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Maundbury (England)

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Churchspire

Maundbury, like many colonial towns, takes its name from an old English village of the same name, now lost to history, the sea and to time in the manner of many coastal towns

Maundbury was located on the southern coast of England in what is now the modern county of Hampshire between Calshot and Lepe.

The name 'Maundbury' for this old town comes in part from 'hill' or 'fort' - which is the meaning of 'bury' and often synonymous with one another and 'Maund' from 'Maundy' which refers in Christian terminology to the washing of feet by Christ but which comes from the Latin and the Old French meaning 'command' or 'mandate'.

Some scholars and archaeologists believe the name may be an alteration of 'Mund', which is found in Old English as meaning 'hand', 'protector' and even to fence off or enclose. Older spellings of Maundbury include Moundbury, Mandbury, Mundbury and Mornbury but with the village reclaimed by The Solent there's little opportunity to explore the true meaning and settle the argument.

Fragmentary Victorian records from dilletente archaeologists who investigated the area say that it was rich in Iron Age finds and burial mounds, though older signs of settlement such as neolithic stones had been uprooted by zealous Christian farmers or scavenged over the years for building material.

The English Maundbury's decline was slow and steady, rather than a sudden event. The village never truly had an identity and had little reason to exist. There was fishing and farming, the making of salt and so forth but it was overshadowed by its neighbours and had little to recommend it over them. The death of the village finally came about during WWII when the Ministry of Defence appropriated the village and moved the remaining villagers out, using it as a training ground for Royal Marine Commandos.

With the war ongoing the village lay fallow and the process of its erosion and swallowing up by the sea went unnoticed until the 1950s when an audit of military land turned up both Maundbury and its disappearance. The spire of the church was visible above the waves until autumn 1967 when it too finally sank out of sight.

The English Maundbury is referenced in the short story Cichol's Children

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