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Encyclopedia > Traditional counties of England

The traditional counties of England are ancient subdivisions of England into around forty areas, which were used for both administrative and general geographical demarcation for several hundreds of years. Their use in administration was abolished, however, through a series of acts of Parliament culminating in the Local Government Act 1888 [1]. Over time some of these counties became established as a geographic reference frame. Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location (dark green) within the United Kingdom (light green), with the Republic of Ireland (blue) to its west Languages English Capital London Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population –mid-2004... Area is a physical quantity expressing the size of a part of a surface. ... States currently utilizing parliamentary systems are denoted in orange and red—the former being constitutional monarchies where authority is vested in a parliament, and the latter being parliamentary republics whose parliaments are effectively supreme over a separate head of state. ... The Local Government Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. ... Map of the Earth ( Medium) ( Large 2 MB) Table of geography, hydrography, and navigation, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... A frame of reference in physics is a set of axes which enable an observer to measure the aspect, position and motion of all points in a system relative to the reference frame. ...


The establishment of this set of counties had certainly begun by the 12th century, although many boundaries date from far earlier, incorporating Saxon and Celtic divisions; however, some borders did not assume their commonly-recognised form until considerably later, in some cases the 16th century. This was particularly the case in Wales and Scotland.


The informal phrase "traditional counties" does not refer to a single canonical set of boundaries from a particular point in time; it is used often however to refer to the (largely static) county boundaries which existed between the 16th Century Laws in Wales acts and the creation of administrative counties in the Local Government Act 1888 [2]. The traditional counties are referred to variously as "historic counties", particularly by groups that seek to promote them (eg. the Association of British Counties), or, in pre-1901 censuses, as the "ancient or geographic counties" [3] . The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 were a series of parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced in order to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction, which is frequently referred to as England... An administrative county is an administrative area in the British Isles. ... The Local Government Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. ... ABC map of counties, based approximately on reputed boundaries from first edition Ordnance Survey maps The Association of British Counties (ABC) is one of a small number of pressure groups in the United Kingdom dedicated to promoting the traditional counties of Britain. ...


After local government reform in the late 19th century these counties were no longer in general use for official geographical purposes (in favour of ceremonial counties or administrative counties), although these systems were largely based on the ancient boundaries and the postal counties often follow them. (See Counties of England for an overview of how the different types of county compare). The Ceremonial counties of England are areas of England that are appointed a Lord-Lieutenant, and are defined by the government with reference to the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England. ... The division into counties is one of the larger divisions of England. ... The postal counties of the United Kingdom, now known officially as the former postal counties, were subdivisions of the UK in routine use by the Royal Mail until 1996. ... The traditional counties as usually portrayed. ...


Various groups exist to promote their continued use, and people engaged in genealogy, family history, and local history tend to use the names of the counties that were used at the time being researched. Genealogy is the study and tracing of family pedigrees. ... Family history is the study of multiple generations of people who appear to be related. ... Local history is the study of the history of a relatively small geographic area; typically a specific settlement, parish or county. ...

Contents


The counties

  1. Bedfordshire
  2. Berkshire
  3. Buckinghamshire
  4. Cambridgeshire
  5. Cheshire *
  6. Cornwall
  7. Cumberland
  8. Derbyshire
  9. Devon
  10. Dorset
  11. County Durham *
  12. Essex
  13. Gloucestershire
  14. Hampshire
  15. Herefordshire
  16. Hertfordshire
  17. Huntingdonshire
  18. Kent
  19. Lancashire *
  20. Leicestershire
  1. Lincolnshire
  2. Middlesex
  3. Norfolk
  4. Northamptonshire
  5. Northumberland
  6. Nottinghamshire
  7. Oxfordshire
  8. Rutland
  9. Shropshire
  10. Somerset
  11. Staffordshire
  12. Suffolk
  13. Surrey
  14. Sussex
  15. Warwickshire
  16. Westmorland
  17. Wiltshire
  18. Worcestershire
  19. Yorkshire
* county palatine
† also known as Southamptonshire

