Little Maplestead, Essex

Historical Description

Maplestead, Little, a parish in Essex, 2 ½ miles N of Halstead station on the Colne Valley railway. It has a post office under Halstead; money order and telegraph office, Halstead. Acreage, 1212; population of civil parish, 236; of ecclesiastical, 217. The church belonged to a preceptory, had the privilege of sanctuary, is the latest and smallest of the four extant round churches of England, was restored or rebuilt in 1857, retains its ancient form and features, is in fine Decorated English style, has a circular nave 30 feet in diameter, surrounded by a peristyle of six clustered columns, and an eastern apse or semicircular chancel, measures 62 feet in length, and contains a restored Primitive Norman font. There is a Congregational chapel. " In the reign of Henry I. the place belonged to Robert Dosnel,'whose daughter Juliana married William son of Andelin or Fitz Adhelin de Burgo, one of the great officers attached to the court of Henry II. This lady in 1185 gave the whole of the parish, including the church, to the Knights Hospitallers, and this gift was subsequently confirmed by her husband and also by King John. As soon as the Hospitallers had obtained possession of the place they proceeded to erect a commandery, which was subject to the priory of St John at ClerkenwelL In 1705 Mr Joseph Davis, a Sabbatarian (i. e. Seventh Day Baptist), purchased the manor of Little Maplestead, and by will left, with other property, the tithes of the parish, two farms of about 200 acres each, and advowson of the living for the benefit of the Seventh Day Baptists, subject to the payment, under which the purchase was made, of £10 a year to the incumbent." The trustees to the Sabbatarians were formerly city men, not themselves Sabbatarians, as males could not be found in the sect to make trustees; but now, although the Sabbatarians separated from the General Baptists on the question of the observance of the seventh day, the General Baptists are allowed to become trustees and to share in the funds of the Sabbatarians; consequently they now have the appointment to the living.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Essex
Ecclesiastical parish Little Maplestead St. John of Jerusalem
Hundred Hinckford
Poor Law union Halstead

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Little Maplestead from the following:


Online maps of Little Maplestead are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Essex online: