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|Buildings and fortifications
Mention has already been made of the Moothall
which, like All Saints' church, was
associated with the marketplace the
town centre, if not geographically then in terms of the essence of a
town. Another prominent building on one side of the marketplace was the
Saracen's Head, a tavern from which, by the 1440s, the borough was
receiving 40s. for its annual lease. By 1413
Robert Darcy had acquired, or was
renting from the borough, a tenement said to be in the middle of the
market. Later in life, however, he acquired a large piece of property
facing onto the High Street just outside the marketplace, immediately to
the east of the church, and began building a more impressive residence
suitable to his status in the town. It is not certain if this was ever
completed, before he died, but a tower from it (an addition later in
the fifteenth century) still stands and in the late sixteenth century it
superseded the medieval Moothall as the
of borough government.
No walls were ever built around Maldon. The borough was not wealthy
enough to afford them, nor strategically important enough to warrant them.
We do hear of the Bishop's Castle Field, in St. Mary's parish west of the
Hythe; whether there was indeed any kind of fortification there is
unknown, but this was one of the properties the Bishop specifically
excluded from his grant of 1403.
Where we find other towns struggling with the costs of wall building
and maintenance, Maldon's preoccupation was with the bridges across the
Chelmer and Blackwater connecting the town and Heybridge, which were
susceptible to damage from tidal flooding. In 1388 the king granted, to
assist with the costs of bridge repair, that for three years the town not
be required to send representatives to
parliament a potential savings in wages of 2s. per day per
person and that it be allowed to collect a special toll (pontage).
The following election day, the townsmen appointed a committee of 14 of
their leading members to oversee the project. The parliamentary exemption
was renewed in 1392 for seven more years and repeated in 1407 for an equal
period; in fact, however, we know that the town sent representatives to
most parliaments within those periods it was not in the best interest
of the town to dissociate itself with an institution making decisions that
could affect borough economies but at least they had the option.
Repair and maintenance of the marketplace, causeways, and Moothall, as
well as other properties acquired by the borough, were likewise items
of expenditure in the budget.
|Created: August 29, 1998.
Last update: November 11, 2002
Stephen Alsford, 1998-2003