‡ also known as Salop Bedfordshire is a county in England and forms part of the East of England region. ... Berkshire (IPA: or  ; sometimes abbreviated to Berks) is a county in England and forms part of the South East England region. ... Map of Bucks (1904) This article is about the English county. ... Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs) is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. ... The Cheshire Plain - photo taken adjacent to Beeston Castle The Cheshire Plain - photo taken towards Merseyside The Cheshire Plain - photo taken from Mid-Cheshire Ridge The Cheshire Plain panorama - photo taken from Mid-Cheshire Ridge Cattle farming in the county Cheshire (or archaically the County of Chester) is a palatine... Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow) is a county at the extreme South-West of England on the peninsula that lies to the west of the River Tamar. ... Cumberland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, and boasts some of Englands most attractive scenery. ... Devon is a large county in South West England, bordering on Cornwall to the west, Dorset and Somerset to the east. ... For other uses, see Dorset (disambiguation). ... County Durham is a county in north-east England. ... Essex is a county in the East of England. ... Gloucestershire (pronounced ; GLOSS-ter-sher) is a county in South West England. ... Hampshire (abbr. ... Herefordshire is a traditional and ceremonial county and unitary district in the West Midlands region of England in the United Kingdom. ... Hertfordshire (pronounced Har(t)fordshire and abbreviated as Herts) is an inland county in the United Kingdom, officially part of the East of England Government region. ... Huntingdonshire (abbreviated Hunts) is a part of England around Huntingdon, which is currently administered as a local government district of Cambridgeshire. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Leicestershire (abbreviated Leics) is a landlocked county in central England. ... Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a county in the East Midlands of England. ... Middlesex is one of the 39 historic counties of England. ... Norfolk (pronounced IPA: ) is a low-lying county in East Anglia in the east of southern England. ... Northamptonshire (abbreviated Northants or Nhants) is a landlocked county in central England with a population of 629,676 (2001 census). ... Northumberland is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in northern England. ... Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is an English county in the East Midlands, which borders South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in south-east England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ... Rutland is traditionally Englands smallest county and is bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Northamptonshire. ... Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Shrops) is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Somerset is a county in the south-west of England. ... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Suffolk (pronounced SUF-fk) is a large traditional and administrative county in the East Anglia region of eastern England. ... Surrey is a county in southern England, part of the South East England region and one of the Home Counties. ... Sussex is a traditional county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. ... Warwickshire (pronounced either /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃə/ or /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃɪə/) is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in central England. ... Westmorland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Wiltshire (abbreviated Wilts) is a large southern English county. ... Worcestershire (pronounced ; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... Based on Image:EnglandTraditionalBlank. ... A County palatine is an area ruled by an count palatine (or earl palatine); with special authority and autonomy from the rest of the kingdom. ... Hampshire is a county on the south coast of England. ...

The map omits all exclaves (detached parts) apart from the Furness part of Lancashire south of Cumberland and Westmorland. D is Bs exclave, but is not an enclave. ... Furness is a peninsula in north-west England. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Cumberland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Westmorland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ...


Monmouthshire was previously considered to be a county of England, but is now generally accepted to be part of Wales. Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy) is both a principal area and a traditional county in south-east Wales. ... Wales has thirteen traditional counties (or vice counties). ...


Counties named after towns were often legally known as the "County of" followed by the name of the town — Yorkshire would be referred to as "County of York". The modern usage is to use the suffix "-shire" only for counties named after towns, and for those which would otherwise have only one syllable. In the past, usages such as "Devonshire", "Dorsetshire" and "Somersetshire" were frequent. (There is still a Duke of Devonshire, who is not properly called the Duke of Devon.) Kent was a former kingdom of the Jutes and prior to that was a British kingdom called Ceint in honour of the Cantiaci tribe, so "Kentshire" was never used. The name of County Durham is anomalous. The expected form would be "Durhamshire", but it is never used. This is ascribed to that county's history as a county palatine ruled by the Bishop of Durham. Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... The Dukes of Devonshire are members of the aristocratic Cavendish family in the United Kingdom. ... The Jutes were a Germanic people who are believed to have originated from Jutland in modern Denmark and part of the Frisian coast. ... The Cantiaci were one of the Celtic tribes living in the British Islands, previous to the Roman invasion of Britain. ... County Durham is a county in north-east England. ... A County palatine is an area ruled by an count palatine (or earl palatine); with special authority and autonomy from the rest of the kingdom. ... Arms of the Bishop of Durham The Bishop of Durham is the officer of the Church of England responsible for the diocese of Durham, one of the oldest in the country. ...


Customary abbreviations exist for many of the counties. In most cases these consist of simple truncation, usually with an "s" at the end, such as "Berks." for Berkshire and "Bucks." for Buckinghamshire. Some abbreviations are not obvious, such as "Salop" for Shropshire, "Oxon" for Oxfordshire, "Hants" for Hampshire and "Northants" for Northamptonshire. Berkshire (IPA: or  ; sometimes abbreviated to Berks) is a county in England and forms part of the South East England region. ... Map of Bucks (1904) This article is about the English county. ... Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Shrops) is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in south-east England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ... Hampshire (abbr. ... Northamptonshire (abbreviated Northants or Nhants) is a landlocked county in central England with a population of 629,676 (2001 census). ...


Origin

This map shows the Domesday Book counties in 1086.
This map shows the Domesday Book counties in 1086.

The traditional counties accreted over hundreds of years, and have differing ages and origins. In southern England, they were subdivisions of the Kingdom of Wessex, and in many areas represented annexed, previously independent, kingdoms — such as Kent (from the Kingdom of Kent). Only one county on the south coast of England has the suffix "-shire". Hampshire is named after the former town of "Hampton", which is now the city of Southampton. Download high resolution version (642x802, 9 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Traditional counties of England Categories: GFDL images ... Download high resolution version (642x802, 9 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Traditional counties of England Categories: GFDL images ... Doomesday Book (also known as Domesday, or Book of Winchester), was the record of the great survey of England completed in 1086, executed for William the Conqueror, that was similar to a census by a government of today. ... Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location (dark green) within the United Kingdom (light green), with the Republic of Ireland (blue) to its west Languages English Capital London Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population –mid-2004... Wessex was one of the seven major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (the Heptarchy) that preceded the Kingdom of England. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... The Kingdom of Kent was a kingdom of Jutes in southeast England, one of the seven traditional kingdoms of the so-called Anglo-Saxon heptarchy. ... Hampshire (abbr. ... Night view of Taipei City. ... Southampton is a city and major port situated on the south coast of England. ...


