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caption=Somerset shown within England

Somerset (/ˈsʌmərsɛt/ or /ˈsʌmərsɪt/) is a county in South West England. The county town of Somerset is Taunton, which is in the south of the county. The ceremonial county of Somerset borders the counties of 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 coast of the Bristol Channel and the River Severn estuary. The traditional northern border of the county is the River Avon, but the administrative boundary has crept southwards with the creation and expansion of the City of Bristol.

Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills such as the 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 subsequent settlement in the Roman and Saxon periods. Later, the county played a significant part in the consolidation of power and rise of King Alfred the Great, the English Civil War, and the Monmouth Rebellion.

Agriculture is a 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 basketry. Apple orchards were once plentiful, and to this day Somerset is known for the production of strong cider. Unemployment is lower than the national average, and the largest employment sectors are retail, manufacturing, tourism, and health and social care. Population growth in the county is higher than the national average. (more about Somerset...)

Selected article

Hestercombe House
Taunton Deane is a local government district with borough status covering a population of approximately 100,000.

There are 38 Grade I listed buildings in Taunton Deane. The oldest buildings are churches built before the end of the 12th century, and the Castle Bow, which has been incorporated into the Castle Hotel in Taunton but was originally a gateway into Taunton Castle. The castle was created between 1107 and 1129, when William Giffard, the Chancellor of King Henry I, fortified the bishop's hall. It was his successor, Henry of Blois, who transformed the manor-house into a castle in 1138, during the Civil War that raged during the reign of his brother, King Stephen. Taunton is also the site of Gray's Alsmhouses, which dates from 1635, and two buildings in Fore Street from the 16th century. Most of the Grade I listed buildings in Taunton Deane are Norman or medieval era churches, many of which are included in the Somerset towers, a collection of distinctive, mostly spireless Gothic church towers. Many of the more recent structures in the list are manor houses such as Cothay Manor and Greenham Barton which were built in Stawley in the 15th century. Poundisford Park and Cothelstone Manor were both built in the 16th century and Hatch Court in 1755. The most recent building included in the list is Hestercombe House, which was rebuilt in 1909.

Selected biography

Jake Seamer
B. (1913-06-23)June 23, 1913 – d. April 16, 2006(2006-04-16) (aged 92)

John Wemyss "Jake" Seamer was an amateur cricketer who played for Oxford University and Somerset either side of the Second World War. A bespectacled cricketer, Seamer was a right-handed batsman who played with a defensive streak to his game which was rarely seen among amateur batsmen of his time. He was described as a leg break googly bowler, but in truth he rarely bowled at all, and claimed just four first-class wickets.

Seamer played the best of his cricket while at Oxford University. All four of his first-class centuries were made for the university side, and his average for Oxford was 35.30, significantly higher than his career average of 20.35. He made his highest score against Free Foresters in his second year, during which he accrued 858 runs, more than double he managed in any other season. On completion of his studies at Oxford, Seamer joined the Sudan Political Service, which limited his first-class cricket appearances to periods of leave. He was named as one of three amateurs to captain Somerset in 1948, leading the team during June and July. That season was his last for Somerset, and he made only one further first-class appearance. He became a district commissioner in the Sudan, and after leaving the service, he taught at Marlborough College and was twice mayor of Marlborough.

Districts of Somerset


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Somerset(27 C, 7 P, 1 F)
Somerset-related lists(1 C, 40 P)
Bath, Somerset(15 C, 4 P)
Burials in Somerset(3 C, 21 P)
Crime in Somerset(1 C, 4 P)
Culture in Somerset(13 C, 19 P)
Economy of Somerset(5 C, 6 P)
Education in Somerset(8 C, 3 P)
Environment of Somerset(6 C, 14 P)
Films shot in Somerset(3 P)
Geography of Somerset(12 C, 17 P)
Geology of Somerset(3 C, 46 P)
Health in Somerset(2 C, 13 P)
History of Somerset(26 C, 182 P)
Media in Somerset(4 C)
Music in Somerset(3 C, 3 P)
Organisations based in Somerset(14 C, 20 P)
People from Somerset(24 C, 253 P)
Politics of Somerset(12 C, 20 P)
Religion in Somerset(3 C, 3 P)
Sport in Somerset(6 C, 30 P)
Tourist attractions in Somerset(31 C, 47 P)
Transport in Somerset(12 C, 21 P)

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Selected picture

Clevedon Pier

Clevedon Pier is a seaside pier in the town of Clevedon, on the English side of the Severn Estuary. It was built in the 1860s, and – after a partial collapse in the previous decade – was fully restored in the 1980s.

Selected settlement

A view of Glastonbury from the Tor

Co-ordinates 51°08′55″N 2°42′50″W / 51.1485°N 2.714°W / 51.1485; -2.714

Glastonbury is a small town situated at a dry point on the low lying Somerset Levels, 30 miles (48 km) south of Bristol. The town, which is in the Mendip district, had a population of 8,784 in the 2001 census. Glastonbury is less than 1 mile (2 km) across the River Brue from the village of Street. Evidence from timber trackways such as the Sweet Track show that the town has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Glastonbury Lake Village was an Iron Age village, close to the old course of the River Brue and Sharpham Park approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Glastonbury, dates back to the Bronze Age. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury Abbey, which dominated the town for the next 700 years. One of the most important abbeys in England, it was the site of Edmund Ironside's coronation as King of England in 1016. Many of the oldest surviving buildings in the town, including the Tribunal, George Hotel and Pilgrims' Inn and the Somerset Rural Life Museum, which is based in an old tithe barn, are associated with the abbey. The Church of St John the Baptist dates from the 15th century.

The town became a centre for commerce, which led to the construction of the market cross, Glastonbury Canal and the Glastonbury and Street railway station, the largest station on the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. The Brue Valley Living Landscape is a conservation project managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust and nearby is the Ham Wall National Nature Reserve.

Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community which attracts people with New Age beliefs, and is notable for myths and legends often related to Glastonbury Tor, concerning Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur. In some Arthurian literature Glastonbury is identified with the legendary island of Avalon. Joseph is said to have arrived in Glastonbury and stuck his staff into the ground, when it flowered miraculously into the Glastonbury Thorn. The presence of a landscape zodiac around the town has been suggested, along with a collection of ley lines, but no evidence has been discovered. Glastonbury Festival takes its name from the town but is actually held in the nearby village of Pilton.


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