Sturmer, Essex


St Mary's Church
 Sturmer shown within Essex
Population 492 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceTL698439
Shire countyEssex
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Haverhill
Postcode district CB9
Dialling code 01440
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK ParliamentSaffron Walden
List of places

Coordinates: 52°04′01″N 0°28′41″E / 52.067°N 0.478°E / 52.067; 0.478

Sturmer is a village in the county of Essex, England, 2 miles (3 km) SE of Haverhill and close to the county border with Suffolk. Its name was originally "Stour Mere", from the River Stour and is explicitly mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.[2] The mere still exists today to the north-east of the village. The village also gives its name to the Sturmer Pippin apple which was grown in the orchards of the village.[3]


The church of St Mary's dates from around AD 900.[4] According to a local legend it replaced an earlier woodsman's shrine. The nave is pre-Conquest, and the small blocked doorway in the north wall has a lintel embellished with a crude chequer pattern, which may well be Saxon work. The south doorway of the nave has a Norman arch that was added in the 12th century when the present chancel took shape, although the east window was inserted c. 1200, at the beginning of the Early English period. The nave has a double hammer beam roof. The tower was added in the 14th century, and most of the outer windows were inserted in the 15th century, in the Perpendicular style of architecture. The porch, of Tudor brick, is early 16th century.[5]


Sturmer has a tumulus to the West of the village, next to the easternmost roundabout of the Haverhill bypass. This would have been a burial ground for ancient Britons. It is dated Neolithic to late bronze age (2400 to 1500 BC), however, local legend has it that one of Boudicca's generals is buried here.[6] In the Old English poem The Battle of Maldon, which describes the battle of Maldon against the Vikings in AD 991, a loyal Anglo-Saxon warrior named Leofsunu or Leofsund says he is from Sturmer (lines 244-254).[7] There is a modern slate memorial to him on the north wall of the nave of St Mary's Church that was dedicated by the Bishop of Colchester on 11 August 1991.[8] Sturmer Hall is situated next to the church, is partially moated and evidence for this pre-Conquest moated manorial site and mill complex originates in the C10.[9] It is currently a hotel, conference centre and wedding venue.[10] Like most English villages, Sturmer once had industry of its own, including shops, maltings, farming, orchards for both apples and willow for basket making and cricket bats. Today there is little of this local industry left. Sturmer is home to the 14th century Red Lion Inn and a garden centre, while the oldest cottage is Linnetts in Linnetts Lane that also dates from the 14th century.[11] Most of the village area is still covered with worked arable land although it takes far fewer people to run an arable farm than it did in the 1800s. The village once had a railway station and hotel on Water Lane, but both are now private dwellings.


Sturmer railway station buildings and platform are visible from the road to Kedington, where the road crosses the River Stour. The Stour Valley Railway connected Sturmer to Colchester, Cambridge, and Sudbury, but was closed by the Beeching Axe which shut many branch lines.[12] The Colne Valley and Halstead Railway, which ran from Haverhill to Halstead and on to Chappel and Wakes Colne, passed just to the south of Sturmer Hall. The railway was closed to all traffic by 1965 and the track removed in 1966, also as a result of the Beeching Axe.[13]

Heritage Trail

Sturmer has a heritage trail called Sturmer Steps that details the history and environment of the village. The trail starts at Pocket Park in Water Lane, next to the old railway station, where an information board and leaflets are provided. Further information boards are located outside the Village Hall and outside Sturmer Nurseries garden centre.[14]

Notable residents

Olympic gold medalist Godfrey Rampling lived in Sturmer, where his daughter, the actress Charlotte Rampling, was born. A memorial plaque in the church, erected by parishioners, commemorates 'William Hicks, our Vicar who fought at Trafalgar.[15]


  1. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  3. "Sturmer Nurseries". Sturmer Nurseries. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  4. Sturmer Village Heritage Trail. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. Sturmer Church guidebook. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Sturmer Village Heritage Trail. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Wilfrid Berridge. "The Battle of Maldon Part III". Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  8. Sturmer Church guidebook. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. "Sturmer Hall". Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  11. Sturmer Village Heritage Trail. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. Welbourn, Nigel (2001). Lost Lines: Eastern. Ian Allan Publishing. pp. 20–28. ISBN 0711023832.
  13. Welbourn, Nigel (2001). Lost Lines: Eastern. Ian Allan Publishing. pp. 20–28. ISBN 0711023832.
  14. "Sturmer Nurseries". Sturmer Nurseries. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  15. "Seax - Catalogue: T/Z 151/248 Monumental inscriptions at St Mary, Sturmer". Seax - Essex Archives Online. Essex Record Office. Retrieved 8 August 2015.

Media related to Sturmer, Essex at Wikimedia Commons

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