When Wessex conquered Mercia in the 9th and 10th centuries, it subdivided the area into various shires, which tended to take the name of the main town (the county town) of the county, along with "-shire". Examples of these include Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. In many cases these have since been worn down — for example, Cheshire was originally "Chestershire". The general location of Mercia, along with the other peoples of Britain around the year 600. ... A county town is the capital of a county in Ireland or the United Kingdom. ... Northamptonshire (abbreviated Northants or Nhants) is a landlocked county in central England with a population of 629,676 (2001 census). ... Warwickshire (pronounced either /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃə/ or /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃɪə/) is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in central England. ... The Cheshire Plain - photo taken adjacent to Beeston Castle The Cheshire Plain - photo taken towards Merseyside The Cheshire Plain - photo taken from Mid-Cheshire Ridge The Cheshire Plain panorama - photo taken from Mid-Cheshire Ridge Cattle farming in the county Cheshire (or archaically the County of Chester) is a palatine...


Much of Northumbria was also shired, the best known of these counties being Hallamshire and Cravenshire. The Normans did not use these divisions, and so they are not generally included as traditional counties. After the Norman Conquest in 1066 and "The Harrying of the North", much of the north of the country was left depopulated; at the time of the Domesday Book northern England was covered by Cheshire and Yorkshire. The north-east, land that would later become County Durham and Northumberland, was left unrecorded. Hallamshire (or Hallam) is the historical name for an area of South Yorkshire, England. ... Craven is a local government district in the English county of North Yorkshire, centered around the market town of Skipton. ... Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Battle of Hastings The Norman Conquest of England was the conquest of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent Norman control of England. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Doomesday Book (also known as Domesday, or Book of Winchester), was the record of the great survey of England completed in 1086, executed for William the Conqueror, that was similar to a census by a government of today. ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... Northumberland is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in northern England. ...


Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, County Durham and Northumberland were established in the 12th century. Lancashire itself can be firmly dated to 1182. Part of the domain of the Bishops of Durham, Hexhamshire was split off and was considered an independent county until 1572. Cumberland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Westmorland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Northumberland is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in northern England. ... Hexhamshire was a historic county of northern England. ...


The border with Wales was not set until the Laws in Wales Act 1535 — this remains the modern border. In the Domesday Book the border counties had included parts of what would later become Wales — Monmouth, for example, being included in Herefordshire. The ancient town of Ludlow, now in Shropshire, was included in Herefordshire in Domesday. The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 were a series of parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced in order to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction, which is frequently referred to as England... This is about the Welsh town of Monmouth. ... Herefordshire is a traditional and ceremonial county and unitary district in the West Midlands region of England in the United Kingdom. ... Map sources for Ludlow at grid reference SO5174 Feathers Hotel, Ludlow (Photo by Mick Knapton) Ludlow is a town in Shropshire, situated almost on the border between England and Wales. ... Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Shrops) is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Herefordshire is a traditional and ceremonial county and unitary district in the West Midlands region of England in the United Kingdom. ...


Because of their different origins, the counties have wildly varying sizes. The huge Yorkshire was a successor to the Viking Kingdom of York, and at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 was considered to include northern Lancashire, Cumberland, and Westmorland. Lincolnshire was the successor to the Kingdom of Lindsey, and took on the territories of Kesteven and Holland when Stamford became the only Danelaw borough to fail to become a county town. A "Stamfordshire" was probably precluded by the existence of Rutland immediately to the west and north of Stamford — leaving it at the very edge of its associated territory. Rutland was an anomalous territory or Soke, associated with Nottinghamshire, that eventually became considered the smallest county. Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... Jorvik was the Viking name for the English city of York. ... Doomesday Book (also known as Domesday, or Book of Winchester), was the record of the great survey of England completed in 1086, executed for William the Conqueror, that was similar to a census by a government of today. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Cumberland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Westmorland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a county in the East Midlands of England. ... Lindsey or Linnuis is the name of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom that lay between the Humber and the Wash, forming its inland boundaries from the course of the Witham and Trent rivers (with the inclusion of an area inside of a marshy region south of the Humber known as the... Parts of Kesteven is a traditional subdivision of Lincolnshire, England. ... Parts of Holland is an area in south-east Lincolnshire, England. ... Stamford is a town on the River Welland in Lincolnshire, England. ... Green: Danelaw The Danelaw (from the Old English Dena lagu) is an 11th century name for an area of northern and eastern England under the administrative control of the Vikings (or Danes, or Norsemen) from the late 9th century. ... A county town is the capital of a county in Ireland or the United Kingdom. ... Rutland is traditionally Englands smallest county and is bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Northamptonshire. ... The term soke (in Old English: soc, connected ultimately with secan (to seek)), at the time of the Norman Conquest of England generally denoted jurisdiction, but due to vague usage probably lacks a single precise definition. ... Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is an English county in the East Midlands, which borders South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. ...


