County town

A county town in Great Britain or Ireland is usually, but not always, the location of administrative or judicial functions within the county. The concept of a county town is ill-defined and unofficial. Following the establishment of county councils in 1889, the administrative headquarters of the new authorities were usually located in the county town of each county. However, this was not always the case and the idea of a "county town" pre-dates the establishment of these councils. For example, Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire but the county council is located at Preston.

The county town was often where the county members of Parliament were elected or where certain judicial functions were carried out, leading it to becoming established as the most important town in the county.

Some county towns are no longer situated within the administrative county. For example, Nottingham is administered by a unitary authority entirely separate from the rest of Nottinghamshire. Many county towns are classified as cities, but all are referred to as county towns regardless of whether city status is held or not. The term was also used historically in Jamaica.

UK county towns, pre-19th-century reforms

Historic counties of England

This list shows county towns prior to the reforms of 1889.

County County town
Bedfordshire Bedford
Berkshire Reading,[a] previously also Abingdon[2]
Buckinghamshire Aylesbury,[b] although the county is named after Buckingham
Cambridgeshire Cambridge
Cheshire Chester
Cornwall Truro[c]
Cumberland Carlisle[d]
Derbyshire Derby
Devon Exeter
Dorset Dorchester
County Durham Durham
Essex Chelmsford
Gloucestershire Gloucester
Hampshire Winchester, although the county is named after Southampton[3]
Herefordshire Hereford
Hertfordshire Hertford
Huntingdonshire Huntingdon
Kent Maidstone[e]
Lancashire Lancaster[f]
Leicestershire Leicester
Lincolnshire Lincoln
Middlesex Brentford, Clerkenwell, the City of London or Westminster for different functions.[g]
Norfolk Norwich
Northamptonshire Northampton
Northumberland Alnwick[h]
Nottinghamshire Nottingham[i]
Oxfordshire Oxford
Rutland Oakham
Shropshire Shrewsbury
Somerset Taunton,[j] although the county is named after Somerton
Staffordshire Stafford
Suffolk Ipswich
Surrey Guildford[k]
Sussex Lewes[l]
Warwickshire Warwick
Westmorland Appleby
Wiltshire Trowbridge although the county is named after Wilton [m]
Worcestershire Worcester
Yorkshire York
  1. ^ Lent assizes were held at Reading, where the county gaol and house of correction were situated; summer assizes were held at Abingdon, which was the site of the county bridewell.[1] Knights of the shire were nominated at Reading and elected at Abingdon.[1]
  2. ^ Sir John Baldwin, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, caused the county assizes to be moved to Aylesbury. Knights of the shire continued to be elected at Buckingham. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica considered Buckingham to be the county town.
  3. ^ The county assize court sat at Bodmin, and the 1911 Britannica considered Bodmin to be the county town. Prior to 1835, it was Launceston.
  4. ^ Knights of the shire were elected at Cockermouth; the assizes and quarter sessions courts were occasionally held at Penrith.
  5. ^ East Kent and West Kent had separate administrations until 1814, with East Kent sessions meeting at Canterbury, and West Kent at Maidstone, the over-all county town.
  6. ^ In 1787 the Lancashire Quarter Sessions decreed that in future the annual general sessions for transacting all business for the county at large should be held at Preston as it was "a central place in the county." The magistrates of Lonsdale Hundred refused to accept the decision, and would meet only at Lancaster. The matter was settled only when a local act of parliament (38 Geo.III c.58) established that the principal administrative business of the county could be transacted only at Preston.[4]
  7. ^ Knights of the shire were elected at Brentford; sessions presided over by Middlesex Justices of the Peace were held at Clerkenwell; trials for persons accused of the most serious crimes took place in the Old Bailey before the Aldermen of the City prior to the committing of the accused to Newgate Prison (which functioned as the county gaol for Middlesex) if found guilty; while the county council had its headquarters at the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster from its establishment in 1889 until its abolition in 1965.[5]
  8. ^ Alnwick's position as the county town seems to have been based largely on its castle being the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, although knights of the shire were elected at the town too.[6] Assizes for the county however were held mainly or exclusively in Newcastle upon Tyne. Morpeth Castle was used as the prison for Northumberland, and the county gaol was built there in 1824.[7][8]
  9. ^ Nottingham was constituted a county corporate separate from Nottinghamshire in 1449. The area containing the Shire Hall however remained an exclave of Nottinghamshire.[9]
  10. ^ Knights of the shire were elected at Ilchester. Somerton temporarily became the county town in the late thirteenth century, when the shire courts and county gaol were moved from Ilchester.[10]
  11. ^ Under an act of 1791, the justices of the peace of the county of Surrey were empowered to build a new sessions house and county gaol at Newington adjacent to the borough of Southwark and in the suburbs of London.[11] By 1799 the buildings were completed and the county administration was based there until 1893.[12] Newington, or more inaccurately Southwark were sometimes described as the county town thereafter, for instance in a school textbook of 1828.[13]
  12. ^ Chichester was traditionally described as the capital city of Sussex and Lewes its county town.[14][15][16] Horsham was occasionally described as the county town of Sussex due to the presence of the county gaol and the periodic holding of the county assizes and quarter sessions in the town. The last assizes were held there in 1830, while the gaol was closed in 1845.[17]
  13. ^ Wiltshire County Council note that Wiltshire "never had a well recognised county town". Wilton had served as the seat of quarter sessions and for election of knights of the shire until 1832. Knights had been nominated at Devizes.[18] An 1870s gazetteer describes "Salisbury and Devizes" as the "county towns".[19] The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica names only Salisbury.

