I'm going to stop being sarcastic about Essex

Maldon Travel Blog

 › entry 53 of 87 › view all entries
Statue of Britnorth, or however he's spelled.

I am still stranded in Essex.  I genuinely want to be with the folks right now, but golly, I do wish they lived somewhere where there was something to do that doesn't involve shopping!  A couple of days ago I went to Lakeside, on Saturday I'll end up in Chelmsford, I'll be in Braintree on Monday, Basildon on Sunday - and there isn't a single one of those places has an art gallery or museum that isn't dedicated to the Essex regiment.  Yes, I have seen the Eagle that the Essex captured from Napolean.  No, I don't know if the officer was really called Sharpe. 

But today it was sunny, and whatever else, Maldon is pretty.

Barge, under engine power, not sail. They really are lovely under sail.
  And there are very few shops, so my pocket is a little safer there.  I always forget that Maldon is pretty, because I spent so much time as a teenager hating it here.  But it is really nice.  I still can't imagine a single reason why you would be here, but I am going to take this opportunity to bolster whatever tiny tourist industry it has anyway. 

The guy with the sword is Britnorth, I think - the world's silliest Saxon leader.  The story goes like this.  In 991AD, the Vikings invaded Maldon.  But they were trapped on a little island - you can see from the pics (once I find a phone cable) that it is pretty marshy, and it was even boggier in 991.  Now Britnorth, or whatever his name was, was an Honourable Man.  Anyone else would have let the Vikings stay on their little island and drown.  But that is not Honourable, so he let them come ashore.

An old steam puffer
  Really.  And then the Vikings beat the Saxons, conquered most of England, and stayed pretty much until the Normans showed up. 

I am not making that up, either - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Maldon

Maldon's other claim to fame is the Thames Barges - pics to follow.  These are nice sailing cargo ships, that used to go up and down the Thames (natch!), and have detachable topmasts so that they could sail under bridges, avoiding the need to hang around waiting for them to be raised, but then could be hoisted up to catch the wind above the wharves and warehouses.  These days, you can hire them for team building and stag dos and stuff.  They are very pretty, and there are even wooden shipbuilders in Maldon who can repair them.

Sorry, builders of wooden ships, not shipbuilders that are wooden.

As much resented ornamental lakes go, though, it's a very nice one

That about covers Maldon.  There are now two nice places on the high street to have coffee, Thomas Plume's Library (in an old church) which apparently was one of the first public libraries, but who knows, and a thing called the Maldon Tapestry which is a great bif embroidery made by some very dedicated ladies of Maldon to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of the Battle.  The fact that Maldon boasts that this is a tourist attraction... I promised I was going to stop doing that, didn't I?  It's quite skippable though, lets face it! 

In summary, Maldon is nicer than people make out.  If you were, say, going to a conference in Ipswich from London, and got to about Chelmsford and thought, you know, I need a coffee, maybe I will stop in this soul destroying fuel station, I would definately recommend you make the 20 minute detour to Maldon for a nice coffee in a nice coffee shop, and maybe a walk in Promenade Park. 

londonstudent says:
I agree - there are many worse ways to spend a couple of hours on a sunny summer's afternoon!
Posted on: Apr 11, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Statue of Britnorth, or however he…
Statue of Britnorth, or however h…
Barge, under engine power, not sai…
Barge, under engine power, not sa…
An old steam puffer
An old steam puffer
As much resented ornamental lakes …
As much resented ornamental lakes…
My sister made me promise me on pa…
My sister made me promise me on p…
In Continental Coffee
In Continental Coffee
Britnorth again.
Britnorth again.
COntinental coffee and the church …
COntinental coffee and the church…
Maldon High street with Thomas Plu…
Maldon High street with Thomas Pl…
Promenade park and the much resent…
Promenade park and the much resen…
I had lunch here once, and it was …
I had lunch here once, and it was…
Maldon High street again.
Maldon High street again.
Some of the barges
Some of the barges
The prom and the barges
The prom and the barges
A small sailing yacht
A small sailing yacht
The barge again
The barge again
Distant barge on horizon
Distant barge on horizon
Maldon
photo by: sarahelaine