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Somerset county
Somerset Flag.svg
Escut Somerset.png
coat of arms

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About this picture

Country United Kingdom
Part of the country England
region South West England

status Ceremonial and Administrative County
First mention Early Middle Ages (as Somersæte )

Ceremonial county
surface 4,171 km²
Residents 965.424
was standing June 30, 2018

Administrative county
Administrative authority Somerset County Council
Administrative headquarters Taunton
ISO-3166-2 GB-SOM
surface 3,451 km²
Residents 559.399
was standing June 30, 2018
ONS code 40
GSS code E10000027
NUTS code UKK23

! Districts /! Unitary Authorities
Somerset numbered districts.svg
  1. South Somerset
  2. Somerset West and Taunton
  3. Sedgemoor
  4. Mendip
  5. Bath and North East Somerset
  6. North Somerset

Somerset [ ˈsʌmərsɛt ] (also historically Somersetshire ) is a county in south-west England . The capital is Taunton , it used to be Somerton .


Somerset is bordered by Gloucestershire to the northeast, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the southeast and Devon to the southwest . In the north, the coast of the Bristol Channel represents the largest part of the border. In the county are two "Cities" (with cathedral), Bath and Wells , the latter one of the smallest in England. Other important locations are Bridgwater , Glastonbury and Yeovil . Glastonbury is known for its open air rock festival, the Glastonbury Festival .

The landscape is mostly charming and relatively unspoiled. Near the town of Cheddar is the Cheddar Gorge , the largest gorge in Great Britain . Apple plantations are abundant, which is why Somerset is now more associated with producing strong cider than any other region .

Tourist attractions include the coastal towns, Exmoor National Park , the West Somerset Railway (a museum railway ) and the Naval Aviation Museum at Yeovilton Base. The gardens and parks in the region are part of the European Garden Heritage Network . Many historic buildings are built or clad with the characteristic honey-yellow Bath Stone .


The Mendip Hills caves were inhabited as early as the Paleolithic and now have extensive archaeological sites, such as the one in Cheddar Gorge . Human bone finds from Gough's Cave were dated to 12,000 BC. Dated. The fully preserved skeleton found there and known as Cheddar Man dates back to 7150 BC. In addition, cave paintings , z. B. in Aveline's Hole found. Some of the caves have been used to this day (e.g. the Wookey Hole). The Somerset Levels (an extensive moorland area), especially the arid areas such as Glastonbury and Brent Knoll , have a long history of settlement and are known for settlement by Mesolithic hunters. In the years 3807 BC BC or 3806 BC The Sweet Track , a Neolithic wooden footbridge , was created in the 4th century BC . It was originally part of a network of dry trails over marshy ground. The exact age of the Henge Monument at the Stanton Drew Stone Circles is unknown, but is estimated to be the Neolithic . There are also numerous Iron Age fortifications in the area , such as B. Cadbury Castle and Ham Hill, which were used again in the early Middle Ages . Under the orders of the later Emperor Vespasian , the Second Augusta Legion ( Legio II Augusta ) invaded Somerset from the south-east in 47. The country remained part of the Roman Empire until 409 .

The Roman Baths of Bath , the Roman Villa of Low Ham and the Roman Temple of Pagans Hill in Chew Stoke are some of the legacies of the Romans in Somerset.

After the Romans left Britain , the Anglo-Saxons invaded Somerset and by the year 600 had brought almost all of England under their rule - with the exception of Somerset, which remained in the hands of the native British . In the early 8th century , the Anglo-Saxon King Ine of Wessex was able to incorporate Somerset into his kingdom. The Saxon royal palace in Cheddar was used several times in the 10th century to hold the Witenagemot , a council meeting.

After the Norman conquest of England , the land was divided into 700 fiefdoms , many of which remained in the hands of the Crown (e.g. Dunster Castle ). Somerset has England's oldest prison, Shepton Mallet Prison, which opened in 1610 and is still in use.

