Facts about Devon
The term “Devon” is normally used for everyday purposes, e.g. “Devon County Council” but “Devonshire” continues to be used in the names of the “Devonshire and Dorset Regiment” (until 2007) and “The Devonshire Association”. One erroneous theory is that the “shire” suffix is due to a mistake in the making of the original letters patent for the Duke of Devonshire, resident in Derbyshire. However, there are references to “Defenascire” in Anglo-Saxon texts from before 1000 AD, which translates to modern English as “Devonshire”.
Kents Cavern in Torquay had produced human remains from 30 to 40,000 years ago. Dartmoor is thought to have been occupied by Mesolithic hunter-gatherer peoples from about 6000 BC. The Romans held the area under military occupation for around 350 years. Later, the area began to experience Saxon incursions from the east around 600 AD, firstly as small bands of settlers along the coasts of Lyme Bay and southern estuaries and later as more organised bands pushing in from the east.
Devon is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north-east and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge and West Devon.
During the British Iron Age, Roman Britain and the early Middle Ages, this was the homeland of the Dumnonii Brittonic Celts. The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain resulted in the partial assimilation of Dumnonia into the Kingdom of Wessex during the eighth and ninth centuries. The western boundary with Cornwall was set at the River Tamar by King Æthelstan in 936. Devon was later constituted as a shire of the Kingdom of England.