The Kingdom of the East Saxons was founded in the 527AD, and a shortening of this name ('East-Sax') gives us what is now known as Essex. One of the home counties, Essex lies on the northeast border of Greater London. Though its 1,737,900 residents make Essex the 6th most populated county in the UK, its largest city of Southend-on-Sea accounts for than a tenth of this, with only 165,300 residents.
One old and famous Essex tradition is the four-yearly Dunmow Flitch Trials. These date back to 1104 when the Lord of the Manor of Dunmow and his wife dressed themselves as peasants and begged the local Prior to bestow a blessing upon them one year and one day after they had married. Doing just this, the Prior awarded them a Flitch of Bacon (a side cut of a pig). Revealing his true identity, Superman-style, the Lord bestowed his land onto the Priory and decreed that any couple who could display similar devotion should claim the same reward, to eternity and beyond. E'er since, every four years, couples who swear they have not regretted any moment of being married in their first year-and-a-day are awarded a Flitch of Bacon.
Partially due to its proximity to the capital, Essex is also well practised in raising future showbiz stars. Gameshow host Noel Edmonds, actress Maggie Smith, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, singer Jessie J, and man Russell Brand all hail from the county.