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Somerset contains HM Prison Shepton Mallet, which was England's oldest prison still in use prior to its closure in 2013, having opened in 1610.The Industrial Revolution in the Midlands and Northern England spelled the end for most of Somerset's cottage industries.The British held back Saxon advance into the south-west for some time longer, but by the early eighth century King Ine of Wessex had pushed the boundaries of the West Saxon kingdom far enough west to include Somerset.with fortifications such as Dunster Castle used for control and defence.Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills such as the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park, and large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels.There is evidence of human occupation from Paleolithic times, and of subsequent settlement in the Celtic, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods.
During the Second World War the county was a base for troops preparing for the D-Day landings.
On the authority of the future emperor Vespasian, as part of the ongoing expansion of the Roman presence in Britain, the Second Legion Augusta invaded Somerset from the south-east in AD 47.
The county remained part of the Roman Empire until around AD 409, when the Roman occupation of Britain came to an end.
The first known use of Somersæte is in the law code of King Ine who was the Saxon King of Wessex from 688 to 726, making Somerset along with Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset one of the oldest extant units of local government in the world.
The Old English name is used in the motto of the county, Sumorsǣte ealle, meaning "all the people of Somerset".