History of Maldon

Maldon  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
River at Beeliegh, Maldon, 1901
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Maldon >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

Part 2. Continues Part 1 >>.

MANORS, etc. - The custom of Borough English, by which the youngest son succeeds to the copyhold estates of his father, prevails here.

The Corporation are lords of the borough or town, part of the manor of Great Maldon, but there is another Manor of Great Maldon, in the suburbs, united to the manors of Little Maldon and Beleigh, now held by Mrs. E. Baker, as heiress of the Shuttleworth family.

She is wife of Dr. Baker, of MALDON HALL, a large and elegant mansion, delightfully situated in the midst of well-wooded pleasure grounds, half a mile South West of the town. The ancient hall was surrounded by two moats, which are still almost entire.

Near the confluence of the Chelmer and Blackwater, about a mile west, of the town, are some remains of BELEIGH ABBBY, or Bileigh Abbey, founded in 1180, by Robert de Mantel, for canons of the Premonstratensian order, brought here from Great Parndon. Their possessions were afterwards greatly increased by subsequent benefactor. On its suppression it had nine canons, and its yearly revenue was valued at £196.6s.5d.

It was granted with the manor in 1540, to John Gate it afterwards passed to the Marche, Fraucke, Bludworth, and other families, and was purchased of Dr. Fortescue, by Abraham Shuttleworth Esq, in 1777. Some parts of the monastic buildings are still standing and form part of the house and out buildings of a market gardener.

The refectory, now a kitchen, has a fine vaulted roof, springing from beautiful pillars of Purbeck marble. The canopy of a once magnificent, tomb is now used as a mantlepiece. The chapel adjoining the kitchen, is a handsome though small apartment, with a limestone roof and grained arches, supported by three slender Purbeck columns. The room over it, formerly a dormitory, is now dismantled; but the large open wood roof remains.

Hidden treasures, stone coffins, human skeletons, old coins, etc. have often been found here. Many coins found since 1818, are now in the possession of Dr. Baker. In the chapel was buried Henry Bourchier, Earl of Eu and Essex, who died in 1483.

At the foot of the hill, close to the river is the Abbey Mill, now one of the largest steam and water corn rooms in the county, occupied by Mr. Joseph Ward. At the Friars, now the seat of A.R. Prior, Esq., on the south side of town, was a small Carmelite Priory, founded in 1292, by Richard Gravesend, Bishop of London; and Richard Isleham, a priest.

Several eminent scholars are mentioned by Bale and others, as having been inmates of this priory. It was granted to William Harris, in 1537, at the "ferm-rent of eight-pence", and afterwards passed to the Dicke, Mildmay, Richmond, Cook, and other families,

At the SPITAL, in St. Peter's parish, was a Leper's Hospital, dedicated to St, Giles, and founded by one of the early kings of England. The ruins of it were converted into a barn many years ago, and were found to consist of stone with a mixture of Roman bricks. The Spital farm now belongs to Joseph Pattison, Esq.

The manor of Jenkin Maldon is mostly in Hazeleigh parish. The grazing farm, called Sayesr, or Souhouse, belongs to Abraham Johnson, Esq., as also does Northey Island, in the Blackwater, a little below the town.

Mr. Labouchere, Mr. W. Hutley, the Rev. Robert Eden, Mr. Buygrave, the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, and many smaller owners have estates in the three parishes.

Hillside, Maldon © Copyright Footstepsphotos 2006. http://www.footstepsphotos.co.uk/index.html
Hillside (former workhouse), Maldon, c.1905
Low resolution copy courtesy of Footsteps' Shop on Ebay. Quality postcards of Essex.

ALL SAINTS CHURCH is a large and ancient fabric in the highest part of the town, and consists of a nave, north and south aisles, and a chancel, with a singular triangular tower, containing six bells, and crowned by a sexangular spire. The steeple is in the early English style, and the nave and south aisle in the decorated style, with very fine windows, all different, and one being a copy of a window at Melrose Abbey; but on the north side are some wooden-framed windows, inserted in 1800.

In the south of D'Arcy Chapel, were three chantries founded by Robert D'Arcy, Esq., of Danbury, several of whose family were buried here. In this chapel is a fine marygold window, about to be restored by H.C. Coape, Esq., and filled with stained glass, in memory of his father.

Here was formerly a Guild of St.Katherine, endowed with lands and tenements, which were granted in 1548, to John Welles. the east window has been restored, and enriched with stained glass, chiefly at the expense of the vicar. On the walls are many neat monuments, and on a slab of white marble is a Latin inscription, in memory of John Vernon, a Turkey merchant, who brought to England many antiquities found among the ruins of Smyrna, and among the rest the marble for his monument. He died in 1653, aged 84.

