Halstead is a town and civil parish in the Braintree District of Essex, England. Its population of 11,906 in 2011 was estimated to be 12,161 in 2019. The town lies near Colchester and Sudbury, in the Colne Valley. It developed initially on the hill to the north of the river. The name Halstead is said to derive from the Old English hald (refuge, shelter, healthy) and stede (site, place or farm), meaning “healthy farm” or “place of refuge”.