Manningtree’s unique selling point is its historic character and heritage alongside the attractive riverside setting. The town sits on the edge of one of the finest preserved countryside’s in the UK and enjoys outstanding views across the River Stour and ‘Constable Country’. It is these qualities which attract tourists to the area.

Sailing in Manningtree is popular and this is reflected in the numbers of members and waiting list for boat storage. Boats and yachts provide a great backdrop and interest to coastal ares.

Manningtree is a very small historic country town, located on the edge on one of the best preserved countryside landscapes in the UK. The historic town centre, like the landscape surrounding it, is relatively unspoilt. It is clear that Manningtree has a fine selection of buildings which form a solid backbone for the town’s appeal.

Traditionally claimed to be the smallest town in England, with a population of approximately 911. The name Manningtree is thought to derive from ‘many trees’. The town grew around the wool trade from the 15th century until its decline in the 18th century and also had a thriving shipping trade in corn, timber and coal until this declined with the coming of the railway.

Manningtree packs in a great deal for residents and visitors alike

Perhaps Manningtree is best known to the outside traveller by the railway station on the main London to Norwich line, but the most familiar landmark to the local traveller is Mistley Towers. The Towers, the surviving remnants of a fine 18th-century church, are most noticed and best remembered.

But the area can be traced back much further – with stories of Romans, Shakespeare, witches, aristocrats, industry and the areas oldest resident “Old Knobbley” – all this can be found here.

The Manningtree area features in Ronald Bassett’s 1966 novel Witchfinder General. It is known as the centre of the activities of Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed Witchfinder General, whose career flourished during the English Civil War.

Hopkins is famous for his persecution of women and accusations of witchcraft throughout East Anglia between 1645 and 1647. He claimed to have overheard local women discussing their meetings with the devil in 1644 with his accusations leading to their execution as witches.

If you are interested in Matthew Hopkins, Josie, one half of Essex Days Out, leads guided walks of Manningtree and Mistley which include stories of Matthew Hopkins.

A walk through the small river side towns of Manningtree and Mistley on the Essex/Suffolk borders. A chance to visit some of the locations that feature in the story of Matthew Hopkins’ “The Witchfinder General”. It is said that Hopkins was buried at Mistley Heath. Although rumours have also circulated about the possibility of his remains lying beneath the 25 acres of land that make up Mistley Place Park Animal Rescue Centre.

Situated  on Holbrook Bay, Manningtree, part of the River Stour in the north of Essex. It is the eastern edge of Dedham Vale. Many of the buildings in the centre of the town have Georgian facades which obscure their earlier origins.

Notable buildings

Include the town’s library, which was originally built as ‘a public hall for the purposes of corn exchange. This was later used around 1900 for public entertainment, and the oldest Methodist church in Essex, located on South Street. Manningtree’s Twin town is Frankenberg, Hesse,Germany since 1971.

The River Stour marks the border between the counties of Essex and Suffolk. As it flows past Manningtree it is tidal, and it is popular with both sailors and fishermen (and swans). The river narrows and heads towards nearby Flatford, where it was regularly painted by John Constable.

The Ascension, by John Constable, which now hangs in Dedham church, was commissioned in 1821 for the altarpiece of the early seventeenth century church on the High Street, demolished in 1967.

Margaret Thatcher lived in Manningtree and worked for BX Plastics, a plastics engineering and production company. The company was one of three subsidiaries of the British Xylonite Company established by 1938. BX Plastics made xylonite (also known as celluloid or ivoride) and lactoid (also known as casein). At a plant to the south of Brantham in Suffolk, on the north bank of the River Stour across the river from Manningtree in Essex. The company ceased trading in 1999.

Other points of interest

The High Street which runs parallel to the River Stour is lined with a range of timber framed buildings many of which have Georgian fronts. On the Market Cross in the High Street is a sculpture of the Manningtree Ox, mentioned by William Shakespeare in Henry IV Part 1 when young Prince Henry is teasing the overweight Falstaff.

There are a number of pubs and restaurants and a few shops on the High Street. But do explore the streets either side of the High Street as there some interesting buildings hidden away. The Red Lion is and award winning pub in Manningtree and is the oldest pub in town. Described in the Observer Food Monthly as “A great traditional freehouse, with a focus on East Anglian ales.”

Manningtree, Lawford and Mistley are neighbouring parishes, each with contrasting characteristics. Although separate in their own right, the three parishes need to be seen as one entity or as a sub region of northern Tendring, due to the many characteristics they have in common.

The principal constraints effecting the three neighbouring parishes as recognised by the majority of residents and visitors to the town, is it is the quality of the natural environment offered by the Stour Estuary and Dedham Vale that is the main attraction/key asset to the area. The surrounding countryside provides for a number of activities and uses including sailing, bird watching, fishing, walking and cycling.

Manningtree High Street is a buzzing place to wander along, lined with many independently owned shops, pubs, restaurants, a popular deli and wine shop, cafes and a small supermarket. There’s also the town library, which houses the Manningtree and District Museum and Local History Group.

With your exploration of Manningtree complete, you can embark on the picturesque walk along the estuary path known as ‘The Walls’, to Mistley, where there’s often an ice cream van parked up in summer, following the scent of the Maltings as you get nearer.

How to get there:

By Train: from Ipswich Train Station 9 Minutes

By Car: 18 minutes

By Bus: 92 From Stoke to manning tree 45 minutes

Tel: +44 800 919 390


Being just a short drive away Stone Lodge Apartments make an ideal place to stay when exploring Suffolk and Essex