In the English Civil War Somerset was largely on the side of the Roundheads (supporters of parliament and opponents of the king). The Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 was decided in Somerset and neighboring Dorset . The rebels landed at Lyme Regis , marched north in hopes of taking Bristol and Bath , but were defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor, near Westonzoyland .

Arthur Wellesley's title of Duke of Wellington is due to the city of Wellington , Somerset; his honor one were on a nearby hillside near the town Obelisk , Wellington Monument is hereby established.

The industrial revolution marked the end of most of the production of home-made goods in the Midlands and northern England. Agricultural production continued to flourish, however, and in 1777 the "Bath and West of England Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" was established with the aim of promoting agriculture, the arts, manufacturing and commerce Improvement of agricultural methods established. Coal mining in northern Somerset was one of the county's major industries in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Somerset Coalfield peaked in production in the 1920s; the dismantling was finally stopped in 1973. With the exception of the elevator wheel in the outdoor area of ​​the Radstock Museum, there are only a few structural witnesses of coal mining in the region. Further to the west, iron was mined in the Brendon Hills in the 19th century.

In the First World War the Somerset Light Infantry suffered losses of 5,000 men, in their memory and in memory of other Somerset soldiers, war memorials were erected in almost every town and village in Somerset. During the Second World War, the county was the base of troops in preparation for the invasion of Normandy .

The county's natural northern limit was the River Avon ; however, she gradually migrated southward because of the expansion of the city of Bristol . In 1974 much of northern Somerset was assigned to the County of Avon . After their dissolution in 1996, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset returned to Somerset for ceremonial reasons; however, they are independent as unitary authorities .

In March 2013, the British Energy Secretary Edward Davey granted the building permit for the construction of two new reactors at the Hinkley Point nuclear power station . The project operator, the French company EdF, has not yet decided whether he really wants to build.

Cities and villages


Ruins of St Michael's Church on Burrow Mump in the village of Burrowbridge


The Somerset Rebels racing team competes in the British Speedway Premier League.


Web links

Commons : Somerset  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Somerset  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Mid 2018 Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  2. Introduction . Somerset Government. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  3. ^ Robert Dunning: A History of Somerset . Phillimore, Chichester 1983, ISBN 0-85033-461-6 .
  4. Somerset . In: Camelot Village: Britain's Heritage and History . Retrieved May 28, 2006.
  5. Anon: London's earliest timber structure found during Belmarsh prison dig . In: News . August 12, 2009. Retrieved July 10, 2010.
  6. ^ The day the Sweet Track was built . In: New Scientist, June 16, 1990 . Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  7. Richard Brunning: The Somerset Levels. In: Current Archeology , Vol. XV, 2001, (No. 4), Issue Number 172 ( Wetlands Special Issue ), (February 2001), pp. 139-143. ISSN  0011-3212 .
  8. ^ Stanton Drew Stone Circles . English Heritage. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  9. ^ Mendip Hills: An Archaeological Survey of the Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty (PDF) In: Somerset County Council Archaeological Projects . Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  10. ^ Roman Baths Treatment Center . In: Images of England . Retrieved November 15, 2006.
  11. Hucker, Ernest: Chew Stoke Recalled in Old Photographs . Ernest Hucker, 1997.
  12. ^ Brenda Ralph Lewis, David Nash Ford: Narrative History of Saxon Somerset . In: Britannia . Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved October 21, 2007. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. Phillip Rahtz: The Saxon and Medieval Palaces at Cheddar, Somerset: an Interim Report of Excavations in 1960-62 (PDF) Archeology Data Service. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  14. ^ Somersetshire . In: Encyclopædia Britannica . 11th edition. tape 25 : Shuválov - Subliminal Self . London 1911, p. 388 (English, full text [ Wikisource ]).
  15. ^ Historic Buildings of Shepton Mallet . In: Shepton Mallet Town Council . Archived from the original on January 18, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  16. ^ Colonel HCB Rodgers: Battles and Generals of the Civil Wars . Seeley Service, 1968.
  17. ^ History of Bridgwater . In: Bridgwater . Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  18. Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) . In: Somerset Military Museum . Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved December 23, 2007. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 51 ° 1 ′  N , 3 ° 6 ′  W