The vicarage, with that of St. Peter's annexed it, valued in K.B. at £10, and in 1831 at £325, was augmented, about the year 1700, by the Rev. Dr. Plume, with £400, which was laid out in the purchase of 44 acres of land at Salcott and Vlrley. A.R. Prior, Esq., is the patron of the living; the Rev. J.L. Prior, M.A., is the incumbent, and the Rev. W Myall, M.A., curate. The Vicarage House is a large ancient building, which has recently been thoroughly repaired. Mr.Stephen Hewes is sexton, and Dr. Robert Dace, organist.

church - exterior
St Mary's Church, Maldon.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

ST. MARY'S CHURCH, at the east end of the town, was anciently a sea-mark, and had a beacon on the top of its massive tower, which fell down in 1628, and destroyed a great part of the church to repair which, a brief was granted by Charles I., in 1628.

It is a spacious pile, reported to have been founded by Ingelric, a Saxon nobleman, before the year 1056. The lower part of the tower strengthened by immense buttresses, is the oldest part of the present structure, and is of brick, in the Norman style. After being repaired in 1629, the tower was crowned by a small spire.

The nave, chancel and porch, have undergone many repairs; and the west entrance is a fine specimen of the decorated Gothic of the time of Edward III., but much dilapidated.

A prebendal farm, called Brick House farm, in this parish, belongs to the patrons, and is charged with the repairs of the chancel, which has a fine early English arch. The church was appropriated by Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, to the collegiate church of St. Martin's, London, and had a Guild of St. George, endowed with lands, and tenements which were granted to John Welles, at the dissolution.

The benefice is a perpetual curacy, now valued at £198, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and incumbency of the Rev. R.L. Bridge, B.A., who has neither glebe nor parsonage. The prebendal farm is tithe-free, and the rest of the parish pays tithe to the incumbent. Mr. Wade is clerk, and Mr. Moody, sexton.

ST. PETER'S CHURCH-, in the centre of the town, went to decay about two centuries ago, and fell down about 1665, except the tower, adjoining which, Dr. Plume, the great benefactor of the town, erected a handsome building, about 1704, for his free school and library, so that the whole has still the appearance of a church.

The tower is a massive pile of rough stone, embattled, and having a spiral staircase, in an octangular turret, at the north-west angle. It has a clock, and its summit commands extensive views. In the reign of Henry V., a Guild, dedicated to the Virgin Mary was found in this church, for a priest to sing mass and keep a school.

The vicarage has been consolidated with that of All Saints since the 14th century; and the great tithes of the two united parishes belong to Dr. Baker, Joseph Pattison, Esq., the Rev. Robert Eden, and other principal landowners.

Here are three Dissenting Cbapels, viz., the Friends' Meeting House, a neat building erected in 1821, and having a burial ground; a Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1824; and a large Independent Chapel, built in 1800, and enlarged with additional galleries in 1811 and l835. The latter is numerously attended, and is now under the ministry of the Rev. Robert Burls. Bible, Missionary, and other societies for tbe propagation of religious knowledge, are 1iberally supported here by all denominations, and the borough has various schools and charities for the poor.

A congregation of Baptists worship in the Cromwell Lecture Hall, a large building, erected by G.W. Digby, Esq., in 1845, and used for public meetings, lectures; etc. In this building is an Infant School.

The Grammar School, now held in the master's house (Rev. Salisbury Dunn, M.A.,) was founded in 1608, by Ralph Breeder, who left £300 to be laid out in land and tenements, for the maintenance of a schoolmaster, to be appointed by the trustees, and the bailiffs and aldermen.

The school property now consists of Pleyhill farm at Hatfield Peverell, let for £20; and two houses, etc., in High street, worth about £40 a year.

At a meeting of the mayor, aldermen, and other trustees. in 1834, it was agreed that the master should be required to teach the classics to six boys, in consideration of the endowment, but that they should pay to him £5.5s. each per annum for instruction in English, mathematics, etc. There is an exhibition of £6 per annum at Christ's College, Cambridge, for a scholar from this school, founded by Dr. Plume.

The National School in London road, is a large and handsome_building, in the Elizabethan style, recently erected at the cost of about £1500, raised by subscription, a Government grant, etc. It has room for upwards of 500 boys, girls, and infants, and a dwelling for the teachers. Before the erection of this building, the National School was held in the large rooms under Dr. Plume's Library, where it was established in 1817, and conducted in connexion with his Free School for ten poor boys. The British School, which was commenced on the Lancasterian plan, in 1817, is now held in a neat building, in the Tudor style, erected in 1843, and having room for 330 children.

Part 2. Continues Part 1 >>.

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Maldon - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Maldon - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-4.0

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