|Area:||1,640 square miles|
|Biggest town:||Bristol (partly in Gloucestershire)|
|County flower:||Cheddar pink |
The county town is Taunton, in the midst of the county, a quiet if industrious town, while Somerton, which shares its name in origin with the county is a tiny town further inland. Somerset has several modest towns and numerous villages between them, while in the north are found the Georgian glories of Bath and the southern half of the great city of Bristol.
Somerset has borders with Gloucestershire in the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. Its north and west are washed by the waters of the Bristol Channel as the estuary of the River Severn opens into the sea. The border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon.
Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills such as the Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor. In its belly, reaching in from the seacoast between the Mendips and Quantocks, is large expanse of flat land, much of it below sea level, known as the Somerset Levels, once flooded in winter and inhabited only on the low hills dotting its surface, forming islands in the fen. It is proposed by some that Somerset, land of the Summer dwellers, was named as the land reappeared from the waters every summer. In Welsh it is Gwlad yr Haf: "Land of Summer".
The farms of Somerset are diverse. Sheep and cattle are thick upon the hillsides and low land alike. The cattle are responsible for the county's famous cheeses, the most famous of all cheeses being Cheddar, born in that Somerset village. Another traditional work in the wetlands is the cultivation of withies, or willow shoots, for basket weaving and fencing.
Somerset is best know though for its apples. Orchards if not as abundant as once they were, are still commonplace across the county. Consequent upon the apples, Somerset is known for the brewing of strong cider.
- 1 Name of the county
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Cities and towns
- 5 Economy and industry
- 6 Culture
- 7 County Flag
- 8 Things to see in Somerset
- 9 References
- 10 Books
- 11 Outside links
Name of the county
The name "Somerset" or "Somersetshire" is from the Old English language, in which it is found as Sumorsæte (and Sumersæte), a plural word of which the sæte element means "dwellers" or "settlers". Watts claims that the name is short for Sumortunsæte, meaning "the dwellers at Sumortun", though this proposed long version is not found.
The first surviving written appearance of the name Sumorsæte is in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 845, when Earnulf, its Ealdorman, fought Danish invaders at the mouth of the Parret.
Whether the of the county is derived from that of Somerton or the town's name from the county is debated. The proposed derivation from dwellers in a land occupied only in the summer would not fit Somerton well as it is not down in the Somerset Levels but on a hill.
The people of Somerset are first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's entry for AD 845. The name Somersetshire is first mentioned in the Chronicle's entry for 878. Although "Somersetshire" had been in common use as an alternative name for the county, it went out of fashion in the late 19th century.
Somerset is Gwlad yr Haf in Welsh, which means "Land of Summer".
Somerset place names are mostly Anglo-Saxon in origin, but a few hill names include Celtic elements. For example, a charter of 682 concerning Creechborough Hill calls it "the hill the British call Cructan and we call Crychbeorh".. Another British-language name is Tarnock, Pen Hill has both English and Welsh elements.
Much of the landscape of Somerset falls into types determined by the underlying geology. These landscapes are the limestone karst and lias of the north, the clay vales and wetlands of the centre, the oolites of the east and south, and the Devonian sandstone of the west.
To the north-east of the Somerset Levels rise the Mendip Hills, a modest range of limestone hills. The main habitat on these hills is calcareous grassland, with some growing crops. The Somerset coalfield stretches beneath these hills, part of a larger coalfield which stretches into Gloucestershire. To the north of the Mendips is the Chew Valley and to the south, on the clay substrate, are broad valleys which support dairy farming and drain into the Somerset Levels.
Caves and rivers
An extensive network of caves stretches beneath the Mendips, including the famous Wookey Hole, and within the caves are underground rivers. Gorges carve through the hills, most famously the Cheddar Gorge and Ebbor Gorge.
The county has many rivers, including the Axe, Brue, Cary, Parrett, Sheppey, Tone and Yeo. These both feed and drain the flat levels and moors of middle and western Somerset. In the north of the county the River Chew flows into the Avon. The Parrett is tidal almost to Langport, where there is evidence of two Roman wharves. At the same site during the reign of King Charles I, river tolls were levied on boats to pay for the maintenance of the bridge.
