Celebrating Somerset Day
Believe or not, but Somerset actually has its own county day: 11th May. As a proud Somerset double glazing company, Majestic Designs thought we’d create a quick guide to Somerset Day and what you should do to celebrate!
11th May: Somerset Day
Organised by Passion for Somerset and Visit Somerset to promote the county and celebrate what makes Somerset special, the date was chosen from a range of dates that had special significance to Somerset by a special online poll. The 11th May itself marks Alfred the Great’s gathering of ‘all the people of Somerset’.
Who was Alfred the Great?
The legendary Anglo-Saxon king, Alfred the Great has an incredibly strong connection with Somerset, and it’s no surprise that a date relating to him was chosen for Somerset Day. Legend has it that he grew up here and knew the area well. All sorts of legends about his connection to the county have blossomed: everyone knows the story of Alfred burning the cakes and being scolded by an angry Somerset housewife.
Why a date concerned with Alfred the Great?
In 870 AD, the Vikings had overrun nearly every independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom, apart from Wessex: the ancient kingdom of which Somerset was once a part. Alfred and his ragged army had been defeated and were on the run. He decided to hide and plan a new campaign against the Danes from the relative safety of the thick marshes of the Somerset Levels. He built a fortress on the island of Athelney and steadily recruited an army to fight back against the Vikings.
This is where 11th May gains significance. The Anglo-Saxon chronicle (a kind of Anglo-Saxon diary) mentions that on the 11th of May Alfred gathered ‘all the people of Somerset’ and attacked the Vikings at Edington, near Bridgwater. He won, forced the Viking leader Guthrum and his men to convert to Christianity at Aller and by 880 AD was considered the King of all Anglo Saxon England. Not bad for a humble Somerset lad who couldn’t cook.
To this day Alfred is the only king to have the suffix -the great, attached to his name!
How will we celebrate Somerset day?
Listening to Adge Cutler and The Wurzels
Every person who considers themselves a true Somersetian will stand proudly to attention when the county’s unofficial anthem, ‘Drink up Thee Cider’ rings out. Written by the cult local hero, Adge Cutler, and played to this day by Scrumpy and Western band The Wurzels, ‘Drink up Thy Zider’ celebrates that most Somersetian of things: cider.
Drink some cider
Unsurprisingly, drinking some authentic Somerset cider will probably be one of the most popular (not to mention tasty) ways to celebrate Somerset Day. Cider making is a proud Somerset tradition that has been continuing for hundreds of years.
Majestic Designs: proud to celebrate Somerset Day this 11th May
As one of Somerset’s leading home improvement companies, Majestic Designs are incredibly proud to support and celebrate Somerset Day. To find out more about our high quality windows, doors or conservatories, please give us a call on 01934 741 294 or send us an email.