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Northey Island from the flood bank =, looking east
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Maldon was a Saxon port and today boats, old and new, still tie up on Maldon Hythe, not far from the defences of the Saxon burh
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The Story of the Battle

The Viking force is thought to have landed in the Blackwater estuary on the coast of Essex. At the head of the estuary is the town of Maldon. After Ipswich this was a logical target for the Viking raids. It was a port and town of sufficient commercial importance to have a royal mint.

The estuary, with its various undefended islands and safe anchorages, has always represented a potential site for temporary raids and full blown invasion. 750 years after the Battle of Maldon, in the mid 18th century under Louis XV, the French would plan their invasion landing here at Maldon, though in the end this never materialised. To protect against just such a threat from Viking raiders, Maldon had been defended as a burh by Edward the Elder in 917, and so in 991 it will still have been of some strategic significance.

To counter the threat the Ealdorman Byrhtnoth, accompanied by his retainers, raised the Essex fyrd. This must have taken days to achieve, probably at news of the approach of the Viking forces or in response to the attacked on Ipswich. It is suggested that on the 10th August the English forces marched to the mainland side of the causeway facing Northey Island where it is believed that the Viking force had drawn up its boats, safe from surprise attack.


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