), of Kirtling, Cambs. and Mildenhall, Suff. | History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  6. ^ "NORTH, Henry (1556-1620), of Wickhambrook and Mildenhall, Suff. | History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  7. ^ "NORTH, Sir Henry, 2nd Bt. (c.1635-95), of Mildenhall, Suff. | History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  8. ^ Neil R Wright (2016). Treading the Boards : Actors and theatres in Georgian Lincolnshire. SLHA. p. 69.
  9. ^ Dring, Dr C M. "A brief history of Mildenhall". Mildenhall and District Museum. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  10. ^ "RAF Mildenhall History". United States Air Force. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  11. ^ Brookes, Geoff. "Robert Everett DSO". Stories in Welsh Stone. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Born abroad: USA". BBC News. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Mildenhall Cycling Club".
  14. ^ "Senator Lindsey Graham, The Monday After The Strikes On Syria « The Hugh Hewitt Show". The Hugh Hewitt Show. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  15. ^ "America can't allow terrorism to triumph – The S.C. Republican Party". 24 September 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  16. ^ "HANMER, Thomas II (1677-1746), of Pall Mall, Westminster; Bettisfield Park, Flints.; and Mildenhall, Suff". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  17. ^ Cope, Lauren. "American indie band The Shins release new single about Mildenhall". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  18. ^ Hoult, Nick (3 April 2017). "The making of Tymal Mills: From a raw teen in tiny Tuddenham to an IPL millionaire in Bangalore". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  19. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (26 November 2011). "For Rick Perry, Air Force Service Broadened and Narrowed Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Rutan, Richard G".
  21. ^ "Sully: A real hero's story". The Telegraph. 22 November 2016. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Secretary Wilson returns to RAF Mildenhall, discusses innovation, stra". Royal Air Force Mildenhall. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  23. ^ "The Mildenhall Treasure". Mildenhall Museum. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2006.
  24. ^ Dahl, Roald (1995). The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More (5th ed.). London: Penguin Group. p. 215. ISBN 0-14-037348-9.
  25. ^ "The Mildenhall Museum". Mildenhall and District Museum. Mildenhall Museum. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  26. ^ Hall, David (1994). Fenland survey : an essay in landscape and persistence / David Hall and John Coles. London; English Heritage. ISBN 1-85074-477-7., pp. 81-88.

External links[edit]