Polstead is a picturesque village across the river Box from Stoke by Nayland at the point where the south Suffolk plateau breaks up into a number of small valleys.
The village, which featured in the Domesday Book, derives its name from the ponds which lie at the bottom of a steep hill leading up to the village green on one side with St Mary’s Church and Polstead Hall on the other side.
Polstead is a lovely place, extremely pretty and with great community spirit. There is a village community shop, a village hall, which hosts regular film screenings and a village pub.
Don’t miss the pretty church, just outside the main part of the village and admire the wonderful, uninterrupted view across the valley.
Need to Know…
Polstead is well known for its delicious cherries and lends its name to the ‘Polstead Black’. This is also the village where the Murder in the Red Barn took place of the hapless Maria Marten in 1827.
The story goes that the young Maria Marten was involved with a man called William Corder, whom she planned to elope to Ipswich with. They arranged to meet at the Red Barn in Polstead, but instead of eloping, William Corder shot his lover dead.
He fled the scene and sent letters to Maria’s family claiming that they were together and that she was happy and in good health. Maria’s stepmother had a dream that her step-daughter had been murdered and was buried in the the barn and felt so strongly that it was true, insisted that the barn was searched. Sure enough, Maria’s body was found and the hunt began for the murderer, William Corder. He was tracked down in London, where he had married and started a new life. He stood trial in Suffolk and was found guilty of murder and hanged in 1828 in Bury St Edmunds.
Because of the nature of the discovery, the story was a sensation and the village has been the centre of some attention from souvenir hunters, playwrights and filmmakers over the years.