These are attractive small ports at the head of the Stour, the gateway to “Constable Country” in Suffolk. Manningtree was a centre of the cloth trade in Tudor times and later a flourishing port for barges, carrying mixed cargoes down the coast to London. It contains an impressive group of Georgian buildings. It is believed that the reference to Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry IV as “that roasted Manningtree Ox” relates to the practice of roasting a whole ox at the town’s medieval annual fair. Matthew Hopkins, the notorious Witch Finder General, struck terror into the local community during the 17th Century. His victims were hanged on the diminutive village green.
Mistley contains many pleasant Georgian and Victorian houses. In the 18th Century local landowner Richard Rigby MP attempted to develop Mistley into a fashionable spa town, symbolised by a swan. He hired the architect Robert Adam, to design and remodel the existing church.
The Towers are all that remain after the centre section of the medieval church was demolished in 1870. They are the only known surviving remains of any of the churches designed by Robert Adam.
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