Modern housing mainly dominates this village which retains some older buildings, shops and a railway station on the Ipswich to Cambridge line. The village was recorded in Domesday as "Elmeswella". John Speed's 1610 map shows it as "Elmeswell".
To mark the parish council's centenary on December 4th 1994, a time-capsule was buried 1m north of the village sign, containing a record of the village on that day.
One earlier resident, Sir Robert Gardiner, Kt, was Chief Justice of Ireland for 18 years before dying in 1619 aged 80 years. Sir Robert also erected an almshouse in the village for widows of both Elmswell & Woolpit.
Elmswell Hall is a late 16th century monastic grange, though it must date from a considerably earlier time, as Henry VI is recorded as having visited it in 1433. The remains of a Romano-British pottery kiln, dating from some time between in the 2nd and 4th centuries, have been excavated near St John's church.
Almshouses adjacent to the church date from 1614:
Sr Robert Gardener Kt sometime lord of these manors of Elmswell & Wolpit(sic) founded this almsshouse in ye time of his life An 1614 and gave
it unto it sufficient maintenance for six poore women widows to continu…
The 1844 White's Directory lists Thomas Catchpole as a farmer and maltster.
The 1851 Census lists William Wright (Beerhouse Keeper, pub not named, Head/Married/38/born Elmswell) [Possibly the Crown, the Fox or the Oak].
The 1865 Kelly's Directory lists Edward Corner (Beer retailer & licensed to let horses, pub not named) [Possibly the Crown or the Oak].
The 1900 Kelly's Directory lists Thomas Edwards (Beer retailer, pub not named [Possibly the Crown].
The 1916 Kelly's Directory lists William Jas Collard (Beer retailer, pub not named) [Possibly the Crown or the Oak].
The 1922 Kelly's Directory list…
Some historical information from English Heritage's National Monuments Record.