There is some evidence for settlement of the Bocking area in the prehistoric and Roman period, concentrated in the Bradford Street area, Bradford Street itself follows the route of the Roman road from Chelmsford to Long Melford and Braintree itself was a Roman town. In the late tenth century Bocking belonged to the Saxon thegn Aetheric who bequeathed it to Christchurch at some date immediately prior to 999, Canterbury held Bocking until the Reformation and still has the right to grant the Deanery.
Medieval Bocking was a bi-focal settlement, based on Church Street and Bradford Street, linked by Church Lane and the River Pant/Blackwater. The original focus of settlement was around the existing Late Saxon church and manorhouse in Bocking Churchstreet, with Bradford Street developing later in response to its position on the main road and proximity to Braintree market. In 1304 Flemish weavers arrived in Bocking, an event that maybe directly linked with the construction of the new fulling mill by the Abbot of Canterbury in 1303.
By the later medieval and early post-medieval period Bocking was an important cloth town, by the early sixteenth century specialising in the manufacture of bays and says. This period of prosperity is reflected by the development of Bocking Bradford Street. The woollen cloth industry went into terminal decline in the eighteenth century but the early nineteenth century saw the rise of the silk industry, with the opening of the Courtauld factory at Bocking Church Street. In 1939 the parishes of Bocking and Braintree were united to form a single Urban District, and the two towns are no longer physically separated.