Far from being a moot point in Maldon’s history, The Moot Hall is a building with one of the most prime locations in town, noticeable from a distance on the rest of the High Street thanks to its protruding clock face, and the fact that it has been there for almost 600 years, making it the ‘oldest secular decorated brick building’ in all of the UK, and carrying a ‘Grade I’ historical building protection listing.
Claimed to have been built in 1420, the hall was made as an extension to an existing timber house on the commission of Maldon’s long-standing MP and royal legal advisor Sir Robert D’arcy. In the 16th century, though, his descendants sold the hall, amongst their other holdings in Maldon, to fund other interests, the town taking over the rights to the hall and its tower in 1576, purchased for a total of £55.
In the four-and-a-half centuries that have followed, The Moot Hall (taking its name from the Saxon word for ‘point of assembly’ or ‘debate’) has taken on multiple roles for Maldon including town hall, courthouse, council chamber, prison, police station, public meeting place, armoury, and charter house under its current name, with a present role serving as a social history centre and events location.
Having had a long history that features ‘2 or 3’ restorations from a state of dereliction, and clearly serving many functions inbetween, the Moot Hall is a key part of the High Street and overall story of Maldon, so when will the next major chapter be written?