History of Maldon URC

The first record of a building on this site was in 1696 when a piece of land at the top of Market Hill was acquired by the Revd Joseph Billio, the first minister, and a “Meeting House” accommodating 400 was built for the Protestant Dissenters of the town. Such was the enthusiasm and fervour of Biliio’s preaching that the phrase “like Billio” passed into the English language. A portrait of him hangs in the church vestry.

By 1800 the original building was found to be unsafe and was demolished, to be replaced by the present church. This building was enlarged throughout the century as the church continued to flourish, acquiring its present appearance in 1878 with the addition of the pillared portico, By this time it was known as the Congregational Church.

The building on the left, forward of the church, is the old British School building erected in 1843. The deep grooves in the brickwork either side of the entrance door were caused by the pupils sharpening their slate pencils. The Lecture Hall, also part of the British Schools until their closure in 1911, occupied the adjacent car park and was used by the church and local organisations until its demolition in 1987. The monuments in the graveyard to the north and east of the church indicate the close links between business and non-conformity in Maldon during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The congregation which meets for worship in the church today is know as the United Reformed Church, a result of the uniting in 1972 of the Congregational and Presbyterian churches in England and Wales.

In 1999 the decision was taken by church members to refurbish the interior of the building by removing the Victorian pulpit and downstairs pews, and adding a kitchen, toilet and enlarged entrance area. The work was completed in 2000 and includes new heating, a carpeted floor and sophisticated sound and video systems. These now provide a comfortable and welcoming building, much in demand for concerts as well as regular worship.

Click here to read more about the history of Maldon United Reformed Church.

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