The precise date of the building of All Saints’ Church is not recorded, but that it existed in 1180, the date of the foundation of Beeleigh Abbey, is practically certain, for a Charter of Richard 1st in December 1189 exists reciting and confirming “certain grants to Beeleigh Abbey, including the Church of Blessed Peter in Maldon and the Church of All Saints’ in the same town.”
(Rev Canon I.L.Seymour, M.A. Vicar and Rural Dean 1917-1947)
All Saints' Church is built of flint and stone and is one of the most interesting churches in the county having an equilaterally triangular tower which is quite unique. The tower is surmounted by a hexagonal spire and pinnacles at the angles and is late Norman or Transition. This curious plan and the triangular tower are dificult to account for. Suggestions have been made as to the necessities of the present highway on which it abuts, also as to its being emblematic of the Trinity, but there is nothing else about the church to confirm this. The Tower is unique in being triangular and of Norman period. The little turret projecting from the belfry contains the original Sanctus bell.
The statues in the niches of the outside walls commemorate six notable men in some way associated with the history of Maldon
The single space facing west contains the beautiful carved figure of Mellitus who came over with Augustine and Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury. He was the first to bring the Gospel to heathen Essex but was driven from his diocese in 616 AD.
Over the south-west door is a representation of the real Apostle of Essex, Cedd, the Celtic monk from Lindisfarne. He was consecrated Bishop of the East Saxons in 653 and as his Cathedral was at Othona, near Bradwell, he would be a familiar figure in the 7th century Maldon.
Next to Bishop Cedd stands the martial figure of Brightnoth, here of the Battle of Maldon in 991, when the Danes defeated the Saxons. He is represented as a Christian warrior.
The fourth figure of Robert Mantell, the founder of Beeleigh Abbey in 1180 AD. He is here represented as a typical Norman squire with the legal deed of gift in one hand and a model of the abbey in the other.
The next figure is that of Sir Robert D'Arcy who was MP for the Borough of Maldon in the reign of Henry VI. He was also a lay-brother of the Order of Friars at Colchester. The south aisle is known as the D'Arcy Aisle. The D'Arcy Chapel was doubtless built by his generosity and is where members of his family were buried.
The last in the series is Dr Thomas Plume, Maldon’s greatest benefactor. To him the Church owes most of its communion plate besides a legacy for the augmentation of the living. He also erected a workhouse for the poor of the town, and founded the well known library which bears his name. He was made Vicar of Greenwich on the presentation of Richard Cromwell and afterwards became Archdeacon of Rochester. He died in 1704 leaving the whole of his fortune to charity.
WASHINGTON MEMORIAL WINDOW
This illustration shows the magnificent stained glass window unveiled at All Saints' Church, Maldon, on the 5th July, 1928, by the Official Representative of the Ambassador of the United States of America, and dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford to the memory of Laurence Washington. This Window, which can be seen in the Chancel of the D'Arcy Chapel on the South side of the Church, was the joint gift of the Citizens of Malden, Massachusetts, and the Sulgrave Institution, U.S.A., and is rightly regarded as a presentation of International interest. The suggestion of the gift emanated from the Vicar of All Saints, the Revd. Isaac L. Seymour, who, by invitation in 1924, attended the 275th Anniversary of the founding of Malden, U.S.A. The American donors expressed a desire that their gift should be an outstanding expression of friendly relations among English speaking peoples.
The Window was designed by Mr. A. K. Nicholson, of Gower Street, London, and his aim was the expression of the strong tie of brotherhood existing between the two great branches of the Anglo Saxon Race, exemplified in a measure by the old and young Maldon on either side of the Atlantic. With this object in view, three figures symbolical of the common characteristics of the Race form a nucleus on which the Window was designed. These characteristics are "Patriotism", "Freedom" and "Colonization"
"Patriotism" is represented in the centre light by the figure of St. George, the Patron Saint of the Anglo Saxon Race; "Freedom", in the right hand light by St. Joan of Arc, and "Colonization" in the left hand light by St. Nicholas, the Patron Saint of Sailors and also of those who settle in far lands.
St. Nicholas appears in full Episcopal vestments and holds in his left hand a model of the "Mayflower" St. George is in Gothic armour holding his red cross banner in one hand and his drawn sword in the other, and St. Joan of Arc holds aloft in her right hand the sword of Fierbois and in her left the embroidered banner on which is depicted Our Lord in Majesty with two attendant Angels and the word "Jesu Maria". Other lights in the Window represent the Landing of Columbus, the Lion of England, the Eagle of America, the Liberty Bell at Philadelphia, the Washington Monument at Washington, George Washington signing the Declaration of Independence, the Arms of America, the Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers and the Statue of Liberty outside New York Harbour. The tracery lights show the Coat of Arms of the County of Essex, of the Borough of Maldon, the Province of Canterbury and the Diocese of Chelmsford.
A Tablet has been placed outside and beneath the Window bearing the following inscription: “In this Churchyard was buried the Rev. Laurence Washington, Rector of Purleigh, the great great grand father of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, January 1652. This Window was erected to his Memory by the Citizens of Malden, Massachusetts, and a Committee of the Sulgrave Institution U.S.A., whose names are inscribed in a book deposited in the Archives of this Church 1928."
(Written by W.Gurney Benham F.S.A., F.R. Hist.,S for the souvenir booklet of the unveliling of the stained glass window on 5th July 1928)