Nayland is a Suffolk village, seven miles north of Colchester, near the mouth of the River Stour. In the 16th century, it was a prosperous cloth town and The Old Guildhall in the High Street demonstrates this. It is now a private house. The bridge by the Anchor Inn crosses the River Stour into Essex. The current bridge dates from 1959, but the previous wooden one was maintained by John Abel, a wealthy clothier who died in 1523. His symbol – the letter A and a bell on the keystone, has been preserved on the current bridge.
The High Street has detached gabled houses on one side and a continuous stretch of cottages on the other. In the High Street is an obelisk milestone. Alston Court at the south end of Church Street, dates from the 15th century and has magnificent carved timbers and a large 17th century door.
St. James’ Church was founded in 1400. The tower was damaged by an earthquake in the 19th century and it was then replaced in 1963 with the present spire. The church contains an altar-piece painted by John Constable early in his career in 1809. The subject is, “Christ Blessing the Bread and Wine”. John Constable was born nearby in East Bergholt.