When Suffolk tourism chiefs held an online poll to find the East Anglian county's most iconic image, they probably expected the winner to be its beach huts, the Newmarket horseracing track, or one of its myriard of ancient churches and other buildings.

Instead, in a nod to Cool Britannia, the winner was Dani Filth, the lead singer of English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth.

He got 13,025 votes, six times as many votes as the second most popular icon. The band's albums include The Principle of Evil Made Flesh (1994), Cruelty and the Beast (1998 ), Nymphetamine (2004) and Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (2010).

"Choose Suffolk" spokesman Richard Ginger said last night: "I don't want to speak about the decision of the judging panel."

Suffolk gets its name from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "Southern People".

Icon ... frontman Dani and, inset, county sign

Traditional ... beach huts made final shortlist ©Albanpix.com

Favourite ... but Newmarket racing lost in poll ©Albanpix.com

TOURISM chiefs held an online poll to find Suffolk's most iconic image - and it was won by a snap of a grotesque "black metal" rocker.

Bosses at Choose Suffolk appealed for photos of landscapes, people or products for their Suffolk Icons contest - intended to promote the county as a tourist destination. Many nominated traditional East Anglia images of beach huts, landscapes and historic buildings.

Yacht a picture ... waterfront scene at Ipswich

But 13,025 clicked on a snap of Dani Filth, 37-year-old frontman with local band Cradle Of Filth, whose twisted album titles include Cruelty And The Beast.

Dani's image polled six times as many votes as the next most popular icon.

Suffolk rockers Cradle of Filth

Yet chiefs IGNORED the rocker when they compiled their final shortlist of 20 images, which includes racing at Newmarket, Ipswich Waterfront and beach huts.

Choose Suffolk spokesman Richard Ginger said last night: "I don't want to speak about the decision of the judging panel."

Dani added: "It's a compliment."

Suffolk is 1,468 sq miles in size, making it England's seventh largest county.

It has a population of around 716,000.

Suffolk's name is derived from "Suthfolc" meaning "southern people/folk" in Anglo-Saxon (Old English.) Norfolk, which borders Suffolk to the north, takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon for "northern people/folk." Similarly, Sussex derives from the Anglo-Saxon for "South Saxons" and Essex from the Anglo-Saxon for "East Saxons".

The Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic race who came from what is now northern Germany and northern Netherlands and who are the founders of England, arrived in the 5th Century after the Romans departed (unlike the Celts, the Anglo-Saxons were never conquered by the Romans, which never makes a Scot or Welshman very happy when you tell them). Under the Anglo-Saxons, what is now England was several separate, independent kingdoms each with its own monarchy. Suffolk was part of the kingdom of East Anglia in what is now eastern England.

The establishment of Suffolk as a separate shire was scarcely completed before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and although it was reckoned as distinct from Norfolk in the Domesday Survey of 1086, the fiscal administration of Norfolk and Suffolk remained under a single sheriff until 1575.

The boundaries of Suffolk have changed very little through the centuries, although its coast has changed considerably due to coastal erosion.

Suffolk became a part of the Danelaw in the 800s, the huge area of England controlled by the Danes in the 800s.

The ancient county is dotted with literally hundreds of mediaeval churches.

In the East of the county is Sutton Hoo, the site of one of England's most signicant Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds; a ship burial containing a collection of treasures including a Sword of State, a magnificent ceremonial helmet (above), gold and silver bowls and jewellery and a lyre. It is believed to have belonged to Rædwald, king of East Anglia from 600 to 625.

Suffolk's patron saint is St Edmund, who was King of East Anglia in the late 800s. He was England's patron saint until he was replaced by St George in the 13th century.

2006 saw the failure of a campaign to have St Edmund named as the patron saint of England again and have his flag (above), rather than St George's, as England's flag but, in 2007, he was named patron saint of Suffolk, with St Edmund's Day falling on 20 November. His flag will be flown in Suffolk on that day.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 5th, 2011 at 02:15 PM..