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The Brantham Bull pub
St Michael Brantham (geograph 3679748).jpg
St Michael's Church, Brantham
Brantham is located in Suffolk
Brantham shown within Suffolk
Population 2,566 (2011)[1]
OS grid reference TM105345
Civil parish
  • Brantham
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Manningtree
Postcode district CO11
Dialling code 01206
Police Suffolk
Fire Suffolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°58′08″N 1°03′47″E / 51.969°N 1.063°E / 51.969; 1.063Coordinates: 51°58′08″N 1°03′47″E / 51.969°N 1.063°E / 51.969; 1.063

Brantham is a village and civil parish in the Babergh district of Suffolk, England. It is located close to the River Stour and the border with Essex, around 2 miles (3 km) north of Manningtree, and around 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Ipswich.


The name Brantham is of Anglo Saxon origin - Brant for 'hill' and ham 'village' — hence, 'village on the hill'. Another possible translation may be 'burnt village', a name given after a Viking invasion coming up from the River Stour. Evidence of the village's Saxon heritage can be found in the form of some ninety silver coins from the time of Edward the Elder (899-924) in what has become known as the Brantham Hoard, found in the village in 2003.

Brantham is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday book as having 38 households and under the lordship of Aelfric of Weinhou. Until 1887 the local economy was almost entirely agricultural. This changed in 1887 when British Xylonite Ltd. purchased the 130-acre (0.53 km2) Brooklands Farm and built their factory, which was later renamed BX Plastics.[2] There was insufficient accommodation available locally for the workforce, so the company also built Brantham New Village, consisting of about 60 new houses.


Brantham Leisure Centre is a community-interest company providing venues for football, bowls, netball, cricket, and tennis, plus bar and function facilities.[3]

The village's football club, Brantham Athletic, competes in the Premier Division of the Eastern Counties League.

Residents participate in a variety of recurring charitable events, including an annual Guy Fawkes Night fireworks event.

Historical buildings and notable former residents[edit]

Brantham's parish church of St. Michael and All Angels dates back to the 14th century, although it is believed a religious building has been on the site for over 1,000 years. The church also has connections with Dodnash Priory (founded in 1188). When the priory was dissolved at the time of the Reformation, it is thought that some of the priory's medieval glass was fitted in one of the south facing nave windows. The church underwent extensive repairs in 2004 following extensive fundraising efforts and a £23,000 grant from the UK National Lottery. St Michael's owns one of only two known religious paintings by John Constable. "Christ blessing the children" was presented to the church by the artist himself in 1805. A reproduction hangs on display in the church today but the original is kept at the Ipswich Museum. Brantham is generally acknowledged, along with Flatford, Dedham and East Bergholt, to be part of 'Constable Country'. The artist chose a cottage in the village overlooking the Stour as a subject to one of his sketches 'Fisherman's cottage in Brantham with a view of Mistley Hall' in 1796. The drawing, which is in the V&A museum in London is one of the earliest dated drawings by Constable of which the whereabouts are now known.

The Tudor didactic poet Thomas Tusser settled at Katwade (now Cattawade) and is believed to have written his most famous work "A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie" at Braham Hall. The lord of the manor of Brantham in the 15th century was 'shire knight of Suffolk' Sir John Braham (d.1420).

The village's oldest pub, the Brantham Bull, is a 16th-century grade 2 listed building. Some of the beams from the building are thought to have come from the wreckage of the Spanish Armada, and over the centuries the building has also been used as a court house and a prison. Witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins, once hanged a lady by the name of Nancy on the green outside the front of the building. A passage used by smugglers used to run from the pub's cellar out to the River Stour.


Brantham is about a mile and a half from Manningtree station being adjacent to and above the village of Cattawade. A long railway cutting runs past the village, being the main line London to Norwich. At one point near Brantham Bull, it is the deepest railway cutting in Suffolk with the road bridge being the highest bridge in Suffolk. There was once a siding to Marsh Farm, where fresh fruit and vegetables were loaded for London, and further south ne t to the river Stout, a siding going into the old BX Plastics factory (now derelict) for loading and unloading materials. The former was disused by the end of the 1930s. The BX siding was active until the early 1960s for coal deliveries.

In 2018 Greater Anglia will open a train depot on the site a former Imperial Chemical Industries factory.

The road link between Essex and Suffolk is a journey across two bridges from Manningtee to Cattawade and onto Brantham. A road journey from Harwich in Essex to Felixstow in Suffolk (less than a mile) takes an hour by car routing down the Stour to Manningtee, crossing into Suffolk, on via Ipswich and onto the A14 to Felixstow ! <reAbellio unveils plans for new £70 million state-of-the-art depot near Manningtree Daily Gazette 10 February 2017</ref>[4][5]

There is a Methodist church situated in Gravel Pit Lane. [6]


External links[edit]