26 DECEMBER 1931, Page 14

Canon Raven is unduly hard on Essex ; and, indeed,

there is a tendency to regard it as one of the ugly ducklings. Doubtless quite hideous patches may be found ; but it has also peculiar virtues. A little circle within it including Coggeshall has much the lightest rainfall within Britain, and is the only place where many seeds will ripen. It has therefore become the scene of the most- glorious roses and sweet peas to be found the world over, and produces excellent seed of more prosaic plants, such as rape and mangolds. It has villages that may alniost rival the Cotswolds, and along the northern border are scenes which, as Canon Raven con- fesses in a different reference, have " made Constable the most native of our painters." Let Essex have its due, in spite of "the Wen" that disfigures its north-western part and the mudflats (now being reclaimed by Spartina grass) that trap the unwary yachtsman. - -