county S England ∗ Dorchester area 1062 square miles (2750 square kilometers), pop 645,200
Variants of DORSET
Dor·set or Dor·set·shire\-ˌshir, -shər\
Administrative (pop., 2001: 390,986), geographic, and historic county, southwestern England. It is located on the English Channel; its county seat is Dorchester. Prehistoric peoples were active in the area and left abundant monuments dating from the Neolithic Period, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, including Maiden Castle, a huge earthworks just outside Dorchester. The area subsequently became part of the West Saxon kingdom. As Wessex, it appears in the writings of Thomas Hardy.