Myland or Mile End?

To trace the history of Myland Parish Church over the hundred years since its foundations were laid is to look, for a little while, upon the changing face of the Essex countryside to see the village grow from a mere handful of houses and a few farms to a residential district of some 5,000 persons; to visualise the rutted lanes developing into macadam-surfaced, well-lighted roads carrying a constant stream of motor traffic, and yet, at the same time, to notice the village retaining its own character as a community grouped around its Parish Church.

The old church of St. Michael and All Angels, which the present Church replaced, was situated about half-a-mile away, adjacent to the Rectory. A stone showing the distance from Colchester (1 mile) stood at the roadside at this point, and this is thought to be the reason why the townsfolk of Colchester called both church and village by the name “ Mile End “. instead of the more picturesque “ Myland “, which is used by the Church, the Rectory, the Hospital and the Primary School at the present time. The two names appear to have been used concurrently, in one form or another, from 1130 onwards, and an article contributed to the Parish Magazine by the Rev. M. C. Dickenson in 1922 shows considerable research into various documents from which the following variations were extracted.

Miland or Milanda 1130

Mylond 1150

La Mile Pride 1288

Myland 1334

Le Milend 1347

La Mileende 1441

La Milaund 1444

Myle ende 1555

He also placed on the wall of the Church a copy of an extract from the Cartulary of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. Colchester (1130-1236), which shows the name spelled in the Latin text as “Milanda”.

Morant, in his “History and Antiquities of the most ancient Town and Borough of Colchester”, dated 1748, mentions an additional form - “la Mylande” - but gives his opinion that the variations in spelling were “ owing to the Ignorance of the Times “.