Essex has always been influenced by various European cultures, a particular early example being Colchesters Roman remains. The town wall, which surrounds much of the centre for 1.5 miles, is the oldest of its kind in Britain whereas the foundations of the large Temple of Claudius can still be seen below the castle. Roman settlements were also found beneath towns like Chelmsford, Great Dunmow, Braintree and the Romano-British town at Heybridge, Maldon.
When the Roman army departed, Saxon raiding groups from the German areas of Europe became common and ended up settling in the fertile Essex countryside. A famous battle was then fought at Maldon between Vikings and Saxons and was remembered in a rare piece of Saxon epic poetry.
There wasnt much left of their influence in the county until, in 2003, archaeologists discovered an undisturbed 7th century chamber grave below a mound while working on the widening of a road in Southend-on-Sea. The discovery was described as the most spectacular discovery of its kind made during the past 60 years. There were several clues of Saxon burials but finding something like that was never expected. The apparently fine preservation of the Prittlewell Chamber Tomb has led to obvious comparisons with the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial as well as several other graves. The various artefacts found indicated that Prittlewell was a tomb of one of the Kings of Essex and the finding of golden foil crosses shows that the inhabitant may have been an early Christian.
In Essex the results of the Norman invasion are still evident, such as the rebuilt castles, churches, development of towns and protected hunting forests. Examples of the stunning Norman castles are based in Hedingham, home of the de Vere family Earls of Oxford, and Colchester, which vast keep is the biggest in Europe. If you want to find out about life in the early castles be sure to visit Mountfitchet Castle.
There is also Waltham Abbey on the countrys far western boundary, which has the most gorgeous example of Norman church architecture in the county. It also hosts the burial place of King Harold, whose claim to the English throne ended at the Battle of Hastings. Harwich, which was originally created as a trading port by the 13th century Earls of Norfolk, became a key link with the continent. It exported cloth from local weavers which ended up being the main source of the towns production.
After the cloth industry suffered a decline, it was then revived in the 16th century by Flemish weavers who were escaping persecution by the Low Countries, travelling via Harwich to get there. If youd like to find out more information about the history of Essex you can visit the Essex Record Office. Not only do they welcome ancestral tourists, but also conference centre clients and external users who are able to make use of their specialist and technical facilities.
With such a historic past, Essex is an ideal place for holding an event, whether thats in the stunning grounds of Audley End or Chelmsford city. Its worth using a manager to get things in place too and decent catering staff will ensure you have good fridge hire in Essex too.
The Office is also home to Essex County Councils county-wide public archive service, which is responsible for preserving and making accessible the documentary heritage of Essex.