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For many people the church in any town is an important place even if they never actually use it for its intended purpose, for it speaks of community and continuity. If you question that, see the public reaction to many places if someone has the temerity to suggest that 'their' church should be made redundant.
Why should this be? Often it has to do with the age, for the church is frequently the oldest building in the neighbourhood. It was the major meeting place for all sort of different purposes, a place of sanctuary and early warning of invasions, a market place and community hall as well as a place of worship. So often the church was the only imposing stone edifice in a locality when even the Lord of the Manor lived in a wattle and daub construction. So even if the present building on the site does not owe a great deal to the original, because all churches have evolved throughout their history, it still remains a "special place."
Historically it is a special place, but it will also have personal associations as generations have marked the significant events in their family lives here. There is seldom a time in any week, winter or summer, when someone is not seen wandering around. This church very much belongs to Maldon - her citizens in home-spun leather doublet, crinolines and tweeds, top hats and feather boas, double breasted suits and donkey jackets have knelt before its altars, slept through sermons, moaned at the choice of hymns and hymn tunes as well as beautified its fabric. Happiness, thanksgiving, sadness and tragedy have been shared here and you may wish to think about that as you wander around and consider some of the events behind the memorials.
You will see here some fine art and architecture, but above all we welcome you to a place of worship and the gathering place of God's people. It is a place of witness to the Christian Faith and all that it stands for. You will find this presented in many different ways as many generations have added to, taken away from it, repositioned or redeployed parts of its structure as the needs or tastes of the day demanded. It was their place in their time and the church has always been more about people than buildings; it is a place of refurbishment, where spiritual batteries may be recharged. It is a place of peace in the midst of many conflicts. It is the home of the people of God - as well as God' house.
So welcome to this place, let it speak to you and the particular needs you have at this time. Come again - for it may be that your needs then will be different from what they are now.
In 1215 the Lateran Council decreet that Monastic Foundations which had "appropriated" benefices, should provide resident, perpetual Vicars and assign adequate provision for their maintenance. It was soon evident that the endowments of the two parishes (All Saints and St. Peter's) were insufficient to make this provision and in 1244 the parishes were united and have remained so ever since despite all the dramatic changes in ecclesiastical structure that the following centuries were to bring. And we think that the uniting of parishes undeer one Vicar is a modern thing! Under the terms of the union All Saints was decreed to be the "mother church".
Until the 17th century services were held in both churches, when the nave and chancel of St. Peter's fell down and All Saints then provided for the needs of both parishes. St. Peter's Tower survived and remained the responsibility of All Saints Church Council until quite recently; what seems to be the church attached to it is in fact a building commissioned by Archdeacon Plume of Rochester in 1704 to provide accommodation for his library, which he had bequeathed to the town of his birth, on the upper floor and Maldon Grammar School below. The collection of books is one of the finest of its period and the Vicar of All Saints along with the Rector St. Mary's and the Head Teacher of the Grammar School (now the Plume School) continue to serve on the Library's Board of Trustees.
The Registers of both Parishes, St. Peter's dating from 1556 and All Saints from 1558 are in the custody of the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford. The Parishes were part of the Diocese of London until 1846, then Rochester until 1877, then St. Albans until 1914 and currently in the Diocese of Chelmsford. Having been in the gift of the Bishop of London, the Abbot of Beeleigh and a host of private individuals, the living has been in the gift of the Diocesan Bishop since 1903.