Maldon St. Mary

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

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'Maldon St. Mary', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 175-177. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]

In this section

63. MALDON ST. MARY. (H.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)liv. N.W. (b)liv. N.E.)

St. Mary's is the eastermost of the three parishes of Maldon. The church and the Swan Hotel are the principal monuments.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands at the E. end of the town. The walls are of flint-rubble, except the chancel and the upper part of the tower which are of red brick; the dressings are of limestone and the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built in the first half of the 12th century, and the responds of a chancel or tower-arch of the same date remain outside the existing chancel-arch. Early in the 14th century the chancel probably fell and the chancel-arch was built; at the same time the West Tower was added. Early in the 15th century the North Porch was built. Probably in the 16th century the tower-arch was blocked; possibly because the tower had become ruinous, c. 1628, the tower was repaired and the top stage re-built. The Chancel was re-built probably early in the 19th century, but the large E. buttresses may incorporate the core of the earlier side walls; the South Aisle and Organ Chamber are modern and the chancel-arch has been re-built.

The church is interesting from the remains of an unusually large 12th-century nave and from the early 17th-century upper stage to the tower.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel is modern but the chancel-arch incorporates some moulded 14th-century voussoirs and a few stones in the responds.

The Nave (66 ft. by 24¾ ft.) has in the E. wall remains of the responds of an unusually wide and high 12th-century arch; on the N. side it projects slightly from the wall and has a chamfered impost and the springers of the arch; on the S. side only the impost is visible. In the N. wall are three windows: the eastermost is of early 16th-century date, much restored, and of three cinque-foiled lights in a square head; the 15th-century second window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the westermost window is a single round-headed light, probably of the 12th century but all modern externally; E. of the eastermost window is the early 16th-century rood-loft staircase; the lower doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head; the upper doorway has a segmental head; in the N. wall of the staircase is a blocked window with a shouldered head; between the second and third windows in the N. wall is the early 14th-century S. doorway, partly restored, and with jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders with a label of 12th-century billet ornament re-used. The S. arcade is modern.

The West Tower (17½ ft. square) is of two stages, the lower of the 14th century and the upper of c. 1623. The lower stage has a string-course of re-used 12th-century billet ornament. The upper stage has clasping pilasters at the angles and a crow-stepped parapet with the moulded bases of pinnacles, all of brick. In the E. wall is a doorway, probably of the 16th century, and above it are remains of the splays and segmental head of a window, probably inserted when the tower-arch was blocked; straight joints on the inside face of the wall mark the responds of the former tower-arch and the line of the two-centred arch is also visible. In the N. wall is a single light 14th-century window with a two-centred head, moulded label and defaced stops. In the S. wall is a similar window but with the four-centred head re-built with 17th-century brick. The early 14th-century W. doorway has a moulded two-centred arch carved with foliage and a moulded label; the moulded jambs have each an attached shaft with a carved capital; above the doorway are traces of the two-centred head of a window now destroyed. The ground stage has a moulded internal string-course of the 14th century stopping against the E. wall on the N. side with a beast-head stop. The bell-chamber has in each wall an early 17th-century window with a four-centred head and moulded label; it is now of one light but has remains of former tracery; lower down in the E. wall is a small 17th-century window of two four-centred lights.

The North Porch is of the 15th century and has an outer archway of two chamfered orders, the outer returned on to the responds at the springing level; flanking it are two windows each of one trefoiled light. The E. wall has a blocked window.

The Roof of the N. porch has two 15th-century moulded tie-beams.

Fittings—Bells: six, 4th by Miles Graye, 1636. Door: In N. doorway panelled and with moulded muntins and oak lock, probably early 18th-century. Communion Rails: with square posts, turned and twisted balusters and moulded rails, early 18th-century. Communion Table: In vestry—small, with turned legs and shaped brackets, probably late 17th-century. Font: octagonal, moulded and reeded bowl, late 17th or early 18th-century, crude tapering stem. Floor-slab: In nave—to Robert Jennings, 1686. Indents: In nave—(1) of figure with incised marginal inscription to [John Fenne], merchant, of the Staple of Calais, 1486; (2) fragment with groups of children and two shields; (3) fragment with part of figures of man and wife, Trinity and marginal inscription, late 15th-century. Niches: In nave—on wall, large and shallow, with rough ogee head, plastered and with remains of colouring, 14th or 15th-century; immediately E. of it small niche with round head, possibly for lamp; W. of middle window niche with rough round head. Painting: In nave—over W. doorway, remains of red paint, mediæval. Tiles: in rood-loft staircase, slip-tiles, one with shield of arms reversed, three fleurs-de-lis quartering a lion impaling bendy of eight pieces.



