Murder of the Mendenhalls
Edward III died A. D. 1377, and forty-five years after this date, 1442, Henry VI ascended the throne, and in his reign commenced the sanguinary struggles between the Houses of York and Lancaster, that continued so long to deluge England with blood, the inhabitants of Wiltshire were conspicuous for their attachments to the Henries. A great number of them were slain at the battle of Tewkesbury, where the Lancastrians were defeated, and bore the brunt of the fatal day, which contributed to confirm the diadem on the head of Edward.
This battle was fought A. D. 1471. Ten years prior to this battle, A. D. 1461 the battle of Towton, in Yorkshire, was fought, where the Lancastrians were defeated, and by the orders of Edward IV, slain with unremitting fury. The gentry of Wiltshire, with so much of the nobility as resided there, must have suffered, as the whole kingdom was arrayed on one side or the other, in like proportion.
No one after this can suppose but that the Wiltshire Mildenhalls, who had been so distinguished by royal favor, must have suffered in life and estate during the eventful struggle.
Perhaps the manor of Mildenhall in Wilts was confiscated, the principals slain, and the minor branches and their descendants left to their own personal resources for future subsistance. The estate at Marriadge Hill might have been a remnant of the ancient family patrimony.
The Hungorford family, who had vast estates in Wiltshire as well as in Berkshire, forfeited them for their attachment to the House of Lancaster; but in the reign of Henry VII, the attainders were reserved, and the honor and the lands were restored to the family. The Mildenhalls, it is presumed, were not so fortunate.
For some centuries past there have been families of the name of Mildenhall residing in the towns and villages about this part of the country, chiefly tradesmen, farmers, and inkeepers, and which it is presumed, were decendants of the ancient stock.
Decendants leaving the area found that the name Mildenhall was seen to be corrupted and transitioned the name into Mendenhall.