The village name in the Domesday Book of 1086 is Watesfelda, derived from the Old English meaning "Wastel’s clearing". It is situated in the ancient hundred of Blackbourn. Its medieval church is dedicated to St. Margaret.
Due to the abundant source of mica clay the village has a traditional of pottery making going back to the Bronze Age and there is still a commercial pottery called Watsons which has a factory shop open to the public. A Romano-British or Anglo-Saxon cemetery was discovered in 1934.
A post-Medieval post mill stood near Manning's Lane; it was demolished circa 1965.