Eastern Counties South Area

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Discover the wonders of Hertfordshire; England's hidden secret. From picturesque villages, to bluebell woods, canals and market towns. Although just a stone’s throw from London, Hertfordshire is steeped in history, from the county town of Hertford to the Roman City of St Albans (Verulaium).

In the small village of Perry Green on the outskirts of Much Hadam, can be found the Henry Moore Foundation. The world famous sculptor Sir Henry Moore lived and worked here, and where much of his work can still be seen.

The village of Braughing in East Herts is renowned for its sausages, produced since 1954 to a traditional family recipe by Whites Butcher’s, they make 30,000 a week.

The famous actor Sir Laurence Oliver, grew up in Letchworth Garden City, the country’s first Garden City, his father was a rector in the town and Olivier made his first professional appearance there in 1925, when he was 18.

Eleanor CrossWhen Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward 1 died in 1290, Edward had her body taken 160 miles to Westminster Abbey, erecting a cross to mark the 12 places where the cortege rested. Only three remain, including one at Waltham Cross. Waltham Cross is also the home of the Lee Valley White Water Centre, a purpose built canoe and white water rafting centre.

Hartford Connecticut in the USA was founded in 1637 by Samuel Stone who lived in the county town of Hertford. Although small as a county town, Hertford can boast of its three rivers and quaint architecture and its association with the Bluecoats School.

Ware WeirWare, famous for its Malting’s and the Great Bed of Ware, is also the last part of the Lee Valley Regional Park. This is an area of open land stretching all the way from East London to Ware along the Lee Valley.

In Hitchin, can be found Gatwards, the oldest family-run jewellers in England. It is housed in one of the town’s oldest buildings in the Market Place. In Victorian times Hitchin had a thriving industry growing lavender.

Just some historic facts about Hertfordshire.

Essex

Essex boasts 350 miles of coastline,from sandy beaches to windswept saltmarshes.

As well as being a very rural county, dotted with pretty villages and picturesque countryside, Essex has a real maritime feel.Although the resorts of Southend-on-Sea, Clacton-on-Sea, and the quieter resorts of Walton-on-the-Naze and Frinton-on-Sea offer all the traditional fun of the seaside, the Essex coastline has far more to offer the visitor.

From its most northerly point at Harwich and the estuary of the RiverStour, the coastline takes its southerly journey with finesse.

There are many hidden treasures to be found, with quiet cliff topwalks, seductive rugged coves sheltered from the weather, right through to the lengthy stretches of beautiful beaches. Less well known is the quieter side of the coast where ports steeped in heritage, such as Harwich, can be found. Maldon and nearby Mersea Island have been described as the ‘New Brittany'. You can sample famous fresher than fresh seafood in rustic family run restaurants, also world famous Colchester Oysters, whilst watching the boats bobbing in the water.

Get a sense of true maritime Essex by taking a trip on one of the many Thames Sailing Barges moored at Maldon. Alternatively, visit the coastal towns of Burnham-on-Crouch, often called the Cowes of the East, and Brightlingsea that come alive with yachts during the boating season.

A Maritime Essex tour has been created to give visitors a guide to some of the best attractions along the coast. It's an eight point route, starting at Harwich and finishing at Leigh-on-Sea. Delights on this tour include Walton-on-the-Naze, which is an early Victorian seaside resort, where you can visit the second longest pleasure pier in the country. In Frinton-on-Sea you can enjoy a stroll along the attractive seafront and take in the vistas of the great North Sea.

Both counties have good rail links to London for anybody wishing to take in some of the capitals attractions.

History of highwayman Dick Turpin

The highway man Dick Turpin, who is the logo of Eastern Counties South BCC, was born in the Essex village of Thackstead and became a legend after riding his horse Black Bess to York. He operated from around the small markettown of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire in the 1730s.

DICK TURPIN - "The Spurious Highwayman"

Dick Turpin is probably the most famous highwayman of all. Mention the name to most people, and they will tell you he was a daring and dashing highwayman who famously rode from London to York on his faithful mare, Black Bess, in less than 24 hours. However, the popular Turpin legend contains not a grain of truth. In reality, Turpin's fictitious great ride was made by 17th-century highwayman John 'Swift Nick' Nevison, who early one morning in 1676 robbed a homeward-bound sailor on the road outside Gads Hill, Kent. Deciding he needed to establish an alibi, Nevison set off on a ride that took him more than 190 miles in about 15 hours. In addition, it was only at the very end of his life, while waiting to be hanged at York racecourse, that Turpin exhibited any of the swaggering nonchalance, heroism, or derring-do usually attributed to him.