Historic counties of Scotland

County County town
Aberdeenshire Aberdeen[a]
Angus (or Forfarshire) Forfar
Argyll Lochgilphead (formerly Inveraray)[b]
Ayrshire Ayr
Banffshire Banff
Berwickshire Duns (formerly Berwick-upon-Tweed, formerly Greenlaw)
Bute Rothesay
Caithness Wick
Clackmannanshire Alloa (formerly Clackmannan)
Cromartyshire Cromarty
Dumfriesshire Dumfries
Dunbartonshire Dumbarton
East Lothian (or Haddingtonshire) Haddington
Fife Cupar
Inverness-shire Inverness
Kincardineshire Stonehaven (formerly Kincardine)
Kinross-shire Kinross
Kirkcudbrightshire Kirkcudbright
Lanarkshire Lanark[c]
Midlothian (or Edinburghshire) Edinburgh[d]
Morayshire (or Elginshire) Elgin
Nairnshire Nairn
Orkney Kirkwall
Peeblesshire Peebles
Perthshire Perth
Renfrewshire Renfrew[e]
Ross-shire Dingwall (also the county town of Ross and Cromarty)
Roxburghshire Jedburgh (formerly Roxburgh)[f]
Selkirkshire Selkirk
Shetland Lerwick
Stirlingshire Stirling
Sutherland Dornoch<[g]
West Lothian (or Linlithgowshire) Linlithgow
Wigtownshire Wigtown[h]
  1. ^ In 1900 Aberdeen became a county of a city and thus outside Aberdeenshire.
  2. ^ Inveraray (the seat of the Duke of Argyll) was regarded as the county town until 1890, when the Argyll County Council was created with headquarters in Lochgilphead.
  3. ^ The headquarters of the Lanark County Council were established in 1890 in Glasgow. In 1893 Glasgow became a county of itself, and was therefore outside the council's area. The county council moved to Hamilton in 1964.[20]
  4. ^ Edinburgh was a county of itself, and therefore lay outside the county of Midlothian.
  5. ^ The headquarters of Renfrew County Council were in Paisley from 1890.
  6. ^ Newtown St Boswells was the administrative headquarters of the county council established in 1890.
  7. ^ The headquarters of Sutherland County Council were at Golspie from 1890.
  8. ^ Stranraer became the administrative headquarters of the Wigtown county council in 1890, and was sometimes described as the "county town" thereafter.

Historic counties of Wales

This list shows county towns prior to the reforms of 1889.

