Nayland today is an elongated nucleated settlement arranged parallel with the River Stour, along the B1087, just east of the main A134 road connecting Colchester and Sudbury. Today, the older core lies close to the river, including a small number of houses on an island in the Stour, clustered around St James’ Church, whose fabric dates to the 14th century. Newer estates are located along the north side of the river valley and in the eastern extremity of the village. Nayland parish has over 100 listed buildings including many timber-framed structures dating back to the 13th-16th centuries. These are concentrated in Nayland village itself, with a scattering across the rest of the modern parish. The medieval site of Court Knoll lies in the SE of the village. This appears to have been a manorial site from the later 11th century onwards. Field walking and excavation here in the 1920s revealed large quantities of Roman tile re-used as foundations for a manor building, and although virtually none of the pottery found at the site pre-dated the later medieval period, documentary evidence, pottery finds and geophysical survey of building features confirm the presence of buildings on the site from the 14th century onwards.
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