"POLSTEAD, a parish in the hundred of Babergh, county Suffolk, 3 miles N.E. of Nayland, 9 N. of Colchester, and 5 S.W. of Hadleigh railway station. Stoke is its post town. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on a small stream of the river Stour, and is wholly agricultural. The Red Barn, the scene of the tragic death of Maria Martin, still exists, but the Corders have entirely left the place. There is a corn-mill worked by the stream. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £880, and the glebe comprises 17 acres. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Ely, value £627, in the patronage of St. John's College, Oxford. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, and situated on an eminence in Polstead Park, is an ancient structure, with a spired tower containing six bells. The interior of the church contains two brasses, that of a priest bearing date 1460. There is a parochial school for both sexes, which is supported by the rector and by voluntary contributions. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship. C. Tyrell, Esq., is lord of the manor. A fair, lasting for two days, is held on Polstead Green on the Wednesday following 16th July."
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)