Traditional subdivisions

Yorkshire has three major subdivisions known as the ridings of Yorkshire: North Riding West Riding East Riding
Yorkshire has three major subdivisions known as the ridings of Yorkshire:
  1. North Riding
  2. West Riding
  3. East Riding

Some of the traditional counties have major subdivisions. Of these, the most important are the three ridings of Yorkshire — the East Riding, West Riding and North Riding. Since Yorkshire is so big, its Ridings became established as geographic terms quite apart from their original role as administrative divisions. The second largest county, Lincolnshire, is still administratively divided into three historic "Parts" (intermediate in size between county and wapentake) — of Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven. Other divisions include those of Kent into East Kent and West Kent, and of Sussex into East Sussex and West Sussex. numbered map of the three ridings of Yorkshire File links The following pages link to this file: Yorkshire Traditional counties of England Categories: GFDL images ... numbered map of the three ridings of Yorkshire File links The following pages link to this file: Yorkshire Traditional counties of England Categories: GFDL images ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... In the British Isles since Anglo-Saxon times, a riding is traditionally a sub-division (especially in three) of a county, in Australia analogous. ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... The North Riding of Yorkshire is one of the three traditional subdivisions of the English county of Yorkshire. ... The West Riding as an administrative county prior to its abolition in 1974. ... The East Riding of Yorkshire is a local government district in the United Kingdom. ... In the British Isles since Anglo-Saxon times, a riding is traditionally a sub-division (especially in three) of a county, in Australia analogous. ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... The East Riding of Yorkshire is a local government district in the United Kingdom. ... The West Riding as an administrative county prior to its abolition in 1974. ... The North Riding of Yorkshire is one of the three traditional subdivisions of the English county of Yorkshire. ... Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs) is a county in the East Midlands of England. ... A wapentake is a term derived from the Old Norse, the rough equivalent of an Anglo-Saxon hundred. ... Lindsey was a unit of local government until 1974 in Lincolnshire, England, covering the northern part of the county. ... Parts of Holland is an area in south-east Lincolnshire, England. ... Parts of Kesteven is a traditional subdivision of Lincolnshire, England. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... East Kent and West Kent are one-time traditional subdivisions of the English county of Kent, kept alive by the Association of the Men of Kent and Kentish Men: an organisation formed in 1913. ... West Kent is a traditional subdivision of the English county of Kent. ... Sussex is a traditional county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. ... East Sussex is a county in South East England. ... West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex (with Brighton and Hove), Hampshire and Surrey. ...


Several counties had liberties or Sokes within them that were administered separately. Cambridgeshire had the Isle of Ely, and Northamptonshire had the Soke of Peterborough. Such divisions were used by such entities as the Quarter Sessions courts and were inherited by the later county council areas. The word liberty, when used alone, has several possible meanings in the English language. ... The term soke (in Old English: soc, connected ultimately with secan (to seek)), at the time of the Norman Conquest of England generally denoted jurisdiction, but due to vague usage probably lacks a single precise definition. ... Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs) is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. ... The Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire, England, is a traditional region around the city of Ely. ... Northamptonshire (abbreviated Northants or Nhants) is a landlocked county in central England with a population of 629,676 (2001 census). ... Categories: United Kingdom-related stubs | Cambridgeshire ... The Courts of Quarter Sessions or Quarter Sessions were periodic courts held in each county and county borough in England and Wales until 1972, when together with the Assize courts they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court of England and Wales. ... In the British Isles, a county council is a council that governs a county. ...


Smaller subdivisions also exist. Most English counties were traditionally subdivided into hundreds, while Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire into wapentakes and Durham, Cumberland and Westmorland into wards. Kent and Sussex also had an intermediate level between their major subdivisions and their hundreds, known as lathes in Kent and rapes in Sussex. Hundreds or their equivalents are divided into tithings and parishes (the only class of these divisions still used administratively), which in turn were divided into townships and manors. A hundred is an administrative division, frequently used in Europe and New England, which historically was used to divide a larger region into smaller geographical units. ... A ward is an electoral district used in local politics, most notably in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and many cities in the United States and the federal district of Washington, DC. Wards are usually named after neighbourhoods... A lathe was an administrative division of the county of Kent, in England, from the Anglo-Saxon period until it fell entirely out of use in the early twentieth century. ... A tithe (from Old English teogotha tenth) is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax or levy, usually to support a religious organization. ... A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. ... The term township generally means the district or area associated with a town. ... Generic plan of a mediaeval manor; open-field strip farming, some enclosures, triennial crop rotation, demesne and manse, common woodland, pasturage and meadow Manorialism or Seigneurialism describes the organization of rural economy and society in medieval western and parts of central Europe, characterised by the vesting of legal and economic...


Authenticity and anomalies

This (rather inaccurate) 1814 map shows Dudley in a detached part of Worcestershire surrounded by Staffordshire. Note the detached portion of Shropshire just to the south-east and part of Staffordshire to the south-west as well.
This (rather inaccurate) 1814 map shows Dudley in a detached part of Worcestershire surrounded by Staffordshire. Note the detached portion of Shropshire just to the south-east and part of Staffordshire to the south-west as well.

There are at least two sets of county boundaries that have been put forward as the true and genuine traditional borders. The dispute is whether to accept an Act of Parliament in 1844 which purported to modify the counties by abolishing the many enclaves of counties within others, or whether to reject this as mere administrative convenience. from 1814 so PD This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Map sources for Dudley at grid reference SO9390 Dudley is a town in the West Midlands, England. ... Worcestershire (pronounced ; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. ... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Shrops) is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in the West Midlands region of England. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The Act itself says the detached parts shall "be considered" to be part of the county they locally lie in, not that they "shall be". However, this is a matter of disagreement within the traditional counties movement itself, with the Association of British Counties acknowledging the changes in its Gazetteer, and saying that the matter is "debatable".