Levels and moors
The Somerset Levels (or Somerset Levels and Moors as they are less commonly if more correctly known) are a sparsely populated wetland area of central Somerset, between the Quantock and Mendip hills. They consist of marine clay levels along the coast, and the inland (often peat based) moors. The Levels are divided into two by the Polden Hills; land to the south is drained by the River Parrett while land to the north is drained by the River Axe and the River Brue.
The Levels cover a total area of some 160,000 acres. About 70% of the area is grassland and 30% is arable. Stretching 20 miles inland, this expanse of flat land barely rises above sea level. Before it was drained, much of the land was under a shallow, brackish sea in winter and was marsh land in the summer. Drainage began with the Romans, and was restarted at various times: by the Anglo-Saxons; in the Middle Ages by the Glastonbury Abbey, from 1400–1770; and during the Second World War, with the construction of the Huntspill River. Pumping and management of water levels still continues.
The North Somerset Levels basin, north of the Mendips, covers a smaller geographical area than the Somerset Levels and forms a coastal area around Avonmouth. It too was reclaimed by draining. It is mirrored, across the Severn Estuary in Monmouthshire, by a similar low-lying area: the Caldicot and Wentloog Levels.
In the far west of the county, running into Devon, is Exmoor, a high sandstone moor, which was designated as a national park in 1954. The highest point in Somerset is here: Dunkery Beacon standing at 1,703 feet.
Over 100 sites in Somerset have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
The Bristol Channel has the second largest tidal range in the world, which has had its effect on the landscape. At Burnham-on-Sea, for example, the tidal range of a spring tide is over 39 feet. In the past, the high tides caused floods deep inland across the Somerset Levels.
The main coastal towns are, from the west to the north-east, Minehead, Watchet, Burnham-on-Sea, Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead. The coastal area between Minehead and Brean Down is known as Bridgwater Bay, and is a National Nature Reserve. Bridgwater Bay at low tide drains out to a mudbank stretching up to 4 miles out from the mean high tide mark through which the River Parrett winds. Local fishermen have developed 'mudhorses'; wooden sledges to walk across the mud collecting netted fish.
North of Bridgwater Bay are Weston Bay and Sand Bay whose northern tip, Sand Point, by convention marks the lower limit of the Severn Estuary. In the middle and the north of the county the coastline is low as the level wetlands of the levels meet the sea. In the west by contrast, the coastline is high and dramatic where the plateau of Exmoor meets the sea in high cliffs with waterfalls.
The caves of the Mendip Hills were settled during the Palaeolithic period onward and contain extensive archaeological sites such as those at Cheddar Gorge. Bones from Gough's Cave have been dated to 12,000 BC while 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. Occupation of some caves continued until modern times, including Wookey Hole.
The Somerset Levels though flooded marshland throughout most of their history, have been inhabited from the earliest days. Across the Levels are little rises forming islands on which the villages are built. Mesolithic hunters lived here. Travel in the area was helped by the construction of the world's oldest known engineered roadway, the Sweet Track, which dendrochronology has dated to 3807 BC or 3806 BC.
There are numerous Iron Age hill forts in Somerset, some of which, like Cadbury Castle and Ham Hill, were later reoccupied in the Early Middle Ages. The exact age of the henge monument at Stanton Drew stone circles is unknown, but it is believed to be Neolithic.
On the authority of the future emperor Vespasian, as part of the ongoing expansion of the Roman presence in Britain, the Legio II Augusta invaded Somerset from the south-east in AD 47 and Roman influence remained until the end of Roman government in Britain. Roman remains in the county include Pagans Hill Roman Temple in Chew Stoke, Low Ham Roman Villa and the Roman Baths which gave their name to the city of Bath.
After the Romans retreated in 410, Britain was left to her native kings but many generations had passed Britain was invaded in strength and settled by the ancestral English peoples. The native Britons held the Saxon advance in the south-west back for some time longer than elsewhere and the Parrett appears to have formed a boundary for a generation or two. By the early eighth century though King Ine of Wessex had pushed the boundaries of the West Saxon kingdom far enough west to include all of Somerset.
The West Saxon royal palace in Cheddar was used several times in the 10th century to host the Witenagemot. After the Norman Conquest, the county was divided into 700 fiefs, and large areas were owned by the crown, with fortifications such as Dunster Castle used for control and defence.
