MANNINGTREE has made it to the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live list.

So we have had a look at some of the things you might not know about the Essex town.

1. It is England’s smallest town

Manningtree has traditionally claimed to be the smallest town in England. It was reported to have 700 people in 20 hectares. In 2009 plans were put forward to merge Manningtree with its surrounding villages, Mistley and Lawford but this was later scrapped.

2. It has a grisly history with links to the Witchfinder General

Manningtree was known to be the centre of the activities of Matthew Hopkins.

During his rein of terror two victims who were alleged to be witches were found guilty and handed on Manningtree Green.

It was at the same location heretic Thomas Osmond was burned in June 1555.

3. It has links to Shakespeare

Manningtree’s fame in the time of William Shakespeare comes from its mention in Henry IV Part 1 (Act 2, Scene 4), where Falstaff is described as “that roasted Manningtree ox with the pudding in his belly”.

The former fire station in High Street, which now holds an iron cast of the Manningtree Ox, marking the town’s Shakespeare connection.

4. A painting of Jesus by John Constable used to hang in a church here

The Church of St Michael was demolished in 1965 but before that it housed a painting of Jesus by John Constable, the famous Suffolk-born 18th and 19th-century painter.

Known as The Ascension it was commissioned as an altarpiece for the church.

It was lent to the major Constable exhibition in Paris at the end of 2002, and it is now on permanent display in Dedham church.

5. The town was filmed for ITV’s Off The Beaten Track

The TV show in 2013 and explored the UK’s hidden countryside. Presenter Christine Bleakley visited Manningtree where she learned about Matthew Hopkins the Witchfinder and starred in a play

READ MORE: Manningtree named one of the Times’ best places to live