The traditional counties have (even if the 1844 changes be accepted) many anomalies, and many small exclaves, where a parcel of land would be politically part of one county despite not being physically connected to the rest of the county. The most significant exclaves affected by the 1844 Act were the County Durham exclaves of Islandshire, Bedlingtonshire and Norhamshire, which were incorporated into Northumberland for administrative purposes — most of the others were smaller, including even a detached part of the Welsh county of Monmouthshire in Herefordshire, called Welsh Bicknor. This was created as late as 1651. D is Bs exclave, but is not an enclave. ... Islandshire is a region in England, centred around Lindisfarne or Holy Island, including many villages on the mainland. ... Bedlingtonshire is an area in England, centred around the town of Bedlington. ... Norhamshire or North Durham was an exclave of County Durham in England. ... Northumberland is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in northern England. ... For an explanation of often confusing terms such as Great Britain, Britain, United Kingdom, England and Wales and England, see British Isles (terminology). ... Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy) is both a principal area and a traditional county in south-east Wales. ... Herefordshire is a traditional and ceremonial county and unitary district in the West Midlands region of England in the United Kingdom. ... Welsh Bicknor (Welsh: Llangystennin Garth Brenni) is an area of Herefordshire known as a detached parish (exclave) of the traditional county of Monmouthshire. ...


Exclaves which the 1844 Act did not touch include the part of Derbyshire around Donisthorpe, locally in Leicestershire; and most of the larger exclaves of Worcestershire, including the town of Dudley, which is locally situated in Staffordshire. Additionally the Furness portion of Lancashire remains separated from the rest of Lancashire by a narrow strip of Westmorland — though accessible by the Morecambe Bay tidal flats. Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, and boasts some of Englands most attractive scenery. ... Donisthorpe is a village whose center is in the English county of Derbyshire, next to the River Mease which there forms the border with the neighbouring county of Leicestershire. ... Leicestershire (abbreviated Leics) is a landlocked county in central England. ... Worcestershire (pronounced ; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. ... Map sources for Dudley at grid reference SO9390 Dudley is a town in the West Midlands, England. ... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Furness is a peninsula in north-west England. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Westmorland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Morecambe Bay at low tide from Hest Bank, looking towards Grange-over-Sands. ... Mudflats are relatively flat, muddy regions found in intertidal areas. ...


Several towns are historically divided between counties, including Newmarket, Royston, Stamford, Tamworth and Todmorden — in some cases with the county boundary running right up the middle of the high street. In Todmorden, the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire is said to run through the middle of the town hall. Map sources for Newmarket at grid reference TL6463 Local celebrity jockey Frankie Detorri in the parade ring at Newmarket after riding in the 2000 Guineas 2005 Newmarket is a market town in the English county of Suffolk, approximately 65 miles north of London, which has grown and become famous because... Location within the British Isles Royston is the most northern town in Hertfordshire. ... Tamworth town centre Map sources for Tamworth at grid reference SK2203 Tamworth is a historic town and local government district in Staffordshire England, located 17 miles (25 km) north-east from the city of Birmingham. ... Todmorden is a town in the county of West Yorkshire, England. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... City Hall is a 1996 film directed by Harold Becker. ...


Usage

During the 20th century, numerous local government reforms made the usage of county names somewhat confused.


When the first county councils were set up in 1888, they covered newly created entities known as administrative counties, and defined in terms of the "counties". The Local Government Act 1888 also contained wording to create both a new "administrative county" and "county" of London, and to ensure the statutory "counties" consisted of agglomerations of administrative counties and county boroughs. These counties were to be used "for all purposes, whether sherriff, lieutenant, custos rotulorum, justices, militia, coroner, or other". In retrospect, these statutory counties can be identified as the predecessors of the ceremonial counties of England. The Local Government Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. ... The County of London (in red), super imposed upon todays Greater London area, to show the difference in size with post-1965 Borough boundaries The County of London was an administrative county of England from 1888 to 1965. ... County borough was a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom to refer to a borough or a city independent of county administration. ...


These counties are the ones usually shown on maps of the early to mid 20th century, and largely displaced the traditional counties in such uses.


In 1974 a major local government reform took place, through the 1972 Local Government Act. This abolished administrative counties and created replacements for them called in the statute simply "metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties". Several administrative counties, such as Cumberland, Herefordshire, Rutland, Westmorland and Worcestershire vanished from the administrative map (following Huntingdonshire and Middlesex which had similarly disappeared in 1965), whilst new entities such as Avon, Cleveland, Cumbria and Humberside appeared, in addition to the six new metropolitan counties. The Local Government Act 1972 (1972 c. ... Cumberland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Herefordshire is a traditional and ceremonial county and unitary district in the West Midlands region of England in the United Kingdom. ... Rutland is traditionally Englands smallest county and is bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Northamptonshire. ... Westmorland is one of the 39 traditional counties of England. ... Worcestershire (pronounced ; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. ... Huntingdonshire (abbreviated Hunts) is a part of England around Huntingdon, which is currently administered as a local government district of Cambridgeshire. ... Middlesex is one of the 39 historic counties of England. ... Northavon Bristol Kingswood Woodspring Wansdyke Bath The County of Avon was a short-lived administrative county in the west of England, named after the River Avon which ran through it. ... Cleveland is an area in the north east of England. ... Cumbria is a county in the North West region of England. ... East Yorkshire Holderness Kingston upon Hull Beverley Boothferry Scunthorpe Glanford Great Grimsby Cleethorpes The Arms of Humberside County Council Humberside was a non-metropolitan county of England from April 1, 1974 until April 1, 1996. ... The metropolitan counties of England are counties that cover large urban areas, each with several metropolitan districts. ...


