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The seaside resorts of Essex provide all the amenities demanded by the modern visitor and holidaymaker. The inland Essex villages also have much to offer visitors, with their historic parish churches and quaint gabled, thatched, and sometimes half-timbered, cottages. A few of the remaining windmills have been restored to working order. Some of the small riverside towns have developed into yacthing centres. Ingatestone Hall, built in the 16th century for the Secretary of State Sir William Petre, and Audley End, near Saffron Walden, dating from the Jacobean period, are stately homes of interest. Waltham Abbey, founded in 1030 and much restored in the 19th century, contains a fine stained-glass window by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. At Castle Hedingham there still survives the Norman Keep, part of a great fortress built by the de Vere family, Earls of Oxford, in about 1140. A 20th century attraction is the visitor centre at Bradwell Power Station.
The cloth trade, once the mainstay of the county, declined towards the end of the 18th century, unable to comete with cheaper cloth produced in the north of England. Wheat, barley, and sugar beet are the chief crops. Potatoes and a variety of fruit and vegetables are also grown for the London market. There are oyster beds in the Colne estuary. Fishing was once a major industry, but has declined due to forgein competition.
Tilbury is now a major container port handling trade from all over the world and an important cruise terminal. There is a nuclear power station at Bradwell-on-Sea.