Dick Turpin was born in 1706 in rural Essex, the son of John Turpin, a small farmer and some-time keeper of the Crown Inn. Some biographers say he was born in Thackstead, others name Hempstead. Young Dick probably served an apprenticeship with a butcher in Whitechapel in those days, a village on the fringes of the capital. During his apprenticeship he "conducted himself in a loose and disorderly manner." When his apprenticeship was over, he opened a butcher shop, and began to steal sheep, lamb and cattle. Caught in the act of stealing two oxen, he fled into the depths of the Essex countryside to save himself. Many people think of Dick Turpin as a lone highwayman, however for the majority of his criminal career he was a member of the Essex Gang. Turpin and his gang invaded isolated farmhouses. Robbing remote farmhouses was the Gang's speciality, and it was only towards the end of his criminal career that Turpin was actually involved in highway robbery.

Flushed with success-and money-Turpin and his mates proceeded to rob their way around the Home Counties. By 1735, the London Evening Post regularly reported the exploits of Turpin and 'The Essex Gang' and the King had offered a reward of £50 for their capture. Eventually, local constables captured two of the gang, Turpin himself narrowly missing capture by bursting out a window.

Turpin headed back into the familiar East Anglian countryside and lived rough for some time, until he began working with 'Captain' Tom King, one of the best-known highwaymen of the day and the kind of swashbuckling, devil-may-care character into which legend would later transform Turpin. From a cave in Epping Forest from which they could watch the road without being seen, they robbed virtually anyone who passed their hiding place. By 1737, Turpin had achieved such notoriety that another bounty of £100 was placed on his head, a reward that unwittingly transformed him from a common criminal into a murderer. On 4th May, 1737, a gamekeeper named Morris tracked Turpin to Epping Forest, but when he challenged him at gunpoint, Turpin drew his own gun and shot Morris dead.

The fugitive's next exploit was nothing less than bizarre. One night, while on the road to London, he took a fancy to a particularly fine horse. The owner didn't take the loss lying down. He issued handbills around the pubs of London, describing the horse and naming Turpin as the thief. The horse was traced to a pub in Whitechapel, where Turpin had stabled it. When Tom King came to collect the horse, he was arrested. Turpin, who had been waiting nearby, rode toward the constables holding King and fired at them. Unfortunately the bullets hit King rather than his captors! Before he died, King provided the constables with sufficient information to force Turpin to again live rough in Epping
Forest. But realising that he could no longer escape capture Turpin set off for Yorkshire, where he settled under the name of John Palmer, financing his lifestyle with frequent excursions into Lincolnshire for more horse and cattle rustling and the occasional highway robbery. One day, returning from an unsuccessful hunt he shot his landlord's rooster. When the landlord complained he threatened to kill the landlord as well Turpin was taken into custody. Turpin waited in the dungeons of York Castle while these charges were investigated.

Convicted on two indictments, Turpin was sentenced to death. Pleas from his father to have the sentence commuted to transportation fell on deaf ears. On 7th April, 1739, Dick Turpin rode through the streets of York in an open cart, bowing to the gawking crowds. At York racecourse he climbed the ladder to the gibbet and then sat for half an hour chatting to the guards and the executioner. An account in the York Courant of Turpin's execution, notes his brashness even at the end, with undaunted courage looked about him, and after speaking a few words to the executioner, he threw himself off the ladder. Thus in death at least, Turpin attained some of the gallantry that had eluded him in life.

"ROOKWOOD": THE BIRTH OF A LEGEND.

The spurious legend of Dick Turpin was established in 1739 with the book Life of Richard Turpin, the description of an epic ride from Westminster to York caught the popular imagination. During the next 50 years, replays of the Turpin story, appeared in magazines, cheap novels, and ballads, not just in Great Britain but around the world. History, romance, and legend rapidly blurred and, eventually, the fictional ride of Turpin totally eclipsed the villain's real exploits.

The metamorphosis of Dick Turpin, house-breaker, torturer, murderer, horse-stealer and all-round real nasty piece of work into Dick Turpin, Highwayman and Knight of the Road was complete.

 

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