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Encyclopedia > Ridings

This page refers to a Riding as a unit in local government. For the more usual meaning, see horse and related articles

In the British Isles and Canada, a riding is traditionally a sub-division of a county. The word is a corruption of the Old Norse žrišing (thridhing or thrithing) meaning a third part. The term was also used in 19th century Canada to refer to sub-divisions of counties - today, the word riding is a semi-official term for an electoral division.

British Isles

Traditionally, Yorkshire has three ridings, East, North, and West, which were themselves subdivided into wapentakes.

The ridings had separate county councils until 1974. A local government body called East Riding of Yorkshire was reestablished in 1996.

Lindsey, a subdivision of Lincolnshire, also possessed Ridings, in this case the North, West, and South ridings.

County Tipperary in the Republic of Ireland was divided in the 19th century into two (not three) ridings, Tipperary North Riding and Tipperary South Riding — the divisions remain but these have since been renamed simply 'North Tipperary' and 'South Tipperary'.

The term Farthing (four-thing) is analogous. Gloucestershire was once divided into Farthings, and in the fictional universe of Middle-earth, The Shire is divided into four Farthings.


In the semi-official jargon of Canadian politics, a riding is a constituency or electoral district. The term is derived from the English local government term, which was widely used in Canada in the 19th century. Most Canadian counties never had sufficient population to justify administrative sub-divisions. Nonetheless, it was common, especially in Ontario to divide counties with sufficient population to multiple electoral divisions, which thus became known as "ridings" in official documents. Soon after Confederation, the urban population grew (and more importantly, most city dwellers gained the franchise after property ownership was no longer required to gain the vote). Rural constituencies therefore became geographically larger through the 20th century and generally encompassed one or more counties each, and the word "riding" was then used to refer to any electoral division. The local association for a political party is known as a riding association. See: Electoral district (Canada)

  • Information about Canadian ridings (http://www.canpolitics.com)

  Results from FactBites:
Riding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (875 words)
According to the 12th-century compilation known as the laws of Edward the Confessor, the riding was the third part of a county (provincia); to it causes were brought which could not be determined in the wapentake, and a matter which could not be determined in the riding was brought into the court of the shire.
In Canadian politics, a "riding" is a colloquial term for a constituency or electoral district.
Ridings existed in rural New Zealand until the popularisation of the automobile with the improvement of roads, and the concurrent urban drift.
Riding association - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (324 words)
In Canadian politics a riding association (French: association de comtƩ), officially called an electoral district association (association de circonscription) is the basic unit of a political party, that is it is the party's organization at the level of the electoral constituency or riding.
Major political parties attempt to have a riding association in each constituency though, usually, these associations are more active in ridings where the party has an elected Member of Parliament or has a reasonable chance of electing an MP in the future, and less active in ridings where the party's prospects have historically been poor.
Riding associations were more important in this aspect in the past when they would elect supporters of a particular leadership candidate to participate as delegates at a leadership convention.
  More results at FactBites »



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