Seven Wells, Coomb, in the Quantock hills - vintage postcard
From Edward Freeman 'The Shire and the Gá', 1879:
'...as the land of Somerset is not called after the twon of Taunton, so neither is it
called after any other town. There is indeed within its borders a town bearing a kindred name, the King's town
of . But the
land of Somerset is not called after the town of Somerton; the name of the land and of the town are simply
cognate, derived from a common source, but neither of them derived from the other. But the difference is not merely a
difference of names: it is also a difference of facts. There is no town,
or any other, which stands to the
land of Somerset in the same relation in which the town of Northampton stands to the . (...)
'...in Somerset we have no one town which holds, or ever did hold, the same indisputable position as the local
capital. The largest town is the Roman city of ; but that, lying as it does in a corner, is wholly unsuitable for such a
purpose. Taunton does not lie so completely in a corner as Bath; but we of Wells sometimes keenly feel that
Taunton is not a geographical centre, and the map will show you that it is a great deal nearer to Devonshire than it is to .
Wells, more cental than Taunton, is much smaller; Glastonbury, most central of all, is smaller still. Somerton has its kindred
name and its precedence in Domesday; but it would hardly assert any more recent claims to the rank of a capital.
Ilchester, rival of Bath in antiquity, has really more historic claim to be looked on as the local
capital than any of the towns which I have spoken of. It was the place of the county elections down to the first
Reform Bill; it kept its county goal later still. But Ilchester lives only in the past; it has the memory of its
elections and the memory of its siege; it has the presence of the beautiful mace of its chief magistrate; but it would hardly venture now to put
forward a claim to be deemed the head of Somerset. (...)
An attractive market town.
Another attractive market town with an amazing churchyard.
Somerton was once the county town of Somerset
A bit of old Somerton. Somerton mill, Somerton flood