During the English Civil War Somerset was largely Parliamentarian. In 1685 the Monmouth Rebellion was played out in Somerset and neighbouring Dorset. The rebels landed at Lyme Regis and marched north aiming to capture Bristol and Bath, but they were defeated in the Battle of Sedgemoor at Westonzoyland, the last pitched battle fought in England.
The 18th century was largely one of peace in Somerset, but the Industrial Revolution in the Midlands and Northern England spelled the end for most of Somerset's cottage industries. Farming continued to flourish, however, and the Bath and West of England Society for the Encouragement of Agriculture, Arts, Manufactures and Commerce was founded in 1777 to improve farming methods. Despite this, 20 years later in 1795 John Billingsley conducted a survey of the county's agriculture in 1795 and found that agricultural methods could still be improved.
During the 18th century, Somerset became a centre for the smart set, who flocked to Bath in season. This time saw Bath growing from a modest town to whose spa resorted the sickly into one of the glories of the Georgian Ages; in particular in the Regency period at the beginning of the nineteenth century Bath began to be rebuilt to what we see today. Jane Austin did not stint to set much of her novels in the sumptuous, fashionable city: Who could every grow tired of Bath?"
A little away from the regency swells, coal mining was an important industry in northern Somerset during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Somerset coalfield reached its peak production by the 1920s, but then declined; the last of the pits closed in 1973. Most of the surface buildings have been removed, and apart from a winding wheel outside Radstock Museum, little evidence of their former existence remains. Further west, the Brendon Hills were mined for iron ore in the late 19th century; this was taken by rail to Watchet Harbour for shipment to the furnaces at Ebbw Vale.
In the eighteenth century the long dominance of the west coast sea trade by Bristol was ending as ports such as Liverpool proved more convenient. Between 1804 and 1809 the Port of Bristol placed lock gates on the River Avon and diverted its tidal stream through the Somerset parts of the city, thus eliminating tides at the city centre wharves and turning the old course of the river in the city centre (which forms the county border) into the "Floating Harbour". By allowing ships to ride at anchor by the wharves throughout the day, it proved a boon to the city's sea trade.
Though war has not been seen on Somerset’s soil since 1685, war was heavy upon the county in the twentieth century. During the First World War, the Somerset Light Infantry suffered nearly 5,000 casualties and many other regments took their toll of Somerset men. War memorials were raised in most of the county's towns and villages and only nine, described as the Thankful Villages, had none of their men killed. During the Second World War the county was a base for troops preparing for the D-Day landings. Some of the hospitals which were built for the casualties of the war remain in use. The Taunton Stop Line was set up to repel a potential German invasion. The remains of its pill boxes can still be seen along the coast, and south through Ilminster and Chard.
A number of decoy towns were constructed in Somerset in Second World War to protect Bristol and other towns, at night. They were designed to mimic the geometry of "blacked out" streets, railway lines, and Bristol Temple Meads railway station, to encourage bombers away from these targets. One, on the radio beam flight path to Bristol, was constructed on Beacon Batch. It was laid out by Shepperton Film Studios, based on aerial photographs of the city's railway marshalling yards. The decoys were fitted with dim red lights, simulating activities like the stoking of steam locomotives. Burning bales of straw soaked in creosote were used to simulate the effects of incendiary bombs dropped by the first wave of Pathfinder night bombers; meanwhile, incendiary bombs dropped on the correct location were quickly smothered, wherever possible. Drums of oil were also ignited to simulate the effect of a blazing city or town, with the aim of fooling subsequent waves of bombers into dropping their bombs on the wrong location. The Chew Magna decoy town was hit by half-a-dozen bombs on 2 December 1940, and over a thousand incendiaries on 3 January 1941. The following night the Uphill decoy town, protecting Weston-super-Mare's airfield, was bombed; a herd of dairy cows was hit, killing some and severely injuring others.
Cities and towns
Somerton assumed the mantle of county town in the late thirteenth century, but it declined in importance and the status of county town transferred to Taunton about 1366. The county has two cities, Bath (population 88,859) and Wells (population 10,360 making it one of Britain's smallest cities), and only a small number of towns but very many villages. Many towns and villages have developed at river crossings e.g. Bridgwater or in valleys e.g. Yeovil, while in the Levels, villages and towns sit atop the low rises dotted across the landscape which would once have been islands in the marsh, many bearing names ending -ey or -oy, meaning "island".
