1 We were here first

Taunton, Somerset, is over 1,000 years old and was an important town back in Saxon times.

Taunton, Massachusetts, was incorporated as a town in 1639 – with most of its settlers having come from our Taunton.

 

                                                       Us

This is The West Country:

 

                                                     

 

 

                                                   

 

                                                        Them

This is The West Country:

 

2 We’re bigger than them

Our population hovers around the 60,000 mark while theirs is a measly 55,000.

3 We've got more things to do

Type 'things to do in Taunton, Massachusetts' into Google and the results are clear – there are 16 things to do in our Taunton, and only 15 in theirs.

This is The West Country:

According to tripadvisor.com, the top attraction in Taunton, Massachusetts, is the Gertrude Boyden Wildlife Sanctuary, which offers hiking trails, a botanical garden, bird watching and picnic grounds.

If that doesn't take your fancy, you could try a trip to the Old Colony Historical Society, BaHa Brothers' Sandbar Grill, or the Bay State Skydiving Center.

4 Their celebrities are rubbish

Whether it's actors, sports stars or celebrity chefs, Taunton has more than its fair share of famous sons and daughters (some of whom we listed last week).

According to Wikipedia, Taunton, Massachusetts counts among its celebrity residents Abraham Briggs, Darius Couch, William Croad Lovering and John “Beans” Reardon – nope, I've never heard of them either.

(This is the late 19th/early 20th century politician William Croad Lovering. Obviously.)

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5 They make medals...we make medallists

The economy of Taunton, Massachusetts, has historically been built on shipbuilding and silversmithing. Taunton company Reed and Barton made the medals for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Equestrian star Deb Criddle (pictured below, born in Taunton, Somerset) has six Paralympic medals, including four golds.

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6 I went there once....can't remember much about it now

On a family holiday to Massachusetts in my teens, my Dad insisted on taking us to Taunton to see how it compared to our county town.

All I can remember is us stopping somewhere for a cup of tea (we probably had to settle for coffee) and the shop owner being slightly bemused when my Dad pointed out that their town was based on ours.

I remember loads of other stuff about that holiday – beaches, boat trips, agonising sunburn – but Taunton, Massachusetts, failed to leave a lasting impression.

And three reasons our Taunton isn’t as good as theirs

1 They have two cool nicknames

Taunton, Massachusetts, is known as the "Silver City" for economic reasons (see above) but also as “Christmas City” - a nod to its large annual lights displays (see below), the first of which was in December 1914.

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2 Martin Scorsese hasn’t filmed in our Taunton....yet

In 2008, the legendary Hollywood director shot parts of the Leonardo DiCaprio psychological thriller, Shutter Island, in Taunton, Massachusetts – it’s a pretty good film too.

This is The West Country:

 

3 We don’t have a Hockomock Swamp

We do have some great names in this part of the world – Curry Mallett, Burrow Mump, Holcombe Rogus - but the Hockomock Swamp, most of which is found within Taunton, Massachusetts, takes some beating.

It was used as a fortress by a Native American tribe in the 1600s.

Over the centuries, it has spawned many stories and legends, and remains “a place of mystery and fear” – according to its Wikipedia entry.

Making the news in Taunton, Massachusetts, this week (headlines from the Taunton Daily Gazette): 

Taunton man charged with assault to murder in alleged stabbing

Yo-yo artist puts on a show at Our Lady of Lourdes in Taunton

Special Olympians compete in bowling qualifier in Taunton