Manningtree Town Defences

Has been described as a Possible Urban Defence

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameManningtree Town Defences
Alternative Names
Historic CountryEssex
Modern AuthorityEssex
1974 AuthorityEssex
Civil ParishManningtree

A planted small town, possibly enclosed, intended as a new commercial port, but which also became a leading fishing port supplying Colchester. The layout of the town suggests some form of planning based on the market in the High Street and the Quay. The diversion of South Street immediately S of the town has not been satisfactorily explained. (PastScape – ref Eddy, 1983)

Examination of groundworks on the western side of the junction of South Street and North Street revealed a substantial stone wall of uncertain date. It has been suggested that the dog-leg plan of South Street on the southern side of the town may have been caused by the presence of a town enclosure ditch at that point. This has yet to be proved, but the medieval town was certainly quite compact in nature indicating again that it was enclosed in some form. (Unlocking Essex's Past)

Gatehouse Comments

The modern street plan is suggestive, with South Street marking the western town boundary and York Street the southern. However the actual existence of defences and their nature is unproven. The modern street called The Walls must refer to sea defences rather than town walls.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTM106318
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Eddy, M.R. with Petchey, M.R. (eds), 1983, Historic Towns in Essex: An Archaeological Survey (Essex County Council) p. 66, 69-71
  • Beresford, M. and Finberg, H.P.R., 1973, English Medieval Boroughs: a Handlist (Newton Abbot: David and Charles) p. 110


  • 1999, Manningtree Historic Town Assessment Report (Essex County Council) Download copy