Maldon, an ancient and historic town lying at the head of the Blackwater Estuary, is a small market town 40 miles east of London and a short distance from the cathedral city of Chelmsford. St. Mary’s parish covers the southern and eastern part of the town. St Mary’s Church is an 11th century Grade 1 listed building with a closed churchyard.
The fishermen’s church stands above The Hythe overlooking the River Blackwater acting as a beacon to incoming shipping.
With its flint-rubble walls and impressive tower, it remains an interesting and attractive landmark in Maldon. Its iconic image has attracted artists and photographers, both amateur and professional, for years to capture its magic.
In 2000, a stained glass window was installed in the south wall of the church to commemorate the Battle of Maldon in AD 991. A statue of the defeated Saxon leader Byrhtnoth stands at the end of the Promenade over the River Blackwater, where he lost his life in an attempt to stop the Viking invasion.
St Mary’s has evolved over time and the church is open during daylight hours every day, not only for public worship, but so that our many visitors can value it as a place of prayer and contemplation – a sanctuary and haven.
There have been many changes and additions over the years and in 1992, the Octagon was added via a glazed walkway known as The Link.
One of the striking features of St Mary's, is the Millennium Window in the south aisle. This does not record the turning of the year 2000 however, but the famous Battle of Maldon in AD 991. The battle has gone down in history and legend as one of the earliest recorded on English soil and as one of the earliest examples of that peculiarly English characteristic; glorious defeat.
Having forsaken the advantage which the Saxon thane Byrthnoth held over the raiding Vikings in the interest of "fair play", Byrthnoth and his men were savagely slaughtered and the town put to waste. St Mary's is built on the site of a Saxon wooden church, which was completely razed after the battle. The epic poem tells the tale of this brave but foolhardy act.