According to Percy H Reaney (1890-1968) in his Place Names of Essex (Cambridge, 1935), the earliest reference to the farming village of Mundon is in the Domesday survey of 1085-86.

There it is referred to as Munduna – a possible corruption from the earlier, Anglo-Saxon ‘Munda’s Hill’.

Apart from that we know nothing about Munda, most probably the area’s very first settler.

Just prior to the Norman Conquest, however, Godwine, a thegn of King Harold, held the manor of Mundon, but lost it to William I’s powerful steward, Eudo Dapifer, who died in 1120 and lies buried somewhere on the site of St John’s Abbey, in Colchester.

The people that came after have also left their mark on the village in different ways – in the written archive and otherwise.

Residents of the 14th century, John de Lymborne, Richard Gerland and John Mulet, are still remembered, all these years on, through Limbourne Park, Garland’s and Molletts farms.

More than two centuries later, around 1562, Anthony Sparrowe gave us Sparrow Hall and generations of locals like him have left us clues to their former homes.

Copkitchen’s Farm, ‘the peaked kitchen’, first appears in 1426.

Iltney goes back to that Domesday period – ‘Elta’s low-lying land’, whoever he was. (Iltney later became part of Dr Thomas Plume’s charities).

Then there is ‘bramble-enclosure’, Bramble Hall; locations such as The Spring, originally spring corner copse, vicarshotte (1585 – Vicarage Lane) and not forgetting timber-framed White House Farm (or Manor), with its roots in the late 15th century.

In 1832, the then owner, John Marriage, had a private canal dug – linking the River Blackwater (at Southey Creek) with ‘White House’, a distance of about 1.8km.

The course of that navigation can still be traced and parts of the old wooden piling and lock basin brickwork survive to this day.

It must have been a massive undertaking and would have required a substantial workforce to dig out the sticky marsh mud and shore up the shifting banks.

One can imagine the navvies making their way into the village centre after a hard day’s graft and calling in at the White Horse for a well-deserved pint or two.

John Deeks would have been behind the bar to serve them then – part of a heritage of landlords dating back to 1788.

The evils of drink doubtless featured in some of the hell-fire sermons echoing around the walls of St Mary’s.

Now officially redundant, this unique, quirky parish church is made up of a real hotchpotch of architectural styles from different periods.

The timber tower is hardly higher than the nave roof.

There is a 14th-century north window, a blocked archway to the south that must be early 16th century, an 18th-century chancel and a Jacobean porch, which would have been a costly addition to such a humble building.

Go inside and you cannot fail to be fascinated by the basic interior – the remarkable aisled belfry, wall paintings of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and other texts, along with a rural attempt at an optical illusion of drawn curtains above the east window.

Then there are the dark rows of surviving 18th-century box pews.

It was in these pews that the forefathers of Mundon reflected on their lives and the inevitable destiny which awaited them and all of us.

Today, 69 of them are remembered outside in the churchyard.

Among them are an Essex Yeomanry major, a number of farmers, clergymen and many more besides.

Names crop up time and time again – the Burchells, Gentrys, Jarvises, Newmans, the Powells (who seem to have died tragically young and in far-flung places), Sewells and Solleys.

Even the landlord, John Deeks, is there (died 1858), along with his Yorkshire wife, Elizabeth (1875), and one of their sons, Henry (1871).

On the wall of the chancel is a memorial stone to the vicar, William Welby-Pryer BD, who was “called home” on September 29, 1927.

His monument was erected as “a tribute of loving gratitude to his life and work” by “old friends and parishioners”.

As a clergyman there are the inevitable references to the Bible, including 1 Thessalonians 5-10.

There are a lovely couple of lines at 6-7 which read: “So then, let us not sleep as the others do, but let us remain awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get drunk, get drunk at night”.

I wonder what John Deeks would have made of that?

Having spent time at St Mary’s, I followed the well-trodden route through the ancient woodland of the Furze and then crossed the fields to the door of the White Horse.

On the way I thought about the second piece of scripture included on Rev Pryer’s stone – Acts 27:23: “Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me.”

And so I imagined that the ghosts of vicar Pryer and landlord Deeks were with me that day, along with all of those people from the past.

The Mighty Oak pint went down well and, as it wasn’t night and as I was far from drunk, it was time to travel the three miles home to Maldon and reflect on the wonderful human ancestry of Mundon – the village whose 4,295 acres were described in 1887 as standing “near the head of a creek of the Blackwater”.

Amen to that.