The feast day of Saint Cedd, October 26th , has been acknowledged as the county day of Essex.
The date was mooted by the Flag Institute as a likely day for the county to recognise as Essex Day, owing to the significant role Saint Cedd had played in its early history. Following an earlier spate of conversion to Christianity the kingdom of Essex had largely reverted to its pagan origins. King Sigeberht requested assistance from Christian Northumbria and Cedd went to the East Saxons partly as an emissary of the Northumbrian monarchy. In recognition of his success, Cedd was appointed bishop of the East Saxons. Cedd then baptised the king’s pagan successor and has come to be highly regarded for his efforts and to all intents and purposes recognised as the county’s patron saint.
In 2013 the flag of Essex was raised by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Eric Pickles,
on October 24th, to coincide with Saint Cedd’s day later in the week.
He was joined by Essex MPs Simon Burns MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP and Rebecca Harris MP, effectively securing October 26th as the county day of Essex. Eric Pickles announced “I’m delighted to see that the only way is Essex at my department today as we recognise my adopted home county on its official day.” Flags have the power to unite communities and inspire a sense of pride and belonging to an area and I hope to see residents across the county flying their flags. England’s historic counties continue to form an important part of our cultural and local identity in this country and many people remain deeply attached to their home county. Councillor David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said “The 3 seaxes are a really important symbol of Essex culture and history so it’s wonderful that our flag is flying over Westminster today. As one of the biggest counties in England with a focus on growth, prosperity and innovation, I’m delighted that Essex is being recognised by government.”
The county day was celebrated with enthusiasm in 2017 by Basildon Mayor David Harrison. below left and councillor Kerry Smith, right
Councillor Smith said the event had been his brainchild. Residents and council workers gathered outside the council’s offices to watch the flag go up. The raising can be viewed here.