Why do we have Counties?

The present-day division of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland into counties is derived from a long, continuous process of historical, legal, economic and social change over a period of more than a thousand years. The country structure of local government began in the “shires” of  Anglo-Saxons England.

The shires were formulated as regions of administration and defense. The Norman invaders of 1066 took over the county structure of local government; it was amended and improved by their successors, and gradually reached the disorderly, uncivilized border areas of wales and Scotland.

In Wales, there has been little change to be the county map since the time of the part-Wales Tudors. In Scotland, a system of sheriffdoms that closely resembled the English county system existed for hundreds of years.

In Ireland, division into counties was established by the barons of Henry II and refined by Oliver Cromwell five hundred years later. in more recent times, British county history has been mainly a record of gradual change, reflecting, the changing pattern of our society.

And important factor in changes in the pas hundred or so years has been the shift in population ; especially, the vast migrations from country to town, a result of the Industrial revolutions.

large urban areas that had grown to contain more people than the entire surrounding county were detached from the county system in 1929 and reconstituted as separate administrative units. One county even swallowed up another!

The creation of the administrative area of Greater London, in 1965, resulted in the disappearance of the former county of Middlesex. In some cases, there are now two county towns ; one the historic county and markets town ; the other, the administrative headquarters.

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