Let me just be clear. I’m not a paedophile or any other seeker after illicit sexual gratification in countries with lesser legal or moral codes. Even if I were, the present parlous state of my employment would have ruled out such extravagance (all offers for photography, training or Organisational Development considered!) which is why I took a very short break this summer that consisted of a road trip to parts of the UK that I needed to explore a little. My trip took me to Wiltshire and Somerset; parts of the ancient historic kingdom of Wessex (also inspiration to Thomas Hardy).
From here I travelled east along the base of England’s rough triangle, through West and East Sussex to the coast, before returning home, crossing the Thames and entering into Essex on my way. You will understand now why I chose my title, but perhaps wonder why this suffix appears in all of these southern locations.
My fellow countrymen whose xenophobic hatred of immigration might do well to consider their own origins. The Roman occupation of course brought many nationalities to these shores; their armies consisting of men from all parts of their empire, many of whom settled in their adopted country. In the fluid centuries that followed the collapse of Roman rule, waves of settlers arrived from Northern Europe. England derives its name from the Angles that arrived from Southern Denmark where as those from Germany/Holland, the Saxons, settled in Southern England. Wessex therefore became a description of the West Saxons, Sussex those to the south, and Essex those to the east. In between these was the county of Middlesex (now absorbed into London).
It is hardly surprising then that this is an area rich in history; every small town and village seems to have a historic building of some description so I could have spent weeks or months peering into churches or photographing ancient sites, breathing the salty air or scaling grassy slopes. Time, and more importantly money meant I had to be selective.