The 1972 Act left the legal status of the traditional counties somewhat ambiguous. It repealed and superseded the parts of the 1888 Act that referred to the traditional counties, and defined 'counties' in reference to existing 'administrative counties'. However it did not formally abolish the 'ancient and geographic' counties. Some have questioned whether Parliament could abolish many of them, given that many were not created by Parliamentary bill or Royal edicts, and, as such, could be argued to have an "untouchable" Common Law existence (see parliamentary sovereignty). This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Parliamentary sovereignty, parliamentary supremacy, or legislative supremacy is a concept in constitutional law that applies to some parliamentary democracies. ...


On this basis, supporters of the traditional counties assert that they continue to exist. Indeed, the Government has made statements to this effect, and said at the time that traditional county boundaries and loyalties were not supposed to be affected by the 1974 changes.


Despite repeated statements by the Government that loyalties were not intended to be affected, many people have accepted (in many places grudgingly) the changes. The Ordnance Survey has always recorded only administrative boundaries and so also adopted the changes. In the private sector, adoption has been mixed. For example, county cricket is still based on the traditional counties. However, this can be due to a reluctance to reorganise existing systems rather than a refusal to acknowledge the new boundaries. Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. ... The private sector of a nations economy consists of those entities which are not controlled by the state - i. ... In the UK, County cricket is the domestic form of the sport of cricket that is considered to be first-class cricket. ...


The vice counties, another set of entities based on the historic counties, but with modification such as the subdivision of larger areas, are always used for biological recording to this day. This makes it easier to make comparisons in the biodiversity of different parts of England over time.


The Post Office largely altered its postal counties in accordance with the reform — with the two major exceptions of Greater London and Greater Manchester. Perhaps as a result of this, along with the cumbersomeness of the names and the resentment of encroaching urbanisation, the traditional counties appear not to have fallen out of use for locating the boroughs of Greater Manchester; along with areas of Greater London that are not part of the London postal district. It is quite common for people to speak of Uxbridge, Middlesex or Bromley, Kent (which are outside of the London postal district), but much less so to speak of Brixton, Surrey or West Ham, Essex (which are inside it). Where metropolitan counties were given more generic names, such as Merseyside or Tyne and Wear, the new counties appear to have been adopted. However, since 2000 the Royal Mail have removed its postal counties from the authoritative Postal Address File database, creating a separate database which now also lists the traditional, administrative and former postal counties for every address in the UK. Royal Mails logo Royal Mail is the national postal service of the United Kingdom. ... The postal counties of the United Kingdom, now known officially as the former postal counties, were subdivisions of the UK in routine use by the Royal Mail until 1996. ... Greater London is the top level administrative subdivision covering London and forms one of the nine regions of England. ... Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in England established in 1974 which covers an area roughly encompassing the conurbation surrounding the City of Manchester. ... The system of London postal districts predate the introduction of postcodes throughout the United Kingdom in the 1960s and have been adapted over time. ... Uxbridge is a place in the London Borough of Hillingdon in west London. ... Middlesex is one of the 39 historic counties of England. ... Bromley is the principal town in the London Borough of Bromley, England. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... Brixton is an area of South London, part of the London Borough of Lambeth. ... Surrey is a county in southern England, part of the South East England region and one of the Home Counties. ... West Ham is a place in the London Borough of Newham located 6. ... Essex is a county in the East of England. ... The metropolitan counties of England are counties that cover large urban areas, each with several metropolitan districts. ... Merseyside is a metropolitan county, located in the North West of England. ... Tyne and Wear is a metropolitan county in the North East of England and consists of the estuary areas of the rivers Tyne and Wear. ...


There was particular distress in parts of Yorkshire that were administratively incorporated into Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Humberside, Cleveland and County Durham. Some of these areas have been since returned for ceremonial purposes. Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... Cumbria is a county in the North West region of England. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in England established in 1974 which covers an area roughly encompassing the conurbation surrounding the City of Manchester. ... East Yorkshire Holderness Kingston upon Hull Beverley Boothferry Scunthorpe Glanford Great Grimsby Cleethorpes The Arms of Humberside County Council Humberside was a non-metropolitan county of England from April 1, 1974 until April 1, 1996. ... Status: Non-metropolitan county Admin. ...


Counties and urban areas

The historic county of Warwickshire covers a slightly larger area than its namesake administrative county (in green).
The historic county of Warwickshire covers a slightly larger area than its namesake administrative county (in green).