County County town
Anglesey Beaumaris
Brecknockshire Brecon
Caernarfonshire Caernarfon
Cardiganshire Cardigan
Carmarthenshire Carmarthen
Denbighshire Ruthin (formerly Denbigh)
Flintshire Mold (formerly Flint)
Glamorgan Cardiff
Merionethshire Dolgellau
Montgomeryshire Welshpool (formerly Montgomery)
Monmouthshire[a] Monmouth[a]
Pembrokeshire Haverfordwest (formerly Pembroke)
Radnorshire Presteigne (formerly New Radnor)
  1. ^ a b Between 1536 and 1974, Monmouthshire was included by successive English and later, British, governments within England for some administrative and legal purposes. Always regarded culturally and ecclesiastically as part of Wales, particularly by the Welsh, since 1974 when new local government legislation was introduced it has unequivocally been within that country. The county is named after Monmouth, but the Sheriff's county court was held alternately in Monmouth and Newport.

Historic counties of Northern Ireland

County County town
County Antrim Antrim
County Armagh Armagh
County Down Downpatrick
County Fermanagh Enniskillen
County Londonderry Coleraine
County Tyrone Omagh

Note – Despite the fact that Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, it is not the county town of any county. Greater Belfast straddles two counties (Antrim and Down).

UK county towns post 19th-century reforms

With the creation of elected county councils in 1889 the location of administrative headquarters in some cases moved away from the traditional county town. Furthermore, in 1965 and 1974 there were major boundary changes in England and Wales and administrative counties were replaced with new metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. The boundaries underwent further alterations between 1995 and 1998 to create unitary authorities and some of the ancient counties and county towns were restored. (Note: not all headquarters are or were called County Halls or Shire Halls e.g.: Cumbria County Council's HQ up until 2016 was called The Courts and have since moved to Cumbria House.) Before 1974 many of the county halls were located in towns and cities that had the status of a county borough i.e.: a borough outside of the county council's jurisdiction.

England

County council Date Headquarters
Avon 1974 to 1996 Bristol
Bedfordshire 1889 to 2009 Bedford
Berkshire 1889 to 1998 Reading (county borough until 1974)
City and County of Bristol 1996 onwards Bristol
Buckinghamshire 1889 onwards Aylesbury
Cambridgeshire 1889 to 1965
1974 onwards
Cambridge
Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely 1965 to 1974 Cambridge
Cheshire 1889 to 2009 Chester
Cleveland 1974 to 1996 Middlesbrough
Cornwall 1889 onwards Truro
Cumberland 1889 to 1974 Carlisle (county borough from 1914)
Cumbria 1974 onwards Carlisle
Derbyshire 1889 onwards Matlock (moved from Derby, county borough 1958)[21]
Devon 1889 onwards Exeter (county borough until 1974). In 1963 the Devon County Buildings Area was transferred from the county borough of Exeter to the administrative county of Devon, of which it formed an exclave until 1974.[22]
Dorset 1889 onwards Dorchester
Durham 1889 onwards Durham
Essex 1889 onwards Chelmsford
Gloucestershire 1889 onwards Gloucester (county borough until 1974)
Greater London 1965 to 1986
2002 onwards
County Hall, Lambeth (Greater London Council)
City Hall, Southwark (Greater London Authority)
Greater Manchester 1974 to 1986 Manchester
Hampshire 1889 onwards Winchester
Herefordshire 1889 to 1974
1998 onwards
Hereford
Hereford and Worcester 1974 to 1998 Worcester
Hertfordshire 1889 onwards Hertford
Humberside 1974 to 1996 Beverley
Huntingdonshire 1889 to 1965 Huntingdon
Huntingdon and Peterborough 1965 to 1974 Huntingdon
Isle of Ely 1889 to 1965 March
Isle of Wight 1890 onwards Newport
Kent 1889 onwards Maidstone
Lancashire 1889 onwards Preston (county borough until 1974)
Leicestershire 1889 onwards Leicester
Lincolnshire, Parts of Lindsey 1889 to 1974 Lincoln (county borough)
Lincolnshire, Parts of Holland 1889 to 1974 Boston
Lincolnshire, Parts of Kesteven 1889 to 1974 Sleaford
Lincolnshire 1974 onwards Lincoln
London 1889 to 1965 Spring Gardens, Westminster until 1922, County Hall at Lambeth thereafter
Merseyside 1974 to 1986 Liverpool
Middlesex 1889 to 1965 Middlesex Guildhall at Westminster in County of London
Norfolk 1889 onwards Norwich (county borough until 1974)
Northamptonshire 1889 onwards Northampton (county borough until 1974)
Northumberland 1889 onwards County Hall Newcastle upon Tyne 1889 – 1981[23]
County Hall Morpeth since 1981[24]
Nottinghamshire 1889 onwards West Bridgford (moved from county borough of Nottingham in 1959)
Oxfordshire 1889 onwards Oxford (county borough until 1974)
Soke of Peterborough 1889 to 1965 Peterborough, although geographically considered part of Northamptonshire
Rutland 1889 to 1974
1997 onwards
Oakham
Shropshire 1889 onwards Shrewsbury
Somerset 1889 onwards Taunton
Staffordshire 1889 onwards Stafford
East Suffolk 1889 to 1974 Ipswich (county borough)
West Suffolk 1889 to 1974 Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk 1974 onwards Ipswich
Surrey 1889 onwards Inner London Sessions House, Newington, until County Hall, Kingston upon Thames opened in 1893 (Kingston has been in Greater London since 1965).[25]
East Sussex 1889 onwards Lewes
West Sussex 1889 onwards Chichester (originally jointly with Horsham)[17]
Tyne and Wear 1974 to 1986 Newcastle upon Tyne
Warwickshire 1889 onwards Warwick
West Midlands 1974 to 1986 Birmingham
Westmorland 1889 to 1974 Kendal
Wiltshire 1889 onwards Trowbridge
Worcestershire 1889 to 1974
1998 onwards
Worcester (county borough until 1974)
Yorkshire, East Riding 1889 to 1974
1996 onwards
Beverley (later HQ of Humberside)
Yorkshire, North Riding 1889 to 1974 Northallerton
North Yorkshire 1974 onwards Northallerton
South Yorkshire 1974 to 1986 Barnsley
Yorkshire, West Riding 1889 to 1974 Wakefield (county borough from 1915)
West Yorkshire 1974 to 1986 Wakefield

