The name Burstead comes from the Anglo Saxon 'Burhstede' meaning 'a fortified place'.
We are not really sure where the fortification was but it is believed to have been in the vicinity of Great Burstead Church, St Mary Magdelene.
Before the Norman Conquest Earl Godwin held the area we know today as Little Burstead, the father of King Harold. Great Burstead belonged to Inqvar a thane.
Following the conquest and at the time of the Domesday Book, Little Burstead was in the ownership of the Bishop of London, whilst Great Burstead was in the ownership of Ode-Bishop of Bayeaux the half brother of William The Conqueror.