In 1086 these villages were part of the large and wealthy manor of Mildenhall (Mitdenhalla) with its church, 3 ½ fisheries, 31 wild mares, 37 cattle, 60 pigs and 1000 sheep. It then belonged to King William, but Domesday Book records show that it had been given by King Edward the Confessor to the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds and that it had later been held by Archbishop Stigand. The gift to Bury Abbey took place in 1043-4 and it seems that afterwards it was leased to Archbishop Stigand. He had been bishop of East Anglia in the 1040s and had retained considerable property there but when he was deposed in 1070 much of his estate was taken into the king’s hands. The manor of Mildenhall was redeemed by Abbot Samson of Bury from King Richard 1. in 1189 for 1000marks. It remained a possession of Bury Abbey down to the dissolution of the monastery. By the late 16th century, Mildenhall comprised the main town (sometimes called High Town) and a number of daughter settlements closer to the fen edge. These fen edge hamlets were variously called ‘rows’, ‘greens’ and ‘streets’. In the Beck Row area they included Beck Row Green, Cake Street Green, Hern’s Green, Holmsey Green, Holywell Green, Stock Green, Wilde Street as well as Lambholme and Aspal Hall.
Beck Row Green is now The Street from Holmsey Green corner towards Stock Corner.
Cake Street Green is now St. John’s Street.
Hern’s Green is now the housing estate off Holmsey Green.
Holmsey Green remains the same.
Holywell Green is now Holywell Row.
Stock Green is now Stock Corner.
Wilde Street remains the same.
Lambholme is now Lamble Close.
Aspal Hall has disappeared .
(see draft map from E. Martin’s Fenland Project and Suffolk Survey circa Saxon & Medieval )
In 1327 there is mention in documents of John de Beche. The village was called Le Bek or Bekgrene between 1390-1401, le Beckegrene in 1538-40, Becke streete, the middle row in Beckstreete, Beckwatch, Beck(e) waye in 1574 and Beck Row from 1735-1783. It then became Beck Row Field, Green and Road in 1812 and Beck Row and Watch in 1836. The word bekkr is an old Norse word for a stream.
Mary Rolfe writes “In the early part of the 20th Century Beck Row was just a small part of the parish of Mildenhall and considered to be within the Mildenhall Fen area. In those days other small hamlets existed in their own right such as Wilde Street, Kenny Hill and Burnt Fen (part of Burnt Fen in Suffolk from Kenny Hill Council Houses to The Old Plough and Duck public house just before Shippea Hill Railway Station is in this parish as well.) each of which had their own shops, families and in some cases their own school and church.
So it was to this area that the Air Ministry came in 1934 in search of a suitable site for an airfield and it was decided to develop the large flat plain between Mildenhall, West Row and Beck Row. This development was to become what we now know as R.A.F. Mildenhall. It was from this airfield that aircraft flew in the world famous Mildenhall to Melbourne Air Race, thereby putting Mildenhall on the map of aviation. There have been many other notable events with which R.A.F. Mildenhall has been connected . Since those early days through R.A.F. Mildenhall falling into the parish of Beck Row the village has played host to several members of the Royal Family, three Presidents of the United States and through the annual Air Fete, numerous dignitaries from all over the world plus many thousands who enjoy airshows.”
