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The Stour Estuary - - 14415.jpg
The River Stour at Manningtree
Manningtree is located in Essex
Location within Essex
Population911 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceTM105317
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCO11
Dialling code01206
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°56′39″N 1°03′41″E / 51.9443°N 1.0614°E / 51.9443; 1.0614Coordinates: 51°56′39″N 1°03′41″E / 51.9443°N 1.0614°E / 51.9443; 1.0614

Manningtree is a town and civil parish in the Tendring district of Essex, England, which lies on the River Stour. It is part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Natural Beauty[1].

Smallest town claim[edit]

Manningtree has traditionally claimed to be the smallest town in England, but its 2007 population of 700 people in 20 hectares[2] and the 2011 census population for the civil parish of 900 are much higher than the 351 population of Fordwich, Kent.[3] However the settlement of Manningtree has a population of 5696.[4] In April 2009 it was proposed that Manningtree should merge with Mistley and Lawford to form a single parish, losing its separate identity as a town.[5] As of 2018 such a merger has not occurred, and the town council currently claims to be the smallest by area.


Manningtree Library

The name Manningtree is thought to derive from 'many trees'.[6] 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.[6] Manningtree is known as the centre of the activities of Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed Witchfinder General, who claimed to have overheard local women discussing their meetings with the devil in 1644 with his accusations leading to their execution as witches.[6]

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' and was later used around 1900 for public entertainment,[6] and the oldest Methodist church in Essex, located on South Street.

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.


Manningtree is part of the electoral ward called Manningtree, Mistley, Litte Bentley and Tendring. The population of this ward at the 2011 census was 4,603.[7]


River Stour near Manningtree

Manningtree is on Holbrook Bay, part of the River Stour in the north of Essex. It is the eastern edge of Dedham Vale.

Nearby villages include Dedham, Mistley, Lawford, Wrabness and Brantham.

Manningtree railway station provides a direct train link to London, Norwich and Harwich.

In fiction[edit]

Manningtree features in Ronald Bassett's 1966 novel Witchfinder General and in A.K. Blakemore's 2021 novel The Manningtree Witches.

Notable people[edit]

Twin town[edit]

Germany Frankenberg, Hesse, Germany


  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Essex: Town is happy to be small wonder". Echo Newspapers. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2010.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Area: Fordwich CP (Parish)". National Statistics. 28 April 2004. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  4. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Manningtree Built-up area (E34003024)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  5. ^ Collitt, Andrea (17 April 2009). "Manningtree: Threat to Mayor". Harwich and Manningtree Standard. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Peers, Deborah (February 2009). "Once upon a time in... Manningtree". Essex Life. Archant Life. p. 52.
  7. ^ "Manningtree,Mistrey, Little Bemtley and Tendring ward population 2011". Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  8. ^ Lewis, Russell (1975). Margaret Thatcher: a personal and political biography. Routledge and Kegan Paul. p. 16. ISBN 0-7100-8283-5.

External links[edit]