Welcome to Essex's Townpage

Burnham-on-Crouch - A popular yachting centre, with boat-building yards, on a wide estuary. Famous for its oyster beds. Headquarters for the Royal Corinthian and Royal Burnham Yacht Club.

Canvey Island - This north Thames estuary island is all lower than high water level. First protected in the early 17th century by Dutch engineers, the island was extensively settled in the 1930s with a large community of bungalows and holiday chalets, but there was serious flooding in 1953 with 58 lives lost. It is now ringed with modern flood protection walls.

Chelmsford - Chelmsford town guide.

Chipping Ongar - 17th century houses can be seen along the old market place of Ongar ('chipping' meant market). There are the remains of the mound of a Norman castle and the parish church is clearly Norman. Nearby, at Greensted-juxta-Ongar is a real treasure: Britain's oldest wooden church from the 9th century.

Colchester - Colchester town guide.

Frinton-On-Sea - Between Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze. Developed as a seaside resort in the 1890s, Frinton is unique among such resorts in not having a pub. Fine sandy beach and famous golf course.

Harwich - Sixteen miles east of Colchester. An ancient and picturesque port where the Stour and Orwell estuary meet. Where Queen Isabella landed in 1126 and Frobisher embarked in 1578 and Edward III set out to defeat the French in 1340. Now one of the main ports for the Continent.

Ingatestone - Attractive village which has been bypassed by the A12 between Brentwood and Chelmsford. The church has a fine tower and monuments to the Petre family who owned Ingatestone hall in Tudor times and still do today. The hall is opened to the public.

Leigh-On-Sea - Residential seaside twon which began as a fishing and smuggling village. Saw the beginning of the reaside resort which extending eastwards became Southend-on-Sea, to which Leigh-on-Sea is now a continuation. Nearby attractions is Hadleigh Castle Country Park.

Manningtree - A once busy port at the head of the Stour estuarysome eight miles upstream from Harwich. An annual regatta of flat-bottomed punts is held here. The port was famous for its sailing barges. Neighbouring Mistley on the Stour continues to trade sucessfully as a port. It was the subject of an unsuccesful attempt to create a spa in the 18th century.

Rayleigh - An old Essex market town with remains of a Norman Castle in the care of the National Trust. It also has a restored windmill complete with sails. The town expanded in the 1930s and is closely joined to neighbouring Southend-on-Sea.

Rochford - North of Southend-on-Sea. The small pretty market town is at the head of the tidal River Roach. Lanes (and a footpath walk) lead out to isolated Paglesham Eastend with views across the Roach to Foulness Island.

Saffron Walden - The town name of Saffron Walden celebrates the towns success and specialisation in the growing of the rare and precious saffron crocus in Autumn to provide yellow colouring for textiles, a cooking ingredient and medicines; a source of local wealth for 400 years. This quintessential town has been dubbed the most attractive town in Essex and is characterised by narrow streets, hidden courtyards, historical buildings and medieval street pattern. Historical buildings of interest include the remains of 12th century Walden Castle built by the town's people after the invasion of William of Normandy, and the Crown keys Inn and Rose and Crown commonly associated with Shakespeare are equally attractive. On the outskirts of the town is Audley End, a magnificent 17th century mansion and one of the local commons has a maze.

Saffron Walden is a residential haven for London commuters who gain access to the City via the M25. Another major town in the area is Cambridge.

If you would like more information about Saffron Walden, wh not visit the Essex County Council website.

Stansted - Properly Stansted Mountfitchett, this village has an interesting church of Norman origin. It has a Norman castle which has been restored, and a largely complete windmill. Stanstead Airport, London's third airport, is to the south.

Tilbury - Henry VIII built a fort on the Tilbury marshes opposite Gravesend, guarding the estuary of the Thames. Here Elizabeth raised and rallied her army when the Armada was gathering. In 1667 the Dutch invaded here and a massive fort was laid out in the French style in 1670. The huge docks were built first in the 1880s. Their successful operation only came with the establishment of the Port of London. The dock's position, depth and ability to handle large ships are ideal for handling container traffic.

Waltham Abbey - Small town north of Epping Forest (and north of the M25 where it crosses the Lee Valley). In the Abbey King Harold was buried. He had rebuilt it from an even older one. Henry II again rebuilt the Abbey after his murder of Thomas a Becket. The Church and what else remains from the destruction of the Reformation are considered the equal of Durham Cathedral. There is a fine local museum on the Epping Forest district.

Walton-on-the-Naze - Neighbour of Frinton, a pleasant bracing seaside resort fifteen miles east of Colchester with fine sands, and a long pier with a tramway. Fossil-rich cliffs and nature reserve on Naze headland and marshes behind the resort. Walton developed from the early 19th century. Maritime museum in old lifeboat station. Yachting in the backwater.

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