Apart from historic divisions such as Newmarket, Stamford and Tamworth, there are a great number of towns which have expanded (in some cases across a river) into a neighbouring county. These include such towns and cities as Banbury, Birmingham, Bristol, Burton-upon-Trent, Great Yarmouth, Leighton Buzzard, London, Manchester, Market Harborough, Peterborough, Reading, Redditch, St Neots, Swadlincote, Tadley and Wisbech. By G-Man. ... By G-Man. ... Warwickshire (pronounced either /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃə/ or /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃɪə/) is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in central England. ... Tamworth town centre Map sources for Tamworth at grid reference SK2203 Tamworth is a historic town and local government district in Staffordshire England, located 17 miles (25 km) north-east from the city of Birmingham. ... The modern Castle Quay Shopping Centre in Banbury is built alongside the Oxford Canal Map sources for Banbury at grid reference SP4540 Banbury is a market town on the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England. ... The city from above Centenary Square. ... Bristol (IPA: brĭstəl) is a city, unitary authority and ceremonial county in South West England, 115 miles (185 km) west of London at , . With a population of 400,000, and metropolitan area of 550,000, it is Englands sixth, and the United Kingdoms ninth, most... Map sources for Burton-upon-Trent at grid reference SK2422 Burton upon Trent also known as Burton-on-Trent, or simply Burton, is a large town straddling the River Trent in the east of Staffordshire, England, which originally grew up around the monastery of St. ... Map sources for Great Yarmouth at grid reference TG5207 Great Yarmouth is an English coastal town in the county of Norfolk. ... Location within the British Isles Leighton Buzzard is a town near the Chiltern Hills in Bedfordshire, and is between Luton and Milton Keynes. ... For other uses, see London (disambiguation). ... Manchester is a city in the United Kingdom, considered by most to be the countrys second city [1][2]. It is a centre of the arts, the media, higher education and big business. ... The stilted Grammar School Market Harborough is a market town in Leicestershire, England, upon the River Welland. ... The City of Peterborough is a cathedral city and Unitary Authority in the East of England, UK. For ceremonial purposes it is in the county of Cambridgeshire. ... Reading is a town and a unitary authority (the Borough of Reading) in the English county of Berkshire. ... Church Green and St. ... St Neots is a town of about 26,000 people on the River Great Ouse, the largest town in Cambridgeshire, England, (Cambridge itself is a city). ... Location within the British Isles Swadlincote is a town in southern Derbyshire, England. ... Map sources for Tadley at grid reference SU604612 Tadley is a small town and civil parish in the English county of Hampshire. ... OS Grid Reference: TF460098 Lat/Lon: 52°39′N 0°09′W Population: 20,200 (2001 Census) Dwellings: 9,145 (2001 Census) Formal status: Town Administration County: Cambridgeshire Region: East Anglia Nation: England Post Office and Telephone Post town: Wisbech Postcode: PE13, PE14 Dialling Code: 01945 Wisbech (IPA /wɪzb...


Although Oxford is on the River Thames, historically the border between Oxfordshire and Berkshire, the traditional border there makes a detour to include Oxford west of the river within Oxfordshire. Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... The Thames (pronounced //) is a river flowing through southern England and connecting London with the sea. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in south-east England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ...


The built-up areas of conurbations tend to cross traditional county boundaries freely. Examples here include Bournemouth/Poole/Christchurch (Dorset and Hampshire – although the 1974 annexing of Bournemouth and Christchurch into the administrative county of Dorset is perhaps the most widely accepted boundary change), Manchester metropolitan area (Cheshire and Lancashire), Merseyside (Cheshire and Lancashire), Teesside (Yorkshire and County Durham), Tyneside (County Durham and Northumberland) and West Midlands (Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire). Bournemouth is a seaside resort on the south coast of England. ... Poole is a coastal town, port and tourist destination in the traditional county of Dorset in southern England. ... Christchurch is a town in Dorset, England on the English Channel coast. ... For other uses, see Dorset (disambiguation). ... Hampshire (abbr. ... An administrative county is an administrative area in the British Isles. ... Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in England established in 1974 which covers an area roughly encompassing the conurbation surrounding the City of Manchester. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Merseyside is a metropolitan county, located in the North West of England. ... Lancashire is a county and duchy palatine in the North of England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ... Arms of the County Borough of Teesside Teesside is the name given to the conurbation in northern England based on Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Redcar, along the banks of the River Tees with a resident population of over 388,000 in 2005. ... Yorkshire is the largest traditional county of Great Britain, covering some 6,000 sq. ... Tyneside is a conurbation in northern England, covering part of the area of Tyne and Wear. ... Northumberland is a traditional, ceremonial and administrative county in northern England. ... The County of West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England, the United Kingdom, formed in 1974. ... Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. ... Warwickshire (pronounced either /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃə/ or /ˈwɔːɹɪkˌʃɪə/) is a landlocked non-metropolitan county in central England. ... Worcestershire (pronounced ; abbreviated Worcs) is a county located in the West Midlands region of central England. ...


