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Devon became a frontier between Brittonic and Anglo-Saxon Wessex, and it was largely absorbed into Wessex by the mid 9th century.
A genetic study carried out by the University of Oxford & University College London discovered separate genetic groups in Cornwall and Devon, not only were there differences on either side of the Tamar, with a division almost exactly along the modern county boundary dating back to the 6th Century but also between Devon and the rest of Southern England, and similarities with the modern northern France, including Brittany.
"Devon County Council" but "Devonshire" continues to be used in the names of the "Devonshire and Dorset Regiment" (until 2007) and "The Devonshire Association".
One erroneous theory is that the "shire" suffix is due to a mistake in the making of the original letters patent for the Duke of Devonshire, resident in Derbyshire.
For example, the Order of Brothelyngham—a fake monastic order of 1348—regularly rode through Exeter, kidnapping both religious and laymen, and extorting money from them as ransom.
Later, the area began to experience Saxon incursions from the east around 600 AD, firstly as small bands of settlers along the coasts of Lyme Bay and southern estuaries and later as more organised bands pushing in from the east.
This suggests the Anglo-Saxon migration into Devon was limited rather than a mass movement of people.
The border with Cornwall was set by King Æthelstan on the east bank of the River Tamar in 936 AD.
Devon's tin miners enjoyed a substantial degree of independence through Devon's Stannary Parliament, which dates back to the 12th century. Like neighbouring Cornwall to the west, historically Devon has been disadvantaged economically compared to other parts of Southern England, owing to the decline of a number of core industries, notably fishing, mining and farming.
Agriculture has been an important industry in Devon since the 19th century.