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Visit Essex June Newsletter - quirky traditions and facts you didn't know about Essex!

Grayson Perry's house for Essex

Summer is here at last!


The image above is the house designed by the Essex born (Chelmsford), artist and sculptor Grayson Perry (best known for his vases and cross-dressing), who has definitely left his mark on the Essex countryside with his quirky "Julie's House" at Wrabness - you can view the house if you travel by train to Wrabness station and take the footbpath to the right - as well as seeing Grayson's house (available to rent), you will also get fantastic views down to the little-known Wrabness beach. Take a look at Radical Essex - a campaign being run to showcase Essex's radicalism through thought, lifestyle politics and architecture. 


Essex also indulges its visitors and celebrities in traditions and customs such as the annual Colchester Oyster Feast and The Dunmow Flitch trials, which will be held on 6 July (the first for four years!). Find more information about this, and quirky facts you didn't know about  Essex below.


We love to hear your stories about your experiences in the county, especially if they have inspired and amazed you, as well as brought back nostalgic memories - please do share them with us on our facebook page or Twitter @VisitEssex - images would be great too. 


If, whilst on your travels through Essex, you come across a favourite "hidden gem", then you can enter a competition run by Pork Farms Ltd who are running a national campaign to find the Top 3 Hidden Gems in the UK - submit your entry and if you are a lucky winner you will win a weekend away plus your own gem!  Submit your entry here.   It would be great to see a "hidden gem" from Essex in the Top 3! 


We have "new" things happening countywide all the time, so don't miss the oppurtunity to visit or take part.  Further information below on a couple of newbies.


In the meantime, enjoy the Essex sunshine!


The Visit Essex Team 

Dunmow flitch trials

The Dunmow Flitch Trials

Its first recorded history was more than 900 years ago and it must certainly hold the title as one of the strangest traditions in the UK today. Like the Olympics, it only happens every four years, but it returns this summer - on 9 July 2016.

How it all began is shrouded in the mists of time now, but the most popularly held belief is that in 1104, at the Augustinian Priory of Little Dunmow, Lord of the Manor Reginald Fitzwalter and his wife dressed themselves as humble folk and begged blessing of the Prior a year and a day after their marriage. The Prior, impressed by their devotion, bestowed upon them a Flitch of Bacon. Upon revealing his true identity, Fitzwalter gave his land to the priory on the condition a flitch should be awarded to any couple who could claim they were similarly devoted.

However, it was not until 1445 that the winners of the flitch were officially recorded. The earliest details we have of a successful claimant to the Dunmow Flitch are of the victorious Richard Wright, who travelled all the way from Norwich, to try his marital harmony and bring home the bacon. The Wrights’ success is recorded in the Priory of Little Dunmow documents, which are now held by the British Museum.

Following the end of World War Two, the trials have been held every four years in Great Dunmow, during a leap year.

The presiding "court" is held in a marquee erected on Talberds Ley especially for the occasion and couples (claimants) married for at least a year and a day come from far and wide to try and claim the flitch.

Successful couples are then carried shoulder-high by bearers (humble folk) in the ancient Flitch Chair to the Market Place, where they take the oath (similar to pre-Reformation marriage vows) kneeling on pointed stones. Unsuccessful couples have to walk behind the empty chair to the Market Place and are consoled with a prize of gammon.

With each trial comes amusement, entertainment, renewed community spirit and another piece of history in a beautiful and prosperous town. For further details here.

Quirky Essex facts

We have the longest, the tallest, the largest and the smallest in Essex! We're talking about Southend Pier - the longest pleasure pier in the World, Layer Marney Tower - the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the UK, the largest village green in the UK - Great Bentley, and the smallest town - Manningtree. Essex is many things to many people, but everybody has at least heard of it - if not only for its TOWIE roots! Take a look at further facts about this fabulous county - some of them might surprise you!

Southend Pier
Cressing Temple Barns

Congratulations are in order!

Both Myddleton House Gardens (six acres!) in the Lee Valley and Cressing Temple Barns nr  Braintree (among the oldest timber barns and few surviving Templar buildings in England), have scooped the TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence.

TripAdvisor® award Certificates of Excellence to recognise and celebrate hospitality businesses located all over the World, who have consistently delivered a quality customer experience and had excellent reviews on their website.

New beginnings...

Epping Forest District Museum have had a total refurbishment, The Barns at Barleylands Farm and Craft Village are now a brand new Wilkin & Sons tearoom and the Essex Wildlife Trust have a brand new Visitor Centre, The Naze, Walton.

The Barns tearoom Barleylands Farm and Craft village
East Anglian Railway Museum

Treat Dad on his special day - 19th June

Father's Day events throughout the county to suit all the family - enjoy a slap-up meal at Wivenhoe House, a steam day at Epping Ongar Railway or the East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappel. Essex Summer of Art also have some great events and trails, on-going until the end of October 2016. View all Essex-wide events here.

2FOR1 Twice the Fun!

Great offers at attractions, restaurants and accommodation throughout the county - what are you waiting for? Download your money-saving vouchers here.  

Layer Marney Tower
Essex Mums
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