This Hall was once known as Aspallgate between 1538-40. It was the manor of Aspalis 1554, Aspolls man, Aspolls land, Aspole way and Aspoll Wongs in 1574. It became Aspalls in 1651, Aspall Farm in 1725 and Aspall Grounds, Lane, Road and Farm in 1836. It became Aspall Hall in 1855. This small manor takes its name from Sir Robert de Aspal of Stonham Aspal who owned it in the early 14th century. Robert went overseas in the service of the King in 1308-9, was a justice in Suffolk 1317 and 1331, was a co executor of the will of the Countess of Norfolk 1322-3, was summoned as a knight to the Great Council at Westminster in 1324 and was Knight of the Shire of Suffolk in 1327. The manor descended to the Hemenhale and Felbrigge families before being acquired by Bury Abbey in 1445. During the reign of Henry V111, just before the Reformation, it was taken into the Duchy of Lancaster and various parcels of land were leased out to tenant farmers. Robert and Ellen Fincham lived at Aspal Hall throughout their married life-first as tenants of the Bunbury Estate and then as owners when the Estate was sold off. All twelve of their children were born whilst they were at the Hall and on Robert’s death in 1940 the mixed farm was taken over by two of the sons, Stanley and John. John l lived alone at the Hall until he died intestate in 1961 whereupon the whole farm, including the Hall and Aspal Close were put on the market. Even as late as 1961 the Hall had neither electricity nor water-John had no desire to move with the times! Only the small part of medieval moat that surrounded the manor house still survives around the houses in Park Close, Aspal Lane. Aspal Close was a small home park belonging to the manor. It is now an English Heritage site owned by Forest Heath District Council. It was owned by builders Buckingham and Sparrow who had planned to develop it until our local County Councillor Jack Haylock stepped in and with Forest Heath District Council’s help secured it for the village. A carved seat in Jack’s memory was installed in the Close by Jack’s widow Peggy in------ It is now nationally known as a wonderful Nature Reserve.
This street which is now St John’s Street was called Cakestreete at Beckwatch or Cakestrete field in 1574, Cake-street greene in 1651, Cake-street green in 1725, Cake Street in 1783, and Cake Street Field and Green in 1812.This name is possibly from the Middle English kake which was a smallish flattened sort of bread and street, presumably meaning a street where this bread was made or sold.
Called this in 1812 then the name eventually disappeared being resurrected when a new housing state was built on the land by F. Bonnett ( builders ).
Around 1189 – 1200 this street was called a variety of names including Holmersye, Holmereseye, Holmeresheye and Holmershe. A Geoffrey de Holmereseye was mentioned in 1285and it became Le Holmesheye, Holmseye Way,and Holmeshey medwe from 1390 –1401. In 1538-40 it was called Holmesey and Holmsey Green, Holmsey meade and Homsey Field in 1574. It was just called Holmsey in 1589 and Holmsey Green and Holmsey Field in 1812. The name possibly derived from the Old English hol+mersc/mere+eg which was an island by or near the marsh /mere in the hollow. Lambholm which is now Lamble Close may have been named after Maurice de Lambholm. He was married to Agnes.This name lasted from 1189 –1285. It then becames Lamhom or Lamholm felde from 1390-1401, Lambholme Lynches from 1409-10 and Lambhome, or Lambholme Furlong by 1574. It then went on to be called Lambholm in 1616, an e was added to the name in 1651 and Lambholm Close in 1725. Around 1963 when Clements Way’s housing and the adjoining estate was built the road through it was called Lamble Close. The name is from the Old English lamb+ Old Norse holmr which means an isle or meadow.
This area of Beck Row was called Le Stoke, Stokefeld, Stokelode, Stokmedwe, Stokpath, Stokepatheshende from 1390-1401, Stokepathe from 1538-40, Stock furlong, Stocke greene,Stockpath, Stoke green Common, Stoking Lane by 1534. In 1590 it was called Stocke meadowe and Stacklode in 1636. This changed to Stoc Load in 1789 and then Stock Green and Stocks Corner in 1812. The word is from the Old English stoc which means place, secondary or outlying settlement.
This street in Beck Row was once called Wyldweye from 1390-1401, then Wildstreete in 1574. It became Wild Street in 1783, Wildstreet in 1812 and Wild Street in 1836. The word means Wild’s Street possibly after a Robert le Wylde who lived in Mildenhall in 1285. Wildmere Farm and Lane is documented in 1574 as is Wildmere Drove in 1812. The word means Wild’s mere. These subsidiary hamlets were arranged in three zones called watches and were named after Beck Row, Holywell Row and West Row. The term may refer to arrangements for watching the sheep flocks.