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St Mary's dates to about 1130 though it seems likely there was a church here in Saxon times.

The Saxon church was probably destroyed by the victorious Danes after the Battle of Maldon in 991AD.

If that was his laudable intent, it backfired badly, for the Danes inflicted a heavy defeat on the Saxons.

Rather than simply plundering the area, the Danes and used their victory to launch a concerted program of settlement, seizing land and making the east of England a Viking kingdom.

Most people know Maldon as the site of a famous battle between the Saxons and Danes, but actually there were two battles here.

Around 917AD the inhabitants resisted an attack by a force of invading Danes, keeping the area safe from Viking invaders for a time, but that safety was not not last.

St Mary's is known as the fisherman's church, and is older than the parish church of All Saints at the top of the hill.

There is still a meeting house on Market Hill, though Rev.

Billio would not recognise it; his building was deemed unsafe in 1800 and replaced with the current neo-classical United Reformed Church.

The Danes could only reach land via a tidal causeway joining Northey Island to the mainland, so it would seem that the Saxons had the upper hand.

What happened next is a matter of conjecture, but one version is that Brythnoth allowed the Danes to cross the causeway before giving battle, moved by chivalry.

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The burh established by Edward developed to become a full-fledged borough, or market town, a regional trading centre and a mint.

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