Waugh Cited in Defense of Somerset

Somerset County was rated as one of the 20 worst places to live in the UK. It ranked 14th on the list compiled by uSwitch, an internet consumer guide, which concluded that:

while the county has high rates of employment and a high life expectancy, house prices are high, and the county has a very high cost of living.

The Somerset County Gazette, based in Taunton, has published an article arguing the survey is wrong and offers 15 reasons to like Somerset. These include cider, cheese, and the Glastonbury Featival. Waugh is implicated in No. 14 : 

Poets, authors and more

Evelyn Waugh, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jane Austen – three great reasons to love the county. Just some of the great authors and poets from Somerset or whose work was inspired by Somerset. This year, the Friends of Coleridge are celebrating the bicentenary of the publication in 1816 of Coleridge’s visionary poem ‘Kubla Khan’.

The article also displays a photo of Waugh, who was an obvious choice especially for a paper printed in Taunton. Waugh lived his last 10 years in Combe Florey near Taunton, his father came from Midsomer Norton near Bath, and his wife from Pixton Park near Dulverton at the other end of the county. They might also have mentioned the classic  novel Lorna Doone (1869) by R D Blackmore which is set in Exmoor in the west of the county (although some of the action may have slipped over into neighboring Devon), the poem “East Coker” one of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets (1943) inspired by the south Somerset village of that name where his ashes are kept in the village church, and novelist Anthony Powell, Waugh’s friend who lived in Chantry near Frome in north Somerset and whose novel Hearing Secret Harmonies (1975) was set there.

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