Essex County Council Logo Unlocking Essex's Past - from Heritage Conservation at Essex County Council Unlocking Essex's Past Logo
 Home   Links   Help   Search   Feedback  EHER No. Search: GO
Home
  Monument Detail
Ready Made Searches

Display Monument

 Results List 
Monument Name Maldon - Early Medieval Settlement
SMR Number 7718
Summary Maldon is first mentioned in 913 when Edward the Elder stationed his army and fleet here.
Media
None Available
Associated Media
None Available
Description Maldon is first mentioned in 913 when Edward the Elder stationed his army and fleet here during his campaign against the Danes, while the burh at Witham was being built. In 916 he built a burh at Maldon itself which withstood a siege by East Anglian Danes in the following year. The burh's precise location is not certain but "is tentatively identified with a now almost obliterated earthwork to the west of the town centre". The alignment of London Road seems to respect two former entrances but there is no other indication of any internal arrangements. Settlement seems to have developed instead around the burh gates although a town enclosure may have been added on the burh's south side. Extra-mural arrangement seems to be a distinctive characteristic of burghal sites in Essex, being present at Witham also. Two main phases of occupation in Late Saxon times have been found in excavations opposite St Peter's church. <1> In 916 King Edward the Elder ordered a burh to be built at Maldon as part of his campaign to recover eastern England from Danish control. Although a substantial earthwork enclosure has been located on the top of Maldon hill, the dating for the enclosure is uncertain, the presumption is however that it represents the Saxon burh. Nothing is known about the internal layout and buildings in the interior of the burh. The Saxon town developed around the east gate of the burh, with a small market-place on the crest of the hill-slope. There may have been a Saxon predecessor to the medieval church of St Peter at this end of the town. From the burh gates, the main street ran eastwards down the slope to the Hythe and the Church of St Mary. There was a royal mint in Maldon, one of only three in the county, from as early as 925 AD. Maldon was one of only two boroughs in Essex in 1066, the other being Colchester. <2> <3> The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles suggest that there was already a settlement on Maldon hill in 913, and that there certainly was one by 917 when the towns-folk where besieged. The archaeological evidence shows that the Saxon town developed outside the eastern burh gates. The main street, now the High Street, led eastwards and downwards towards the Hythe. The Spital and Fambridge Roads came in from the west to join the High Street in front of the burh gate and Cromwell Hill and Market Hill roads led down to the crossing of the river at Fullbrdge. The market-place is thought to have been sited at this junction. Excavations on the High Street at the former Chequers Hotel site (PRN 14755), the former Tescos site (PRN 7725-7), and Lloyds Bank (PRN 7722-3) revealed Saxon buildings. The earliest building was a rectangular timber hall beneath the Tescos site running parallel to the street, it was dated to the tenth century. It was succeeded by a sequence of timber buildings facing on to the Saxon street frontage dating from the tenth century on both the Tescos and Lloyd Bank sites. Timber buildings dating to the eleventh century were excavated on the Chequers site. It is clear therefore that the southern side of the road was built-up in the tenth century. It is not known whether there were corresponding timber structures on the opposite side of the High Street or how far eastwards the settlement extended. St Peters Church is located immediately opposite these sites so there may well have been further settlement on the northern side. The High Street runs eastwards down to the Hythe area, where it is probable that there were quays in the Saxon period. The Church of St Mary at the Hythe (or its predecessor on the site) was late Saxon in origin. The Domesday Book <2>records that there were probably over a hundred houses in the borough of Maldon in 1066 and a hall belonging to the King. <3> The market-place is thought ton topographical grounds to have been sited on the road junction in front of the eastern burh gates, where the High Street, Spital, Fambridge and Cromwell Hill roads meet. <3>. The earliest known coin minted in Maldon dates to the reign of Athelstan (924-39) and the latest to the reign of William II (1087-1100). The coins are silver pennies. None of the known specimens have been found in Maldon, but many have been found in Scandinavia, a testament to the Viking presence in the area. The precise location of the mint is not known but it is probable that it was sited on the king's land. <3>
Monument Type(s) BURH (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
MINT (Dated 924AD to 1100AD)
TOWN (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
MARKET (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
TOWN DEFENCES (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
MANOR HOUSE (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
HARBOUR (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
CHURCH (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
ENCLOSURE (Dated 410AD to 1065AD)
Monument Class(es) DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
EARTHWORK
Period 410AD to 1065AD Early Medieval
Status Not Known
Administration Area MALDON, MALDON, ESSEX
National Grid Reference Square: TL80NE
Ref: 851070
Finds None listed
Events None listed
Sources Aerial Photo : General town AP (unknown) Dated : unknown

<1> Desc Text : Historic Towns in Essex: An Archaeological Survey (Eddy, MR with Petchey, MR) p63, 66 Dated : 1983

<2> Desc Text : Domesday Book - 32, Essex (Rumble, A) Dated : 1983

<3> Desc Text : Maldon Historic Town Assessment Report (Medlycott, Maria) Dated : 1999