Essex council website Dating auburn al
The county town is Chelmsford, which is the only city in the county.
Essex occupies the eastern part of the former Kingdom of Essex, which subsequently united with the other Anglian and Saxon kingdoms to make England a single nation state.
The pattern of settlement in the county is diverse.
The Metropolitan Green Belt has effectively prevented the further sprawl of London into the county, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, originally developed to resettle Londoners following the destruction of London housing in the Second World War, since which they have been significantly developed and expanded.
At the time of the main changes around 1900, parts of Helions Bumpstead, Sturmer, Kedington and Ballingdon-with-Brundon were transferred to Suffolk; and Great Chishill, Little Chishill and Heydon were transferred to Cambridgeshire.
The name Essex originates in the Anglo-Saxon period of the Early Middle Ages and has its root in the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) name Ēastseaxe ("East Saxons"), the eastern kingdom of the Saxons who had come from the continent and settled in Britain (cf.
A small part of the southwest of the county (Sewardstone), is the only settlement outside Greater London to be covered by a postcode district of the London post town (E4).
To the north of the green belt, with the exception of major towns such as Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea the county is rural, with many small towns, villages and hamlets largely built in the traditional materials of timber and brick, with clay tile or thatched roofs.
Epping Forest also acts as a protected barrier to the further spread of London.
Because of its proximity to London and the economic magnetism which that city exerts, many of Essex's settlements, particularly those on or within short driving distance of railway stations, function as dormitory towns or villages where London workers raise their families.
Middlesex, Sussex and Wessex) during the Heptarchy.