Kelsale and Carlton were formerly separate parishes that became united civilly on 25 March 1885 under the Divided Parishes Act.
The Parishes lie about one mile north of Saxmundham and straddle the old A12 trunk road, with part extending west of the Saxmundham By-Pass that is the new A12. Kelsale-cum-Carlton is roughly mid-way between Ipswich and Lowestoft and about 100 miles from London.
Kelsale-cum-Carlton is a large Parish of rolling estate clay lands notable for its fragmented deciduous woodland, extensive hedgerow network and winding often sunken lanes, and undulating landscape. A number of buildings in the village have links with the Arts & Crafts movement with structures by Norman Shaw and Edward Prior