Economy and industry
Away from Bristol, Somerset has been allowed to remain largely rural and here it has few industrial centres. It does however have a variety of light industry and high technology businesses, along with traditional agriculture and an increasingly important tourism sector.
Bridgwater was developed during the Industrial Revolution as the West Country's leading port south of Bristol. The River Parrett was navigable by large ships as far as Bridgwater and cargoes were then loaded onto smaller boats at Langport Quay, next to the Bridgwater Bridge, to be carried further up river to Langport; or from Burrowbridge they could travel by way of the River Tone to Taunton. The Parrett is now only navigable as far as Dunball Wharf. Bridgwater, in the 19th and 20th centuries, was a centre for the manufacture of bricks and clay roof tiles, and later cellophane, but those industries have now closed. Instead the motorway system has found new industries for the town, in distribution, light industry and aeronautical engineering. Many towns have encouraged small-scale light industries which thrive.
Somerset is an important supplier of defence equipment and technology. A Royal Ordnance Factory, ROF Bridgwater was built at the start of the Second World War, between the villages of Puriton and Woolavington, to manufacture explosives. The site was decommissioned and closed in July 2008, though the presence of many military facilities in Somerset provides a market for other companies in the defence sector in the county, and related high-technology companies.
The Ministry of Defence has offices in Bath. Norton Fitzwarren is the home of 40 Commando Royal Marines. The RNAS Yeovilton, is one of Britain's two active Fleet Air Arm bases and home to the Royal Navy's Lynx helicopters and the Royal Marines Commando Westland Sea Kings. Around 1,675 servicemen and 2,000 civilian personnel are stationed at Yeovilton and key activities include training of aircrew and engineers and the Royal Navy's Fighter Controllers and surface-based aircraft controllers.
Farming and weaving
Agriculture and food and drink production continue to be major industries in the county, employing over 15,000 people. Apple orchards were once plentiful, and Somerset is still a major producer of cider. The towns of Taunton and Shepton Mallet are involved with the production of cider; Blackthorn Cider brewed in Taunton is sold nationwide, and there are many specialist producers of cider and fruit juices, not limited to apples. The county's large dairy industry produces milk, cheese and yoghurt for shipping nationwide and of course the nation's favourite cheese is cheddar, named after the village of Cheddar where it was first made.
Traditional withy growing and weaving is not as extensive as it used to be but is still carried out on the Somerset Levels and is commemorated at the Willows and Wetlands visitor centre. Fragments of willow basket were found near the Glastonbury Lake Village, and it was also used in the construction of several Iron Age causeways. The willow was harvested using a traditional method of coppicing, where a tree would be cut back to the main stem. During the 1930s more than 9,000 acres of willow were being grown commercially on the Levels. Largely due to the displacement of baskets with plastic bags and cardboard boxes, the industry has severely declined since the 1950s. By the end of the 20th century only about 350 acres were grown commercially, near Burrowbridge, Westonzoyland and North Curry. The Somerset Levels is now the only area in the United Kingdom where withies are grown commercially for baskets.
Towns such as Castle Cary and Frome grew around the mediæval weaving industry. Street developed as a centre for the production of woollen slippers and, later, boots and shoes as C&J Clark established its headquarters in the town, though the shoes are no longer made in Street.
The county has a long tradition of supplying building stone. Quarries at Doulting supplied stone used in to build Wells Cathedral. Bath stone is also widely used, mined underground at the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines and elsewhere. Bath stone is less used today, oftenest as cladding not structural. Further south, Hamstone is the colloquial name given to stone from Ham Hill, which is also widely used in the construction industry. Blue Lias has been used locally as a building stone and as a raw material for lime mortar and Portland cement. Until the 1960s, Puriton had Blue Lias stone quarries, as did several other Polden villages. Its quarries also supplied a cement factory at Dunball by the King's Sedgemoor Drain until remains were removed as the M5 motorway was driven through.
Tourism is a major industry, estimated in 2001 to support around 23,000 people. Visitors come to seaside towns such as Weston-super-Mare, coastal towns below Exmoor, the Levels, the pretty villages amongst the Mendips and Quantocks and many visitor attractions across the shire.
