Somersetshire and Somerset

Discussion in 'BOARDANIA' started by Maljonic, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Maljonic Administrator

    The guy who did the Terry Pratchett interview on the fron page asked me if it was all right to say Somersetshire as well as Somerset, what the difference is between the two.

    I said I was sure but thought that Somersetshire was probably just an older name for Somerset, or perhaps it had changed its borders slightly at some point and shortend the name. Does anyone know the actual answer to this? :)
  2. Electric_Man Templar

    It's definitely Somerset now, no idea about in the past. I have heard of Devonshire before, but it may be some american thing - pure speculation again!

    I have noticed that he spelt High Wycombe wrongly in the article though (he wrote Wickham), believe me, I know the correct spelling ;) Unless of course, he travelled (checks online map for High Wickhams) about 100 miles to the nearest one to where he grew up.*

    Despite that, a very interesting article.

    *edit: just realised that there are no exact matches for High Wickham, there's a normal Wickham about 50 miles away and one about 120 odd away. I must be definitely right, the interviewer can't spell the name of my town!
  3. Pixel New Member

    I don't think Devonshire is an American thing - when I have been in Devon, the menus/signs refer to Devonshire Cream Teas, not Devon Cream Teas. For the uninitiated, a Devonshire Cream Tea involves scones (a bakery item for which the closest description I can come up with is "a cross between pastry and bun") with jam on (usually strawberry) and clotted cream on top (cream thick enough to spread - more dense than whipped cream).
  4. Cynical_Youth New Member

    I've been studying Anglo-Saxon culture at uni this term. I've heard both Devon and Devonshire used. It's definitely not an American thing. They may have simply dropped it at some point. I'll ask my teacher about it.

    I also now know that the -combe in Wycombe comes from the Celts. :)
  5. Electric_Man Templar

    Yeah, I've heard that before, but can't for the life of me remember what the 'combe' stands for. The 'Wy' bit is simple, from the river that runs through the town (though it's spelt 'Wye')
  6. sleepy_sarge New Member

    *harks back to Old/Middle English studies*

    Actually I think "combe" comes from the Briton (as opposed to Celtic) kumb, meaning valley which was adopted into Old English as cumb and thus yielded numerous placeĀ­names containing Combe and Coombe.

    So valley of the Wye sound right?

    As regards Devonshire, Somersetshire etc. I don't know for sure, but I do believe they are just interchangeable. Certainly both "shire" versions go back a long way. Duke of Devonshire, Somersetshire Canal etc.
  7. Cynical_Youth New Member

    I have my notes in front of me, taken last week. Under Celts it says -combe as well as some river names like Usk and Exe.

    It may depend on your definition of Celts. I know that in relation to the Angles, Saxons and Jutes they were referred to as Britons. Britons were Celts.

    Edit: Source:
    Quote: The use of "Combe" or "Coombe" as part of many place names comes from the Celtic word kumb, which meant "valley", and was adopted into OE.
  8. sleepy_sarge New Member

    Ahh that may be it. Makes sense when you think about it! (Breton/Briton)

    Well it was all a long time ago (my studies I mean!!) :)
  9. Electric_Man Templar

    *remembers the walk home from school, down one hill and up another*

    Yep, valley sounds about right!
  10. Hermia New Member

    Whilst I have also heard lots of references to Devonshire, I have never heard Somersetshire used. And I have spent [i:7444b98386]a lot[/i:7444b98386] of time in Somerset, read the folk tales and the old poems, eaten the cheese, drunk the cider, talked to the yokels and visited the fairies, and I have never, ever, heard the term Somersetshire.

    Either it doesn't exist or I am about to be proved both ignorant and arrogant.

Share This Page