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Essex

Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East of England region of the United Kingdom, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London and is one of the most populous counties in England.

Essex County Council is the principal local authority for much of the county, sharing functions with twelve district councils. The county town is Chelmsford. The southern Essex boroughs of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea are governed separately by unitary authorities.

It was established in antiquity and formed the eastern portion of the Kingdom of Essex. Sections of the county closer to London are part of the metropolitan green belt, which prohibits development. It is the location of the regionally significant Lakeside Shopping Centre and London Stansted Airport; and the new towns of Basildon and Harlow.

Landmarks

Over 14,000 buildings have listed status in the county, and around 1000 of those are recognised as of Grade I or II importance. The buildings range from the 7th century Saxon church of St Peter-on-the-Wall, to the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club which was the United Kingdom's entry in the "International Exhibition of Modern Architecture" held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1932.

Culture

The County's coat of arms comprises three Saxon seax knives (although looking rather more like scimitars) arranged on a red background; the three-seax device is also used as the official logo of Essex County Council having been granted as such in 1932.

The emblem was attributed to Anglo-Saxon Essex in Early Modern historiography. The earliest reference the arms of the East Saxon kings was by Richard Verstegan, the author of A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (Antwerp, 1605), claiming that "Erkenwyne king of the East-Saxons did beare for his armes, three [seaxes] argent, in a field gules".

There is no earlier evidence substantiating Verstegan's claim, which is an anachronism for the Anglo-Saxon period seeing that heraldry only evolved in the 12th century, well after the Norman conquest. John Speed in his Historie of Great Britaine (1611) follows Verstegan in his descriptions of the arms of Erkenwyne, but he qualifies the statement by adding "as some or our heralds have emblazed"

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