England has been settled by humans of various cultures for over 29,000 years but it takes its name from the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes who settled Great Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in AD 927 and after the Age of Discovery has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world. England was where the English language, the Anglican Church and English law, which forms the basis of the common lawlegal systems of countries around the world, developed. The innovations that came from England have been widely adopted by other nations, such as its parliamentary system, which is the world's oldest. During the 18th century England underwent the Industrial Revolution and became the first country in the world to industrialise. Its Royal Society laid the foundations of modern experimental science.
The landscape consists of the valley of the River Chew and is generally low-lying and undulating. It is bounded by higher ground ranging from Dundry Down to the north, the Lulsgate Plateau to the west, the Mendip Hills to the south and the Hinton Blewett, Marksbury and Newton Saint Loe plateau areas to the east. The valley's boundary generally follows the top of scarp slopes except at the southwestern and southeastern boundaries where flat upper areas of the Chew Valley grade gently into the Yeo Valley and eastern Mendip Hills respectively. The River Chew was dammed in the 1950s to create Chew Valley Lake, which provides drinking water for the nearby city of Bristol and surrounding areas. The lake is a prominent landscape feature of the valley, a focus for recreation, and is internationally recognised for its nature conservation interest, because of the bird species, plants and insects.
After Mary Godwin's mother died giving birth to her, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. When Mary was three, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin fell in love with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.