The town of Glastonbury attracts a puzzling mixture of folk. Many may come to see the town and the ruins of the great Glastonbury Abbey, and above the town the lone, high conical hill, Glastonbury Tor, which commands a fine view over the Somerset Levels. However Glastonbury Abbey was also said in the thirteenth century to be the burial place of King Arthur and this legend has spurred all sorts of supposed mythical associations. Another mediaeval legend once promoted by the mediæval monks imagined a visit to Glastonbury by the Jesus himself when a boy, accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, claimed for the purpose of the legend to be a kinsman. These two legends have been enough to generate a local industry of mystical imaginings, bringing in the Holy Grail, King Arthur, Camelot, reinvented Celtic paganism and all the panoply of "New Age" ideas, reflected in several establishments in an otherwise calm Somerset town.
Camelot has been identified by some, including scholarly historians, as Cadbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort near Glastonbury. The town also gives its name to an annual open-air rock festival held in nearby Pilton.
At Cheddar there are show caves open to visitors in the Cheddar Gorge, and much is made of its eponymous cheese, sold aplenty in the shops along with local cider, though there is now only one remaining cheese-maker in the village.
The annual Bath Literature Festival is one of several local festivals in the county; others include the Frome Festival and the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival, which, despite its name, is held at Farleigh Hungerford in Somerset. The annual circuit of West Country Carnivals is held in a variety of Somerset towns during the autumn, forming a major regional festival, and the largest Festival of Lights in Europe.
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts takes place most years in Pilton, near Shepton Mallet, attracting over 170,000 music lovers from around the world, and world-famous entertainers. The 'Big Green Gathering' which grew out of the Green fields at the Glastonbury Festival is held in the Mendip Hills between Charterhouse and Compton Martin each summer.
The Isle of Avalon of Arthurian legend became associated with Glastonbury Tor when monks at Glastonbury Abbey claimed to have discovered the bones of King Arthur and his queen. What is more certain is that Glastonbury was an important religious centre by 700 and in the Middle Ages it claimed to be the oldest Christian church in the World, a remarkable claim based on a plain fiction, namely the alleged foundation of a community of monks in the year 63 by Joseph of Arimathea. For good measure, the legend added that Joseph brought the Holy Grail.
The Diocese of Bath and Wells covers Somerset excluding those parts under the Diocese of Bristol. The Bishop's seat is the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in the city of Wells, though in former days the bishop sat also at Bath Abbey.
Somerset has 11,500 listed buildings, 523 Scheduled Monuments, 192 conservation areas, 41 parks and gardens, 36 English Heritage sites and 19 National Trust sites. Other historic houses in the county which have remained in private ownership or used for other purposes include Halswell House and Marston Bigot.
A key contribution of Somerset architecture is its mediæval church towers. Simon Jenkins writes, "These structures, with their buttresses, bell-opening tracery and crowns, rank with Nottinghamshire alabaster as England's finest contribution to mediæval art."
The flag depicts the traditional dragon emblem of Somerset, a design first promoted as the county flag by Ed Woods in 2006. The red dragon has been used for the last century by the local county council as their coat of arms but it is ultimately derived from the banners borne by Alfred the Great and his kinsmen during the era of the Viking Wars, which were variously described as bearing red or gold dragons or wyverns. Further research suggests a linkage with the county that reaches further back to Celtic use of a dragon symbol, itself ultimately derived from use of the Draco symbol by the Roman military during the Roman occupation of Britain. In essence therefore, the flag is a traditional design with a pedigree of over a thousand years. Ed Woods had first proposed the design as the county flag in 2006 and following a reinvigorated campaign to see the design adopted, in 2013 it was entered into a competition organised by a local law firm and local media to select a flag for the county which it duly won. The flag was registered with the Flag Institute on July 4th 2013 the day it was announced as the winner.
