It was recorded in the 1078 Domesday Book as two villages, the larger being Campesia and the other Esce and was the site of the now demolished Campsey Priory, which existed as an Augustinian nunnery from 1195 to its dissolution in 1536. The associated Mill and Mill house still exist as Grade II* listed buildings.
The parish church of St John the Baptist dates from the 14th century but was much restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a grade II* listed building.
The village is served by Wickham Market railway station on the Ipswich-Lowestoft East Suffolk Line. Campsea is also notable for its salerooms, run by Abbotts Auction Rooms, where a weekly auction dating from the early 1920s is held on Mondays.