(locally /ˈmɒldən/) is a town on the Blackwater estuary
. It is the seat of the Maldon district
and starting point of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation
Maldon is twinned with the Dutch town of Cuijk. The charter between the two towns was signed in 1970 to cement the relationship.
Maldon's name comes from Mael meaning 'meeting place' and dun meaning 'hill', so translated as "meeting place on the hill". East Saxons settled the area in the fifth century and the area to the south is still known as the Dengie peninsula after the Dæningas. It became a significant Saxon port with a hythe or Quayside and artisan quarters. Evidence of imported pottery from this period has been found in archaeological digs. From 958 there was a royal mint issuing coins for the late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman kings.
It was one of the only two towns in Essex (Colchester was the other), and King Edward the Elder lived here while combating the Danish settlers who had overrun North Essex and parts of East Anglia. A Viking raid was beaten off in 924, but in another raid in 991 the defenders were defeated in the Battle of Maldon and the Vikings received tribute but apparently did not attempt to sack the town. It became the subject of the epic poem Battle of Maldon.
According to the Domesday Book there were 180 townsmen in 1086. The town still had the mint and supplied a warhorse and warship for the king's service in return for its privileges of self-government. There were strong urban traditions here with two members elected to the Commons and three guilds which hosted lavish religious plays until they were suppressed by Puritans in 1576. Then, until 1630, professional actors were invited to perform plays, which were also stopped by Puritans. From 1570 to about 1800 a rival tradition of inviting prominent clergy to visit the town also existed. In 1629 a series of grain riots took place, led by the wife of a local butcher. There are many developed youth football teams in Maldon, among them being Maldon Saints.
In the seventeenth century Thomas Plume started the Plume Library to house over 7,000 books printed between 1470 and his death in 1704; the collection has been added to at various times since 1704. The Plume Library is to be found at St. Peter's Church. Only the original Tower survives, the rest of the building having been rebuilt by Thomas Plume to house his library (on the first floor) and Maldon Grammar School (on the ground floor).
Maldon's first railway link was a branch line to Witham opened in 1846. Later a second line linked Maldon with Woodham Ferrers on the Southminster–Shenfield line. Both lines were closed in the 20th century. The nearest railway stations to Maldon are Hatfield Peverel, Witham and North Fambridge. Hatfield Peverel is the closest railway station to the north of the town, whilst North Fambridge is closest to southern parts of the town.
- In the Marvel Comics Universe, the twin superheroes Psylocke and Captain Britain were born and raised here.
- Private David Embleton won a Victoria Cross, in his army name of Frederick Corbett, in the Arabi Pasha Rebellion in Egypt on the 5th of August 1882. He was buried in an unmarked grave in London Road Cemetery, Maldon but in 2004 the regimental association provided a memorial and in 2005 the Essex Society for Family History provided another. He served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Unfortunately he forfeited his VC after committing theft in 1884.
- Maldon has been the setting for numerous television productions, including Brit-film "The Lawless Heart (2001) starring Bill Nighy, and BBC1's "Murder Game" (2003) where numerous Blackwater Estuary locations were used including Green's Flour Mill at the bottom of Market hill and Steeple Marshes.
- In 1171, a Royal Charter was issued by Henry II, to enable him use of the town's port for his own personal trading. A copy of this charter is found at Moot Hall in Maldon High Street.
- Nationally, it has been voted the 3rd best market town in the country.
- Maldon Crystal Sea Salt (a popular product in all supermarkets) is made using crystals harvested along the beds of the River Blackwater.
- Maldon was the first town in the country to have a Tesco Supermarket.
- The town holds an annual "Taxi Day" which sees mentally and physically disabled children from London driven to Maldon in London Black Cabs for a fun day of activities and a meal. The event dates back to 1952 when a London cab driver visited the Elizabeth Fry Special School in Plaistow. He wanted to do something special for the young patients he saw there. He wrote to every one of Essex's sea side towns to arrange an outing and the only town that was willing to help was Maldon, thus Taxi Day has remained a tradition ever since. The 2006 Taxi Day was held on 3 July.
- Maldon's Victorian Vicar of All Saints' Church, the Rev. Edward Russell Horwood, M.A., J.P., was vicar for a total of 51 years. He was also a Trustee of the Plume Library.
- Every year around new year's day,the town sees the charitable Maldon mud race where competitors race across the Blackwater estuary at low tide,along the bank and back through the water. In 2006 there were 180 entrants,most of whom completed the event by crawling!
- Edward Bright (1721-1750) was the "fat man of Maldon", a grocer who, at 47.5 stone (276kg) was reputed to be the fattest man in England. His coat could encompass 7 men. Etchings of a painting of him were much sought after just after his death. His chair resides in the MOOT HALL.
- Each year, on the first two Thursdays in December the town holds a special evening known as Victorian Evening which celebrates the Victorian times. Local people dress up in typical Victorian attire and run stalls selling traditional food to handmade items. On these evening's the local shops and restaurants stay open late to allow the public to shop for longer.
- Maldon possesses the driest climate for any town in the country.
- The street lights turn off at 00:00 GMT, as a trial to cut down light pollution around the country.
- The phrase "to go like Billio" has been said by some to come from Maldon. According to legend, the first minister, Joseph Billio, of Maldon congragational chapel preached with such gusto that anyone doing anything well or being advised to do something well were told "to go like Billio". In fact this is a piece of folk etymology, the phrase dating from much later than the minister.
- Maldon features in H. G. Wells' 'War of the Worlds'; it is the town from which the narrator's brother and two female compainions manage to escape across the channel.