Things to see in Somerset
|Accessible open space|
||Museum (free/not free)|
- Cadbury Castle hillfort
- Cheddar and Cheddar Gorge
- Claverton Pumping Station
- Clevedon Court
- Dunster Watermill
- Fleet Air Arm Museum, RNAS Yeovilton
- Fyne Court
- Helicopter Museum, Weston-super-Mare
- King John's Hunting Lodge, Axbridge
- Montacute House
- Nunney Castle
- Somerset Levels
- Mendip Hills
- Quantock Hills
- Radstock Museum
- Somerset County Museum, Taunton
- Stembridge Tower Mill (the last remaining thatched windmill in Britain)
- West Somerset Railway
- The Wellington Monument, near Wellington
- Wells Cathedral and Bishop's Palace
- Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum
- Wookey Hole
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- Hudson (1971). The Fashionable Stone. Bath: Adams & Dart. ISBN 0-239-00066-8
- Bezzant, Norman (1980). Out of the Rock... London: William Heinemann Ltd. ISBN 0-434-06900-0
- Perkins, J.W., Brooks, A.T. and McR. Pearce, A.E. (1979). Bath Stone: a quarry history. Cardiff: Department of Extra-mural Studies, University College Cardiff. ISBN 0-906230-26-8
- (n/a)(1998).Images of England: Bridgwater (Compiled from the collections at Admiral Blake Museum). Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-1049-0
- Evans, Roger; Peter Nichols (2005). Somerset Carnivals: A Celebration of 400 Years. Tiverton: Halsgrove. ISBN 978-1841144832.
- "Extra Glastonbury Tickets Snapped Up". Contact Music. 22 April 2007. http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/extra-glastonbury-tickets-snapped-up_1028793. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- Mark Adler (August 2006). "It's my party". Mendip Times 2 (3): 14–15. http://www.mendiptimes.co.uk/.
- "King Arthur and Glastonbury". Britain Express. http://www.britainexpress.com/Myths/Glastonbury_King_Arthur.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- "Glastonbury Abbey's official website". Glastonbury Abbey. http://www.glastonburyabbey.com/. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
- Jenkins, Simon (2000). England's Thousand Best Churches. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-029795-2.
- "Somersetshire" in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911
- Victoria History of the Counties of England – History of the County of Somerset. Oxford: Oxford University Press, for: The Institute of Historical Research.
- 2nd link to on-line version (not all volumes)
- Volume I: Natural History, Prehistory, Domesday
- Volume II: Ecclesiastical History, Religious Houses, Political, Maritime, and Social and Economic History, Earthworks, Agriculture, Forestry, Sport.
- Volume III: Pitney, Somerton, and Tintinhull hundreds.
- Volume IV: Crewkerne, Martock, and South Petherton hundreds.
- Volume V: Williton and Freemanors hundred.
- Volume VI: Andersfield, Cannington and North Petherton hundreds (Bridgwater and neighbouring parishes).
- Volume VII: Bruton, Horethorne and Norton Ferris Hundreds.
- Volume VIII: The Poldens and the Levels.
- Volume IX: Glastonbury and Street, Baltonsborough, Butleigh, Compton Dundon, Meare, North Wootton, Podimore, Milton, Walton, West Bradley, and West Pennard.
- Adkins, Lesley and Roy (1992). A Field Guide to Somerset Archaeology. Wimborne, Dorset: Dovecote Press. ISBN 978-0946159949.
- Mick Aston; Ian Burrow (1982). The Archaeology of Somerset: A review to 1500 AD. Somerset: Somerset County Council.. ISBN 0861830288.
- Mick Aston (1988). Aspects of the Mediæval Landscape of Somerset & Contributions to the landscape history of the county. Somerset: Somerset County Council. ISBN 0861831292.
- Robin Bush (historian) (1994). Somerset: The complete guide. Wimborne, Dorset: Dovecote Press. ISBN 187433627X.
- Costen, Michael (1992). The origins of Somerset. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719036755.
- Croft, Robert; Mick Aston (1993). Somerset from the air: An aerial Guide to the Heritage of the County. Somerset: Somerset County Council. ISBN 978-0861832156.
- Dunning, Robert (1995). Somerset Castles. Somerset: Somerset Books. ISBN 0861832787.
- Leach, Peter (2001). Roman Somerset. Wimborne, Dorset: The Dovecote Press. ISBN 1874336938.
- Little, Bryan (1983). Portrait of Somerset. London: Robert Hale Ltd. ISBN 0709009151.
- Palmer, Kingsley (1976). The Folklore of Somerset. London: Batsford. ISBN 0713431660.
- Robinson, Stephen (1992). Somerset Place Names. Wimborne, Dorset: The Dovecote Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-874336-03-7.
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