Stanningfield takes its name from the Early English name "Stanfella" or "Stansfelda" meaning "stoney field". It is known that the area was occupied at the beginning of English recorded history because traces of Roman occupation has been found on one of the local farms.
Occasional documentary references mention the village in Anglo-Saxon, Norman (The Domesday Book), and medieval times. The oldest building, which is St Nicolas' Church (seen here) dates back to the Norman period.
The 1838 Tithe Map shows the same internal road patterns as today with roads leading to the neighbouring villages of Hawstead, Lawshall, Great Whelnetham, Sicklesmere, Bradfield Combust and Cockfield where the nearest railway station was located until its closure to passengers in 1961.
The River Lark represents a dominant landscape feature while the village also has several greens with Hoggard's Green, the largest, having always played an important part in community life. While the pond on the green has long gone, in 1996 a successful reclamation of an ancient pond at Old Lane was undertaken. A small scattered village, Stanningfield's main centre is around the green, and the Red House Public House. There is a picturesque area around St Nicolas' Church which includes the village hall (formerly the church hall), the former rectory and several farm houses. On the Lawshall side of the village stands Coldham Hall, a magnificent Tudor House.
A interesting feature of the history of Stanningfield and the area to the south has been the continuity, from the Middle Ages, of Roman Catholicism in a predominantly Protestant area. Ambrose Rookwood of Coldham Hall was executed for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, but even this event did not destroy the Catholic cause in the neighbourhood.
The novelist, playwright and actress Elizabeth Inchbald née m. Simpson) was born into a Catholic farming family in the village on 15 October 1773.