Wales

County council Date Headquarters
Anglesey 1889 to 1974 Beaumaris1
Brecknockshire 1889 to 1974 Brecon
Caernarvonshire 1889 to 1974 Caernarfon
Carmarthenshire 1889 to 1974
1996 onwards
Carmarthen
Cardiganshire 1889 to 1974 Aberystwyth2
Ceredigion 1996 onwards Aberaeron
Clwyd 1974 to 1996 Mold
Denbighshire 1889 to 1974 Denbigh
Dyfed 1974 to 1996 Carmarthen
Flintshire 1889 to 1974 Mold
Glamorgan 1889 to 1974 Cardiff (county borough)
Gwent 1974 to 1996 Newport (1974–78), Cwmbran (1978–96)
Gwynedd 1974 onwards Caernarfon
Mid Glamorgan 1974 to 1996 Cardiff (extraterritorial)
Merionethshire 1889 to 1974 Dolgellau
Montgomeryshire 1889 to 1974 Welshpool
Monmouthshire 1889 to 1974 Newport (county borough from 1891)
Radnorshire 1889 to 1974 Presteigne3
Pembrokeshire 1889 to 1974
1996 onwards
Haverfordwest
Powys 1974 onwards Llandrindod Wells
South Glamorgan 1974 to 1996 Cardiff
West Glamorgan 1974 to 1996 Swansea
Ynys Môn (Anglesey) 1996 onwards Llangefni
  1. Due to its better transport links and more central location, some administrative functions were moved to Llangefni.
  2. Cardigan was often still referred to as 'the county town' due to the name link. However, assizes were held at Lampeter while Aberystwyth housed the administration of the county council. Aberystwyth was therefore the de facto county town.
  3. Due to its better transport links and more central location, some administrative functions were moved to Llandrindod Wells.

Ireland

The follow lists the location of the administration of each of the 31 local authorities in Ireland, with the 26 traditional counties.

