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The highest point of the county of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet (147 m).The ceremonial county of Essex is bounded to the south by the River Thames and its estuary (a boundary shared with Kent); to the southwest by Greater London; to the west by Hertfordshire with the boundary largely defined by the River Lea and the Stort; to the northwest by Cambridgeshire; to the north by Suffolk, a boundary mainly defined by the River Stour; and to the east by the North Sea.
The county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford.
Middlesex, Sussex and Wessex) during the Heptarchy.
Originally recorded in AD 527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what later became Middlesex (which probably included Surrey) and most of what later became Hertfordshire.
A small part of the southwest of the county (Sewardstone), is the only settlement outside Greater London to be covered by a postcode district of the London post town (E4).
To the north of the green belt, with the exception of major towns such as Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend-on-Sea the county is rural, with many small towns, villages and hamlets largely built in the traditional materials of timber and brick, with clay tile or thatched roofs.