Southern England

Southern England

Southern England is an imprecise term used to refer to the southern counties of England. Differing usages apply the term with varying geographic extents.

Southern England, The South or The South of England refers to the parts of England south of an ill-defined line. The South is considered by many to be a cultural region with an identity separate from that of the rest of England. The special cultural, political and economic characteristics of "the South" are, however, not universally agreed upon, nor are its geographical limits and stereotypes of the South mask the cultural, physical and historical differences within this region.

Concepts of the South take account of perceived 'Southern' regional accents. Experts on historical dialects categorise as Southern the area south of a line that begins at the Humber estuary, runs up the river Wharfe and across to the River Lume in north Lancashire [See, for example, John Wells, "Accents of English Volume 2", pages 349-350, or Peter Trudgill, "The Dialects of England", pages 39-41] ; however, the linguistic elements that traditionally defined this area, such as use of "down" instead of "doon" or substitution of an -ong noise in words that end -ang (e.g. "long" instead of "lang"), have now died out. As speech has changed, there is little consensus on what defines a "Southern" accent or dialect.


The South is characterised by being generally flat except for a notable hill range known as the Chiltern Hills.


The term "Southerners" is used to refer to people identified with the South, though it is often rejected by many because it incorrectly asserts a common identity across Southern England. The term "southern" is often loosely used without any deeper consideration of the geographical identities of Southern England, leading to confusion over the depth of affiliation between its areas.

As in much of the rest of England, people tend to have a deeper affiliation to their county or their City. Thus, Essex people would be unlikely to feel much affinity with those from across in Oxfordshire. Similarly, there is a strong distinction between natives of Bristol and those of Reading.


"See History of Rugby League"

The sport of rugby experienced a schism in 1895 with many teams based in Yorkshire and surrounding areas breaking from the Rugby Football Union and forming their own League. The disagreement that led to the split was over the issue of professional payments, and "broken time" or injury payments. Until recent times, there has been a perception that 'league' was the code of rugby played in the north, whilst 'union' was the code played in the south.


In most definitions Southern England includes all the counties on/near the English Channel. In terms of the current ceremonial counties:
*Isle of Wight
*West Sussex
*East Sussex
*Greater London

Several of these counties are, however, commonly reckoned as part of the West Country, which in some usages may be treated as mutually exclusive with Southern England.

The exact northern extent likewise varies. In the west it can include Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire, though these are sometimes considered part of the Midlands. The counties between the Midlands and London (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire) may sometimes be considered part of Southern England, as may the counties of East Anglia (Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk).

On a maximal definition, the northern boundary thus approximately corresponds to an imaginary line drawn from the Severn Estuary to the Wash (or, expressed in terms of towns, from Gloucester to King's Lynn). If government office regions were to be used as a basis, this area would comprise South East England and South West England, Greater London, and the East of England.


The term "Southerners" is often rejected by many in that it asserts a common identity across certain geographical areas that "southern England" defines. The term "southern" is often loosely used without any deeper consideration of the geographical identities of southern England, leading to confusion over the depth of affiliation between its areas.

ee also

* Home Counties
* Constitutional Status of Cornwall
* North-South divide in the United Kingdom

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