County Councils County town Notes
County Carlow Carlow County Council Carlow
County Cavan Cavan County Council Cavan
County Clare Clare County Council Ennis
County Cork Cork County Council Cork city
Cork City Council Cork city
County Donegal Donegal County Council Lifford
County Dublin Dublin City Council Dublin city
Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council Dún Laoghaire Until 1994, formed Dublin County Council, with its administrative offices in Dublin City
Fingal County Council Swords
South Dublin County Council Tallaght
County Galway Galway City Council Galway city
Galway County Council Galway city
County Kerry Kerry County Council Tralee
County Kildare Kildare County Council Naas
County Kilkenny Kilkenny County Council Kilkenny
County Laois Laois County Council Port Laoise Called Maryborough till 1929
County Leitrim Leitrim County Council Carrick-on-Shannon
County Limerick Limerick City and County Council Limerick
County Longford Longford County Council Longford
County Louth Louth County Council Dundalk
County Mayo Mayo County Council Castlebar
County Meath Meath County Council Navan previously Trim was the administrative town
County Monaghan Monaghan County Council Monaghan
County Offaly Offaly County Council Tullamore Prior to 1883, the county town was Daingean, then known as Philipstown
County Roscommon Roscommon County Council Roscommon
County Sligo Sligo County Council Sligo
County Tipperary Tipperary County Council Clonmel/Nenagh Until the Local Government Reform Act 2014, these were respectively the administrative towns of South Tipperary County Council and North Tipperary County Council
County Waterford Waterford City and County Council Waterford
County Westmeath Westmeath County Council Mullingar
County Wexford Wexford County Council Wexford
County Wicklow Wicklow County Council Wicklow

Jamaica

Jamaica's three counties were established in 1758 to facilitate the holding of courts along the lines of the British county court system, with each county having a county town.[26] The counties have no current administrative relevance.

County County town
Cornwall Savanna-la-Mar
Middlesex Spanish Town
Surrey Kingston

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Lewis, Samuel (1831). "Berkshire". A Topographical Dictionary of England. I (1st ed.). p. 130.
  2. ^ "Berkshire Quarter Sessions". Jackson's Oxford Journal. 4 July 1868.
  3. ^ "Hampshire Placenames and their Meanings". .hants.gov.uk. 17 February 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  4. ^ Webb, Sidney; Beatrice Webb (1906). English Local Government from the Revolution to the Municipal Corporations Act: The Parish and the County. London: Longmans Green and Co. pp. 432–433.
  5. ^ Justice in Eighteenth-Century Hackney (Process and Procedures), by Ruth Paley British History Online
  6. ^ "''Alnwick (St. Mary and St. Michael)'', ''A Topographical Dictionary of England'' (1848), pp. 39–44". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  7. ^ "''Morpeth (St. Mary)'', ''A Topographical Dictionary of England'' (1848), pp. 345–350". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  8. ^ "''Northiam – Nortoft'', ''A Topographical Dictionary of England'' (1848), pp. 433–439". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  9. ^ Nicholson, A P (11 November 2007). "Shire (County) Hall, Nottingham". Nottinghamshire History. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Somerton archaeological survey (Somerset County Council)". Archived from the original on 28 March 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2007.
  11. ^ "Southwark Prisons". Survey of London: volume 25: St George's Fields (The parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington). British History Online. 1955. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  12. ^ Edward Walford (1878). "The Old Kent Road". Old and New London: Volume 6. British History Online. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  13. ^ Stewart, Alexander (1828). A compendium of modern geography: with remarks on the physical peculiarities, productions of the various countries; Questions for Examination at the end of each Section; and Descriptive Tables. Oliver & Boyde.
  14. ^ "About Sussex". Sussex County Flag. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  15. ^ "A List of Some Towns of Commercial, Antiquarian, Historical or Sanitary Interest". A Reference Book of Modern Geography. Longmans, Green and Co. 1870. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Chichester, Lewes". Sussex; being an historical, topographical, and general description of every rape, hundred, river, town, borough, parish, village, hamlet, castle, monastery, and gentleman's seat in that county, etc. E. Taylor. 1834. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  17. ^ a b General history of Horsham – The town as county centre, Victoria County History of Sussex, Volume VI British History Online
  18. ^ "Why is Trowbridge the county town of Wiltshire?". Wiltshire County Council. 9 January 2003. Archived from the original on 22 March 2003.
  19. ^ Wilson, John Marius (1872). "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales: WILTS". A. Fullarton and Co.
  20. ^ Notice in Edinburgh Gazette, 28 February 1964 that county council's address changed from Lanarkshire House, 191 Ingram Street, Glasgow C1 to County Buildings, Hamilton from 6 April 1964
  21. ^ Removal of County Headquarters, The Times, 28 January 1958
  22. ^ Frederic A. Youngs, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol.1: Southern England, London, 1979, p.83
  23. ^ Northumberland County Hall was situated within an exclave of Northumberland (Moot Hall Precincts) within the county borough of Newcastle 1889 – 1974; the area became part of the county of Tyne and Wear in 1974 and was thus extraterritorial
  24. ^ County Hall moved to Morpeth on 21 April 1981 (see notice in London Gazette issue 48579, dated 10 April 1981)
  25. ^ When the question of where the council should meet arose in 1889/90 six towns were considered: Epsom, Guildford, Kingston, Redhill, Surbiton and Wimbledon.The Times, 27 March 1890
  26. ^ Higman, B. W.; Hudson, B. J. (2009). Jamaican Place Names. Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-976-640-306-5.
Administrative centre

An administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a commune is located.

In countries which have French as one of their administrative languages (such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland or many African countries) and in some other countries (such as Italy, cf. cognate capoluogo), a chef-lieu (French pronunciation: ​[ʃɛfljø], plural form chefs-lieux (literally "chief place" or "head place"), is a town or city that is pre-eminent from an administrative perspective. The ‘f’ in chef-lieu is pronounced, in contrast to chef-d'oeuvre where it is mute.

Aylesbury Vale

The Aylesbury Vale (or Vale of Aylesbury) is a large area of gently rolling agricultural landscape located in the northern half of Buckinghamshire, England. Its boundary is marked by the Borough of Milton Keynes and South Northamptonshire to the north, Central Bedfordshire and the Borough of Dacorum (Hertfordshire) to the east, the Chiltern Hills and Wycombe to south, and South Oxfordshire to the west.

The vale is named after Aylesbury, the county town of Buckinghamshire. The two other towns which lie within the vale are Winslow and Buckingham.

The bed of the vale is largely made up of clay that was formed at the end of the ice age. Also at this time the vast underground reserves of water that make the water table in the Vale of Aylesbury higher than average, were created.

In the 2011 UK census the population of Aylesbury Vale was 174,900.

In the 2001 UK census the population of Aylesbury Vale was 165,748, representing an increase since 1991 of 18,600 people. About half of those live in the county town Aylesbury.

Berkshire

Berkshire ( BARK-shər, -⁠sheer; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.

The River Thames formed the historic northern boundary, from Buscot in the west to Old Windsor in the east. The historic county therefore includes territory that is now administered by the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, but excludes Caversham, Slough and five less populous settlements in the east of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974. The towns of Abingdon, Didcot, Faringdon, Wallingford and Wantage were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire. Berkshire County Council was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration (1888-1974).

Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire (to the north), Buckinghamshire (to the north-east), Greater London (to the east), Surrey (to the south-east), Wiltshire (to the west) and Hampshire (to the south).

No part of the county is more than 8.5 miles (13.7 km) from the M4 motorway.

Berwickshire

Berwickshire is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area in the Scottish Borders. It takes its name from Berwick-upon-Tweed, which was part of Scotland at the time of the county's formation, but became part of England in 1482 after several centuries of being fought over and swapping back and forth between the two kingdoms.

Formerly the county was often called "the Merse", from Old English mǣres, "border". From 1596 to 1890 the county town was Greenlaw. However, this was changed to Duns by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, the act which established the system of county councils in Scotland.

The county borders Midlothian to the west, East Lothian to the north, the North Sea to the east and Roxburghshire and the English county of Northumberland to the south.

Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county in South East England which borders Greater London to the south east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north east and Hertfordshire to the east.

Buckinghamshire is one of the home counties and towns such as High Wycombe, Amersham, Chesham and the Chalfonts in the east and southeast of the county are parts of the London commuter belt, forming some of the most densely populated parts of the county. Development in this region is restricted by the Metropolitan Green Belt. Other large settlements include the county town of Aylesbury, Marlow in the south near the Thames and Princes Risborough in the west near Oxford. Some areas without direct rail links to London, such as around the old county town of Buckingham and near Olney in the northeast, are much less populous. The largest town is Milton Keynes in the northeast, which with the surrounding area is administered as a unitary authority separately to the rest of Buckinghamshire. The remainder of the county is administered by Buckinghamshire County Council as a non-metropolitan county, and four district councils. In national elections, Buckinghamshire is considered a reliable supporter of the Conservative Party.

A large part of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, runs through the south of the county and attracts many walkers and cyclists from London. In this area older buildings are often made from local flint and red brick. Many parts of the county are quite affluent and like many areas around London this has led to problems with housing costs: several reports have identified the market town of Beaconsfield as having among the highest property prices outside London. Chequers, a mansion estate owned by the government, is the country retreat of the incumbent Prime Minister. To the north of the county lies rolling countryside in the Vale of Aylesbury and around the Great Ouse. The Thames forms part of the county’s southwestern boundary. Notable service amenities in the county are Pinewood Film Studios, Dorney rowing lake and part of Silverstone race track on the Northamptonshire border. Many national companies have offices in Milton Keynes. Heavy industry and quarrying is limited, with agriculture predominating after service industries.

Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire (; Welsh: Sir Gaerfyrddin; [siːr gɑːɨrˈvərðɪn] or informally Sir Gâr) is a unitary authority in southwest Wales, and one of the historic counties of Wales. The three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford. Carmarthen is the county town and administrative centre.

Carmarthenshire has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The county town was founded by the Romans, and the region was part of the Principality of Deheubarth in the High Middle Ages. After invasion by the Normans in the 12th and 13th centuries it was subjugated, along with other parts of Wales, by Edward I of England. There was further unrest in the early 15th century, when the Welsh rebelled under Owain Glyndŵr, and during the English Civil War.

Carmarthenshire is mainly an agricultural county, apart from the southeastern part which at one time was heavily industrialised with coal mining, steel-making and tin-plating. In the north of the county the woollen industry was very important in the 18th century.The economy depends on agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism. With the decline in its industrial base, and the low profitability of the livestock sector, West Wales was identified in 2014 as the worst-performing region in the United Kingdom along with the South Wales Valleys.Carmarthenshire, as a tourist destination, offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Much of the coast is fairly flat; it includes the Millennium Coastal Park, which extends for ten miles to the west of Llanelli; the National Wetlands Centre; a championship golf course; and the harbours of Burry Port and Pembrey. Further west are the sandy beaches at Llansteffan and Pendine, and Dylan Thomas' boathouse at Laugharne. There are a number of medieval castles, hillforts and standing stones in the county.

County

A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes, in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French conté or cunté denoting a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count (earl) or a viscount. The modern French is comté, and its equivalents in other languages are contea, contado, comtat, condado, Grafschaft, graafschap, Gau, etc. (cf. conte, comte, conde, Graf).

When the Normans conquered England, they brought the term with them. The Saxons had already established the districts that became the historic counties of England, calling them shires; many county names derive from the name of the county town (county seat) with the word "shire" added on: for example, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.The Anglo-Saxon terms "earl" and "earldom" were taken as equivalent to the continental terms "count" and "county" under the conquering Normans, and over time the two blended and became equivalent. Further, the later-imported term became a synonym for the native English word scir ([ʃiːr]) or, in Modern English, shire. Since a shire was an administrative division of the kingdom, the term "county" evolved to designate an administrative division of a federal state, as in Germany and the United States, or of a national government in most other modern uses.

