Looking to live in….Manningtree
Once claimed to be the smallest town in England at just over 19 hectares, Manningtree was merged with the adjoining built up areas of Lawford and Mistley in 2009.
Based on the River Stour, this pretty town grew around the wool trade from the 15th century and had a thriving shipping trade until the railway arrived in the late 1800s, causing its decline. Today, this quiet riverside town gains more attention for being within the the Tendring district of Essex, which according to the Office for National Statistics has the biggest ‘pull’ in the country. It has seen the biggest net inflow, in percentage terms, of any place in the UK over a decade.
Tony Cathro, Associate Partner at Fenn Wright, gives us his view of Manningtree : “Manningtree is ideal for those interested in somewhere quiet and friendly but with busier, larger towns nearby. With easy access to the A12 and only an hour from London Liverpool Street by train, homeowners in Manningtree can enjoy the benefits of riverside life without limiting their career options.”
Considered a gateway to Constable Country, nearby villages include Dedham, Wrabness and Brantham. In fact, its links with John Constable include one of his well-known works of art, The Ascension, which was commissioned in 1821 for the altarpiece of the early 17th Century church on Manningtree’s High Street. The church was sadly demolished in 1967 but the piece has survived and now hangs in Dedham Church.
Tony continues: “As well as lovely walks along the River Stour, Manningtree benefits from a range of sporting clubs, pubs and restaurants to keep residents active and entertained. The town centre, with its many pretty Georgian buildings, also has a good range of shops that you can peruse at leisure or enjoy the livelier towns of Ipswich and Colchester, which are only a short drive away.”
The numerous Georgian facades in Manningtree’s town centre actually obscure earlier origins of this historic town. One example is the town’s library, which was originally built as a ‘public hall for the purposes of corn exchange’ but from about 1900 was used for public entertainment. Further afield and perhaps more memorable, are the striking Mistley Towers, which are the only surviving remnants of a once beautiful 18th century church.
Tony tells us more about Manningtree’s history: “The town, whose name is thought to be derived from ‘many trees’, is also known for its links with Matthew Hopkins – a self-appointed Witchfinder General. He claimed to have overheard local women discussing meetings with the devil in 1644, and his accusations led to their execution as witches! More recently, though, Manningtree was home to Margaret Thatcher who worked as a research chemist at BX Plastics to develop an adhesive to stick PVC to wood and metal!”
Today, Tony explains, Manningtree attracts a diverse range of buyers: “Good schooling, with a number of nurseries, primary schools and a secondary school – including Lawford Primary listed the 3rd best in Essex – broadens the appeal of Manningtree. Interest is helped by the fact that there is a wide variety of housing on offer too, including everything from one-bedroom properties starting at £110,000, through to five-bedroom family houses at around £650,000. There are also new houses being built in the area creating more opportunities for buyers. Summers Park, for example, is a development of around 150 houses built by Rose Builders, with properties for sale through our Manningtree branch.”
Here are a couple of great properties currently on the market with our Manningtree branch:
Summers Park development in Lawford, Manningtree With four bedrooms, three bathrooms and two reception rooms, this attractive new house, on the market for £595,000, could make the ideal family home. You may also be interested to know that Help to Buy is available for this development, subject to availability and terms and conditions.
If you are looking for something with a bit more history, then this Grade II listed family home could be just what you’re looking for. On the market for £500,000, Constable Place, High Street in Mistley, Manningtree is a former 18th Century Tea House, known locally to have been visited by famed artist John Constable, whose brother Abram later owned the property in the 19th Century.