Greater London itself straddles five traditional counties — Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey — and the London urban area sprawls into Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Greater London is the top level administrative subdivision covering London and forms one of the nine regions of England. ... Essex is a county in the East of England. ... Hertfordshire (pronounced Har(t)fordshire and abbreviated as Herts) is an inland county in the United Kingdom, officially part of the East of England Government region. ... Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. ... Middlesex is one of the 39 historic counties of England. ... Surrey is a county in southern England, part of the South East England region and one of the Home Counties. ... Map of Bucks (1904) This article is about the English county. ... Berkshire (IPA: or  ; sometimes abbreviated to Berks) is a county in England and forms part of the South East England region. ...


The traditional counties movement

The traditional counties movement consists of a national organisation, the Association of British Counties, along with various regional affiliates. The broad objectives of the movement include ABC map of counties, based approximately on reputed boundaries from first edition Ordnance Survey maps The Association of British Counties (ABC) is one of a small number of pressure groups in the United Kingdom dedicated to promoting the traditional counties of Britain. ...

  • to replace the ceremonial counties with the traditional counties
  • to re-establish the pre-1974 terminology of "administrative counties" in the law, rather than the post-1974 terminology of "counties"
  • to get the Ordnance Survey and other map suppliers to determine and mark the traditional county boundaries
  • to restore, in some places, traditional counties as administrative counties

Successive governments have generally been quite happy to issue statements saying that the traditional counties still exist, but have been reluctant to pursue these changes. Political parties to have included support for traditional counties in their manifestos include the English Democrats Party and the United Kingdom Independence Party — neither of which has ever had any MPs elected. Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. ... The English Democrats Party, previously the English National Party, is an English Civic Nationalist political party in England which seeks the establishment of a Parliament for England with at least the same powers as those granted to the Scottish Parliament. ... The United Kingdom Independence Party (commonly known as UKIP, pronounced you-kip) is a Eurosceptic political party that aims at British withdrawal from the European Union. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to a parliament; in the Westminster system, specifically to the lower house. ...


In the 1990s the movement enjoyed its greatest success when Rutland became independent of Leicestershire and Hereford and Worcester split to become a unitary authority and shire county respectively — as part of a general local government reform which led to the establishment of many other unitaries. However, the campaign for Huntingdonshire, currently administered as a district of Cambridgeshire, to gain similar status, failed (despite it being pursued by Huntingdon's MP and Prime Minister of the time, John Major). Additionally, the non-metropolitan counties of Avon, Cleveland and Humberside were abolished, and the traditional borders restored for ceremonial purposes. Rutland is traditionally Englands smallest county and is bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Northamptonshire. ... Leicestershire (abbreviated Leics) is a landlocked county in central England. ... Wyre Forest Bromsgrove Redditch Wychavon Worcester Malvern Hills Leominster Hereford South Herefordshire The County of Hereford and Worcester was an English administrative county created by the Local Government Act 1972 from the traditional counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. ... A unitary authority is a type of local authority, which has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area. ... The structure of local government in the United Kingdom underwent large changes in the 1990s. ... Huntingdonshire (abbreviated Hunts) is a part of England around Huntingdon, which is currently administered as a local government district of Cambridgeshire. ... Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs) is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. ... Sir John Major, KG, CH (born 29 March 1943) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1990 - 1997. ... Northavon Bristol Kingswood Woodspring Wansdyke Bath The County of Avon was a short-lived administrative county in the west of England, named after the River Avon which ran through it. ... Status: Non-metropolitan county Admin. ... East Yorkshire Holderness Kingston upon Hull Beverley Boothferry Scunthorpe Glanford Great Grimsby Cleethorpes The Arms of Humberside County Council Humberside was a non-metropolitan county of England from April 1, 1974 until April 1, 1996. ...


Recent activities undertaken have included lobbying the Boundary Committee regarding the proposed local government reform in the north of England (since abandoned). Suggestions put forward have included basing the names or the borders of the new authorities on traditional counties. Both of these suggestions have been rejected, though the Committee noted a strong level of support in some areas. The Boundary Committee for England is an independent body in England responsible for defining borders for local elections; and for conducting reviews of local government areas. ... For local government purposes, England is divided into three types of areas - non-unitary authorities, unitary authorities, and London boroughs. ...


See also

For local government purposes, England is divided into three types of areas - non-unitary authorities, unitary authorities, and London boroughs. ... The phrase Home Counties is used to designate the group of English counties which border or surround London. ... Wales has thirteen traditional counties (or vice counties). ... The administrative counties of Scotland in 1974 The term Counties of Scotland can variously refer to the Traditional counties of Scotland The former administrative counties of Scotland, which were abolished in 1975. ... The island of Ireland is divided into 32 counties (Irish language contae or condae, pronounced cun-day), the Republic of Ireland is made up of 26 of these; Northern Ireland is comprised of the remaining six. ... Historical and alternative regions of England. ...

External links

  • Association of British Counties
  • Family history links to traditional counties of England

  Results from FactBites:
 
Traditional counties of England - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2661 words)
The traditional counties have (even if the 1844 changes be accepted) many anomalies, and many small exclaves, where a parcel of land would be politically part of one county despite not being physically connected to the rest of the county.
These counties are the ones usually shown on maps of the early to mid 20th century, and largely displaced the traditional counties in such uses.
Perhaps as a result of this, along with the cumbersomeness of the names and the resentment of encroaching urbanisation, the traditional counties appear not to have fallen out of use for locating the boroughs of Greater Manchester; along with areas of Greater London that are not part of the London postal district.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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