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county (1991 pop. 459,100), 1,333 sq mi (3,453 sq km), SW England, on the Bristol Channel. The county seat is TauntonTaunton
, city (1991 pop. 47,793), county seat of Somerset, SW England, on the Trove River. Its industries include the manufacture of textiles, shirts, gloves, and precision instruments. Taunton is also a market and railroad junction. Tourism is economically important.
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. The terrain is generally low and flat in the center (the location of the Somerset Levels), with the Mendip Hills to the east and Exmoor National Park and the Quantock Hills to the west. The principal rivers are the Bristol Avon, the Exe, and the Parrett and tributaries, whose fertile valleys are devoted to agriculture. Dairy farming (cheddar cheese), cider production, and fruit growing are important, and much of the land is devoted to cattle grazing. Woolens, leather goods, and other products are manufactured. Coal and limestone were once extracted.

There are prehistoric remains at CheddarCheddar,
village, Somerset, SW England. It is chiefly a tourist center. Limestone is quarried, and strawberries are grown. Nearby Cheddar Gorge towers c.400 ft (120 m) high, with imposing limestone cliffs and numerous caves from which relics of prehistoric man have been
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 and GlastonburyGlastonbury
, town (1991 pop. 6,751), Somerset, SW England. It has a leather industry, but Glastonbury is famous for its religious associations and many legends. One legend tells that St. Joseph of Arimathea founded the first Christian church in England there.
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. BathBath,
city (1991 pop. 84,283), Bath and North East Somerset, SW England, in the Avon River valley. Britain's leading winter resort, Bath has the only natural hot springs in the country. Engineering, printing, bookbinding, wool-weaving, and clothing are among Bath's industries.
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, which historically was part of the county but now is administratively separate, is the site of some of the most important Roman remains in Britain; Bath reached its greatest importance as a fashionable watering place in the 18th cent. In the early Middle Ages the region became a part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of WessexWessex
, one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England. It may have been settled as early as 495 by Saxons under Cerdic, who is reputed to have landed in Hampshire. Cerdic's grandson, Ceawlin (560–93), annexed scattered Saxon settlements in the Chiltern Hills and drove the
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. The county has associations with King Alfred and the legend of King Arthur, and Glastonbury is important in England's religious legend and history. The churches of the county are famous, notably Wells Cathedral. In 1974, Somerset was reorganized as a nonmetropolitan county.


1 City (1990 pop. 10,733), seat of Pulaski co., S Ky., in a farm, coal, and limestone area of the Cumberland foothills; inc. 1810. A railroad center, it has agriculture (tobacco, corn, wheat, livestock, poultry, and dairying) and diversified manufactures, including jewelry; metal, glass, and wood products; building materials; lumber; and granite monuments. 2 Residential town (1990 pop. 17,655), Bristol co., SE Mass., on the Taunton River; settled 1677, set off from Swansea and inc. 1790. It has varied manufacturing, including varnishes.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a county in Great Britain, in Cornwall, on the Bristol Channel. Population, 682,000 (1971). The largest city in the county is Taunton.



an island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, located south of Barrow Strait. Somerset Island covers an area of 24,300 sq km and rises to an elevation of 760 m. The small settlement of Fort Ross is located in the south.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1st Duke of, title of Edward Seymour. ?1500--52, English statesman, protector of England (1547--49) during Edward VI's minority. He defeated the Scots (1547) and furthered the Protestant Reformation: executed


a county of SW England, on the Bristol Channel: the Mendip Hills lie in the north and Exmoor in the west: the geographical and ceremonial county includes the unitary authorities of North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset (both part of Avon county from 1975 until 1996): mainly agricultural (esp dairying and fruit). Administrative centre: Taunton. Pop. (excluding unitary authorities): 507 500 (2003 est.). Area (excluding unitary authorities): 3452 sq. km (1332 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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