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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.

Compare Arcadia and Fictional Country.

Examples of Barset Shire include:


Literature Edit

  • 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).


Live-Action TV Edit

  • 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).

Radio Edit

Western Animation Edit

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