Historic County of England.
- Administrative centre Taunton
- County Flower - Cheddar Pink
- People from Somerset are called - Somersetians
Somerset (abbreviated Som..) is a ceremonial county of historic in South West England. It borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the River Severn. Its traditional northern border is the River Avon, but the administrative boundary has crept southwards with the creation and expansion of the City of Bristol, and latterly the county of Avon and its successor unitary authorities to the north.
Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills (Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park), and large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. There is evidence of human occupation from Palaeolithic times, and of subsequent settlement in the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods.
The caves of the Mendip Hills were settled during the Palaeolithic period, and contain extensive archaeological sites such as those at Cheddar Gorge. Bones from Gough's Cave have been dated to 12,000 BC, and a complete skeleton, known as Cheddar Man, dates from 7150 BC. Examples of cave art have been found in caves such as Aveline's Hole. Some caves continued to be occupied until modern times, including Wookey Hole.
The county played a significant part in the consolidation of power and rise of King Alfred the Great, and later in the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion.
Agriculture is today major business in the county. Farming of sheep and cattle, including for wool and the county's famous cheeses (most notably Cheddar), are traditional and contemporary, as is the more unusual cultivation of willow for basket weaving. Apple orchards were once plentiful, and Somerset is still known for the production of strong cider. The largest employment sectors are retail, manufacturing, tourism, and health and social care. Population growth in the county is higher than the national average.
The largest urban areas in terms of population are
- Yeovil and
The Districts of Somerset
- South Somerset
- Taunton Deane (Borough)
- West Somerset
- Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary)
- North Somerset (Unitary)
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from The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers 1984.
See http://www.geni.com/photo/view/4560155096930045739?photo_id=6000000019096933017 - open full view.