English Counties and Shires – History English Counties and Shires – History English Counties and Shires – History English Counties and Shires – History
English Counties and Shires – History English Counties and Shires – History English Counties and Shires – History English Counties and Shires – History
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English Counties and Shires – History

English Counties and Shires – HistoryMy family members tree has been traced back to the early Kings of England from the 7th. Century AD. This provides me an interest in English History which is excellent enjoyable to research. As I am a direct descendent of Sir Christopher Wren I have been interested in English history and researching fun and interesting bits of England which includes Counties and Shires.

1066 AD – Lancashire wasn’t formed when the Normans came more than in 1066, whereas most of the other English counties had been about by then. When individuals say “the old points are the ideal” they’re clearly not thinking about Lancashire due to the fact it is one of the newest of all English counties – if you can manage some thing that is more than eight centuries old being described as new! Lancashire wasn’t formed when the Normans came over in 1066, whereas most of the other English counties had been around by then.

cThe county boundaries had been pretty static in the course of the 16th century.

In most circumstances the counties or Shires in medieval times had been administered by a Sheriff (originally “shire- reeve”) on behalf of the monarch. Each and every shire was responsible for gathering taxes for the central government for neighborhood defence and for justice, via assize courts.

Southern England

In southern England the counties were mostly subdivisions of the Kingdom of Wessex, and in numerous areas represented annexed, previously independent, kingdoms or other tribal territories. Kent derives from the Kingdom of Kent, and Essex, Sussex and Middlesex come from the East Saxons, South Saxons and Middle Saxons. Norfolk and Suffolk had been subdivisions representing the “North Folk” and “South Folk” of the Kingdom of East Anglia. Only 1 county on the south coast of England now normally takes the suffix “-shire”, Hampshire, which is named following the former town of “Hamwic” the internet site of which is now a portion of the city of Southampton. A “lost” Saxon county was Winchcombeshire which lasted from 1007 to 1017 just before being incorporated into Gloucestershire.

Dorset and Somerset derive their names from the saete or inhabitants of the locations about the towns of Dorchester and Somerton respectively the names were very first utilised by the Saxons in the 9th century. Devon and Cornwall were based on the pre-Saxon Celtic kingdoms identified in Latin as Dumnonia and Cornubia.

The City of London was recognised as a county of itself separate from Middlesex by Henry I’s charter of c.1131.A number of other boroughs in the region had been constituted counties corporate by royal charter. Bristol developed as a main port in the medieval period, straddling both sides of the River Avon which formed the ancient boundary between Gloucestershire and Somerset. In 1373, Edward III decreed

…that the said town of Bristol with its suburbs and their precinct, as the boundaries now exist, henceforward shall be separated and exempt in every way from the stated counties of Gloucester and Somerset, on land and by water that it shall be a county in itself and be referred to as the county of Bristol for ever.

Similar arrangements were later applied to Norwich (1404), Southampton (1447), Canterbury (1471), Gloucester (1483), Exeter (1537), and Poole (1571).


When Wessex conquered Mercia in the 9th and 10th centuries, it subdivided the location into several shires of roughly equal size and tax-raising prospective or hidage. These usually took the name of the principal town (the county town) of the county, along with “-shire”. Examples of these consist of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. In some cases the original names have been worn down — for example, Cheshire was originally “Chestershire”.

In the east Midlands, it is thought that county boundaries may represent a 9th century division of the Danelaw among units of the Danish army. Rutland was an anomalous territory or soke, linked with Nottinghamshire, but it ultimately became regarded as the smallest county. 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 grow to be a county town.

Charters had been granted constituting the boroughs or cities of Lincoln (1409), Nottingham (1448), Lichfield (1556) and Worcester (1622) as counties. The County of the City of Coventry was separated from Warwickshire in 1451, and included an extensive region of countryside surrounding the city.

The border with Wales was not set until the Laws in Wales Act 1535 — this remains the modern day border. At the time of the Domesday Book, some parts of what later became Wales had been accounted as parts of English counties Monmouth, for example, was included in Herefordshire, and the ancient town of Ludlow, now in Shropshire, was also included in Herefordshire. Parts of the March of Wales which following the Norman conquest had been administered by Marcher Lords largely independently of the English monarch, had been incorporated into the English counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire in 1535.,/

Northern England

Considerably of Northumbria was also shired, the greatest recognized of these counties getting Hallamshire and Cravenshire. The Normans did not use these divisions, and so they are not normally regarded as historic counties. The massive county of Yorkshire was a successor to the Viking Kingdom of York, and at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 it was regarded as to incorporate what was to grow to be northern Lancashire, as nicely as parts of Cumberland, and Westmorland. Most of the later Cumberland and Westmorland had been below Scottish rule until 1092. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066 and the harrying of the North, a lot of the North of England was left depopulated and was included in the returns for Cheshire and Yorkshire in the Domesday Book. Nevertheless, there is some disagreement about the status of some of this land. The region in among the River Ribble and the River Mersey, referred to as “Inter Ripam et Mersam” in the Domesday Book,was included in the returns for Cheshire. Regardless of whether this meant that this land was really part of Cheshire is nevertheless not clear. Additionally, the Domesday book included as part of Cheshire, locations that later became part of Wales, including the two hundreds of Atiscross and Exestan, and the southern portion of Duddestan Hundred (as it was identified as the time), which later became identified as Maelor Saesneg, and (later still) “Flintshire Detached” (see Flintshire (historic). The Northeast, or Northumbria, land that later became County Durham and Northumberland, was left unrecorded.

Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, County Durham and Northumberland were established as counties in the 12th century. Lancashire can be firmly dated to 1182. Component of the domain of the Bishops of Durham, Hexhamshire was split off and was regarded as an independent county until 1572, when it became component of Northumberland.

Charters granting separate county status to the cities and boroughs of Chester (1238/9), York (1396), Newcastle upon Tyne (1400) and Kingston-upon-Hull (with the surrounding region of Hullshire) (1440). In 1551 Berwick upon Tweed, on the border with Scotland, was produced a county corporate.

English Counties and Some Towns and Cities. 1. Bedfordshire (Bedford, Luton, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Biggleswade, Sandy)

2. Berkshire (Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Newbury, Windsor, Wokingham, Abingdon)

3. Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Slough, Buckingham, High Wycombe)

4. Cambridgeshire (Cambridge, Wisbech, Ely, March, Whittlesey, Chatteris, Linton)

5. Cheshire (Chester, Stockport, Birkenhead, Wallasey, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Crewe)

6. Cornwall (Bodmin, Truro, Camborne, Redruth, St. Austell, Falmouth, Penzance, Newquay)

7. Cumberland (Carlisle, Whitehaven, Workington, Penrith, Keswick, Brampton)

8. Derbyshire (Derby, Chesterfield, Ilkeston, Swadlincote, Buxton, Matlock, Ashbourne)

9. Devon (Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay, Paignton, Barnstaple, Tiverton, Newton Abbot, Tavistock)

10. Dorset (Dorchester, Poole, Weymouth, Sherborne, Wimborne Minster, Shaftesbury)

11. Durham (Durham, Sunderland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool, Gateshead, Washington)

12. Essex (Chelmsford, Basildon, Romford, Southend, Colcheter, Harlow, Brentwood, West Ham)

13. Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Bristol, Cheltenham, Stroud, Cirencester, Tewkesbury)

14. Hampshire (Winchester, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Basingstoke, Newport)

15. Herefordshire (Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Leominster, Ledbury, Bromyard, Kington)

16. Hertfordshire (Hertford, Watford, St. Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Hatfield)

17. Huntingdonshire (Huntingdon, St. Ives, St. Neots, Ramsey, Yaxley)

18. Kent (Maidstone, Canterbury, Bromley, Rochester, Margate, Folkestone, Dover, Greenwich)

19. Lancashire (Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Bolton, Warrington, Barrow-in-Furness) 20. Leicestershire (Leicester, Loughborough, Hinckley, Melton Mowbray, Coalville, Lutterworth)

21. Lincolnshire (Lincoln, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Boston, Grantham, Stamford, Skegness, Louth)

22. Middlesex (City of London, Harrow, Enfield, Staines, Ealing, Potters Bar, Westminster )

23. Norfolk (Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Dereham, Cromer, Hunstanton)

24. Northamptonshire (Northampton, Peterborough, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough)

25. Northumberland (Alnwick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Morpeth, Hexham, Berwick-upon-Tweed)

26. Nottinghamshire (Nottingham, Mansfield, Worksop, Newark, Retford, Southwell)

27. Oxfordshire (Oxford, Banbury, Witney, Bicester, Henley-on-Thames, Carterton, Thame)

28. Rutland (Oakham, Uppingham. Cottesmore)

29. Shropshire (Shrewsbury, Telford, Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Ludlow)

30. Somerset (Taunton, Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Yeovil, Bridgwater, Wells, Glastonbury)

31. Staffordshire (Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Cannock, Lichfield)

32. Suffolk (Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Sudbury, Haverhill, Bungay)

33. Surrey (Guildford, Croydon, Woking, Sutton, Kingston-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Brixton)

34. Sussex (Chichester, Brighton, Worthing, Crawley, Hastings, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Horsham)

35. Warwickshire (Warwick, Birmingham, Coventry, Nuneaton, Rugby, Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon)

36. Westmorland (Appleby, Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Kirkby Lonsdale)

37. Wiltshire (Trowbridge, Salisbury, Swindon, Chippenham, Devizes, Marlborough, Warminster)

38. Worcestershire (Worcester, Dudley, Kidderminster, Stourbridge, Halesowen, Malvern, Evesham)

39. Yorkshire. Parts of Yorhire are divided into ‘Ridings’. North Riding (Northallerton, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Whitby) East Riding (Beverley, Hull, Bridlington, Driffield, Hornsea, Filey) West Riding (Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Halifax, Harrogate) York (within the Walls).

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