PLANS to create a medicinal herb garden at ancient Maldon ruins have been given the green light to be taken forward.

The project which aims to plant flowerbeds with medicinal herbs at St Giles' ruins was unveiled at a Maldon Town Council meeting last week.

It was supported by the council to be taken forward by the town clerk, the town mayor and the environment committee in collaboration with the town council and partners, such as Maldon in Bloom, to enable applications for grant funding to be made.

As part of a heritage weekend of events at St Giles in 2019, Dr Johanna Dale and Dr Antonio Sennis from UCL’s Department of History brought a much-loved pop-up exhibition about disease, medicine and hospitals in the Middle Ages.

A spokesman for Maldon Town Council said: "The town council is pleased to now be working in partnership with Dr Dale and Maldon in Bloom to design and plant up some flowerbeds with medicinal herbs to further illustrate the history of the site."

They're at very early stages in the project and options for funding it are being explored, once this is secured, the town council will be able to set a date for planting.

The ancient monument which includes buried and standing remains of St Giles’ Hospital is located on Spital Road in Maldon.

It was founded in 1164 by Henry II for the relief of leprosy in the town. During the course of the 13th and 14th centuries, with the numbers of those affected by leprosy declining, St Giles’ became a general hospital for the poor, aged and infirm.

In 1401 the hospital became a free chapel, independent of the control of the parish priest. In 1481 the hospital was conveyed to Beeleigh Abbey. With the dissolution of Beeleigh Abbey in 1538, the hospital closed and the land and hospital buildings were granted to Thomas Dyer and his wife for domestic use.

By 1763 the hospital was owned by a Lieutenant General Montolieu and was in use as a barn.

In 1899 it was described by a local historian as ruinous and dilapidated and by 1920 the roof had collapsed.

It was transferred to the Borough of Maldon in 1927, and subsequently to Maldon District Council, then transferred to the ownership of Maldon Town Council in 1988.

In 2019 to 2020 extensive renovations to the stonework was undertaken to secure the future of the ruins.