Halstead is an attractive market town in North Essex, on the River Colne.
St. Andrew’s Church at the top of the High Street is mediaeval, with a good collection of monuments of the Bourchier family. On the other side of the river is the pretty 19th century Holy Trinity, an early work by George Gilbert Scott.
Halstead, along with the neighbouring Braintree and Bocking, was where the Courtauld family business started. Huguenot refugees settled here, as they did at Colchester, and at Sandwich and Canterbury in Kent and Spitalfields in London.
The weatherboarded Townsford Mill on the Colne has been converted into an antiques centre. This area of Essex and Suffolk is widely known as Lovejoy Country, after the TV series featuring the roguish antiques dealer.
Among Halstead’s exports over the years have been tortoise stoves and, amazingly, mechanical elephants!
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Halstead for groups.