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History of Milstead
Milstead probably comes from the Old ‘middel’ meaning ‘middle’ with ‘stede’ as a
‘place, site’; therefore, ‘middle place’.
Milstead parish church is a Grade: II listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary and
the Holy Cross. The Normans built it in the 12th Century, and extending it in the
13th century, by the lengthening of the chancel and adding the north and south chapels
that only go half the length of the chancel. A 15th Century tower completed the ensemble.
In the 15th century, an unknown founder cast and hung two bells in the newly constructed
tower. In 1440, William Chamberlain added a tenor. In 1798, Edward Hasted described
St Mary’s church as ‘small, and consists of one isle and one chancel, with a low
square tower at the west end of it, in which hang three bells. On the north side
is another small chancel’. In 1872, the architect William Butterfield restored and
enlarged the Milstead church. He rebuilt the chapels and chancel windows. The nave
windows he beautified with `Butterfield dumplings` created by cutting away the plaster
like a pie crust to reveal the stonework underneath.