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The Trope Namer is a fictitious county in England, created by Anthony Trollope and later re-used and developed by Angela Thirkell. A Barsetshire is the setting for a series of novels, containing one or a few small towns and a lot of countryside. Novels set in a Barsetshire are basically light domestic comedies, though they may have occasional nuggets of melodrama, drama, or even tragedy. Nothing blatantly science-fictional, fantastic, or paranormal takes place (except for the occasional ghost story or local legend related by a character), and any crime or espionage drama is muted and secondary.
In short, you go to Barsetshire for a quiet, relaxing time, in the expectation of being gently amused more than anything else.
A Barsetshire is connected to the real world, and the people can go off and visit London or New York freely, or have visitors or emigres from such places. Often, real-world history is visible. A Barsetshire is distinct from other fictional towns in mainstream novels by being the setting for a whole series, in which the same characters and places appear over and over, though different ones may take center stage in any given book.
- The Chronicles of Barsetshire by Anthony Trollope, set in the 19th century:
- The Warden
- Barchester Towers
- Doctor Thorne
- Framley Parsonage
- The Small House at Allington
- The Last Chronicle of Barset
- The Barsetshire novels of Angela Thirkell, set in the first half of the 20th century, including:
- High Rising
- The Demon in the House
- Pomfret Towers
- The Brandons
- Before Lunch
- Cheerfulness Breaks In
- and many more.
- Pretty much every novel written by Jane Austen.
- The Fairacre novels of Miss Read [Dora Jessica Saint], set in the later 20th century and usually narrated by the local schoolteacher.
- The Thrush Green novels of the same Miss Read, set in the later 20th century and usually narrated in the third person.
- The Mitford novels of Jan Karon.
- The training cruiser in the novel We Joined The Navy is HMS Barsetshire
- The fictional island of Sodor from The Railway Series.
- Jilly Cooper's Rutshire novels are set in one of these.
- British books of etiquette sometimes use "Barsetshire" as a placeholder location when describing how to address the aristocracy, so for instance the section on how to address a Duke will refer to the "Duke of Barsetshire".
- A rare fantastic example, a large number of stories from the Cthulhu Mythos happens in little fictional towns of New England, with many recurring characters (although most of them are driven mad).
- The theme-named county of Midsomer.
- Considering the murder rate, anyone going there for a quiet, relaxing time is Too Dumb to Live.
- Mercilessly parodied by Craggy Island in Father Ted (it's admittedly an Irish equivalent of this trope).
- The Archers is set in fictional "Borsetshire".
- Thomas the Tank Engine, the long-running TV adaptation of the The Railway Series, set on the island of Sodor.