Letters: Smallest county of all time

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The Independent Online
From Mr Alan Freke Sir: Roderick Dixon (letter, 15 December) should know better than to imagine that the Isle of Wight was ever England's smallest county. This distinction is held by somewhere much closer to his Somerset home. In 1373 Bristol was createda county separate from both Somerset and Gloucestershire by King Edward III "for all time". At 10,954 hectares (27,067 acres) it is only a quarter of the area of the Isle of Wight.

It temporarily lost county status in 1974 at the last local government reorganisation but by 1996 the Government has promised a return to county status.

Yours faithfully, ALAN FREKE Frenchay, Avon 15 December