LETTERS : Smallest county

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From Ms Audrey Bateman Sir: I must challenge Alan Freke's claim (letter, 19 December) that Bristol was England's smallest ever country. In 1461 Edward IV declared the city of Canterbury to be a country ``distinct and quite separate from that of Kent for ever''. The acreage of the city of Canterbury until the local government reorganisation in 1974 was 3,975 - 23,092 less than that of Bristol. The ``for ever'' lasted more than 500 years.

Yours sincerely, AUDREY BATEMAN Whitstable, Kent