Monuments (2–18).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. Several of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good.

High Street, N. side:—(Plate p. 228)

a(2). Swan Hotel, 620 yards W.N.W. of the church, was built probably late in the 15th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The Hall was probably divided subsequently into two storeys and the front is mainly modern. Inside the building the middle room has an original moulded ceiling-beam above the former 'screen,' and at its S. end are indications of a former projecting upper storey to the E. wing. In the N. wall is an original doorway with a four-centred head. In the E. wing is a passage representing the former 'screens' and in the E. wall are two blocked doorways with four-centred heads and probably not in situ. The W. wing has also an original doorway. On the first floor of the main block the original roof is exposed and has at each end double collar-beams with a king-post standing on the lower of the two and supporting a central purlin. The E. wing has original tie-beams with braces and one of the tiebeams is moulded. There is also an original doorway with a four-centred head. The W. wing has original chamfered tie-beams and wall-posts.

a(3). House and shops (Nos. 101 and 103), 80 yards E.S.E. of (2), was built probably in the first half of the 16th century. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam and a 17th-century door. On the first floor is a cambered tie-beam with shaped wall-posts and one curved brace. At the back of the house is a late 17th-century building, formerly a cottage.

a(4). Rose and Crown Hotel, 20 yards E.S.E. of (3), was built early in the 16th century, but has been much altered and refronted with modern brick. Inside the building one room has original moulded ceiling-beams. On the first floor is an original cambered and hollow-chamfered tie-beam with curved brackets. Cambered tie-beams are visible in some of the other rooms.

a(5). House, with four shops (Nos. 129 and 131), 65 yards E.S.E. of (4), was built probably early in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the W. end. Inside the building one room has original hollow-chamfered ceiling-beams. On the first floor parts of the original roof construction are visible.

a(6). House, now three tenements (Nos. 143–147), 80 yards E.S.E. of (5), has cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The upper storey formerly projected at the front end of these wings.

a(7). House, now two tenements (No. 165), 50 yards S.E. of (6).

S. side

a(8). House and three shops (Nos. 80, 82 and 84), 25 yards W. of (2), is of half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. The front is modern. Inside the building two of the tenements have some original panelling.

a(9). House and shop (No. 86), E. of (8), was built late in the 16th century and has a late 17th-century wing at the back. The upper storey projects and is gabled at the W. front and has moulded brackets and enriched barge-boards. (Plate, p. 228).

a(10). House and shop (Nos. 94 and 96), 10 yards E.S.E. of (9), was built in the 16th century. The upper storey projects on the N. front. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.

a(11). House, now part of Cinema Hall, 35 yards E.S.E. of (10). The entrance hall of the Cinema is the only ancient portion now remaining.

a(12). House, at the S.E. corner of Wantz Road, 130 yards E.S.E. of (11), was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The W. wing was extended towards the S. in the 17th century and the front towards the street is modern. Inside the building two rooms have original moulded ceiling-beams and a considerable amount of linen-fold panelling with a carved frieze of grotesque figures supporting shields, some with a boar charged with a molet and others with a pierced molet with the initials I.C. The roof of the E. wing has original king-post construction.

a(13). House, now three tenements (Nos. 140, 142 and 144), 90 yards S.E. of (12), was built in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The E. wing was extended late in the 17th century. The gable on the E. wing has early 17th-century moulded barge-boards and the central chimney-stack is cruciform on plan and set diagonally. Inside the building the E. wing has original cambered tie-beams.

a(14). House, two tenements (Nos. 150 and 152), 30 yards S.E. of (13), has a modern front of brick. A door in the passage is of moulded battens and inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.

a(15). House and shop (Nos. 162 and 164), 30 yards S.E. of (14), is of late 16th or early 17th-century date. The upper storey projects in front and the original central chimney-stack has two conjoined diagonal shafts. Inside the building the staircase has original flat and wavy balusters.

a(16). Ship and Anchor Inn, 80 yards S.E. of (15), has been mostly re-built.

a(17). House, three tenements, on the N. side of Church Street, 50 yards N.W. of the church.

a(18). House, 30 yards E. of (17), was built probably in the 16th century.


b(19). Mound, probably tumulus, on the N. side of Northey Island, about 1½ m. E. of the church, is about 45 ft. in diameter.


b(20). Mound, probably tumulus, near S.E. corner of Northey Island and about ¾ m. S.E. of (19).

Condition—Fairly good.