In the United States and Canada, founded 600 years later on the British traditions, counties are usually an administrative division set by convenient geographical demarcations, which in governance have certain officeholders (e.g., sheriffs and their departments) as a part of the state and provincial mechanisms, including geographically common court systems.A county may be further subdivided into districts, hundreds, townships or other administrative jurisdictions within the county. A county usually, but not always, contains cities, towns, townships, villages, or other municipal corporations, which in most cases are somewhat subordinate or dependent upon county governments. Depending on the nation, municipality, and local geography, municipalities may or may not be subject to direct or indirect county control—the functions of both levels are often consolidated into a city government when the area is densely populated.Outside English-speaking countries, an equivalent of the term "county" is often used to describe subnational jurisdictions that are structurally equivalent to counties in the relationship they have with their national government; but which may not be administratively equivalent to counties in predominantly English-speaking countries.

County Meath

County Meath (; Irish: Contae na Mí or simply an Mhí) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the historic Kingdom of Meath (from Midhe meaning "middle" or "centre"). Meath County Council is the local authority for the county. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 195,044. The county town of Meath is Navan. Other towns in the county include Trim, Kells, Laytown, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, and Slane.

It is one of only two counties outside the west of Ireland to have an official Gaeltacht (the other being County Waterford, which has the Gaeltacht An Rinn) and the only county in Leinster to have an official Gaeltacht.

County Westmeath

County Westmeath (; Irish: Contae na hIarmhí or simply An Iarmhí) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Midlands Region. It originally formed part of the historic Kingdom of Meath (Midhe 'middle'). It was named Mide because the kingdom was located in the geographical centre of Ireland (the word Mide meant 'middle'). Westmeath County Council is the administrative body for the county, and the county town is Mullingar. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 88,770.

Durham, England

Durham (, locally ) is a historic city and the county town of County Durham in North East England. The city lies on the River Wear, to the west of Sunderland, south of Newcastle upon Tyne and to the north of Darlington. Founded over the final resting place of St Cuthbert, its Norman cathedral became a centre of pilgrimage in medieval England. The cathedral and adjacent 11th-century castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832. HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre. City of Durham is the name of the civil parish.

Guildford

Guildford ( (listen))

is a large town in Surrey, England, 27 miles (43 km) southwest of London on the A3 trunk road midway between the capital and Portsmouth.The town has a population of about 80,000 and is the seat of the wider Borough of Guildford which had an estimated 146,100 inhabitants in 2015.Guildford has Saxon roots and historians attribute its location to the existence of a gap in the North Downs where the River Wey was forded by the Harrow Way. By AD 978 it was home to an early English Royal Mint. The building of the Wey Navigation and the Basingstoke Canal in the 17th and 18th centuries, respectively, connected Guildford to a network of waterways that aided its prosperity. In the 20th century, the University of Surrey and Guildford Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral, were added.Due to recent development running north from Guildford, and linking to the Woking area, Guildford now officially forms the southwestern tip of the Greater London Built-up Area, as defined by the Office for National Statistics.

Ipswich

Ipswich ( (listen)) is a historic county town in Suffolk, England, located in East Anglia about 66 miles (106 km) north east of London. The town has been continuously occupied since the Saxon period, and its port has been one of England's most important for the whole of its history. The modern name is derived from the medieval name Gippeswic, likely taken either from an Old Saxon personal name or from an earlier name of the Orwell estuary (although unrelated to the name of the River Gipping). It has also been known as Gyppewicus and Yppswyche.Ipswich is a non-metropolitan district and is a large settlement despite its town status. The urban development of Ipswich overspills the borough boundaries significantly, with 75% of the town's population living within the borough at the time of the 2011 Census, when it was the fourth-largest urban area in the United Kingdom's East of England region, and the 42nd-largest urban area in England and Wales. In 2011, the town of Ipswich was found to have a population of 133,384, while the Ipswich built-up area is estimated to have a population of approximately 180,000 in 2011.The town is split into various quarters, with central and the waterfront drawing the most footfall. Central is home to the town's retail shopping and the town square, the Cornhill. The waterfront is a popular area of the town which is home to many restaurants, pubs and hotels. The waterfront was once an industrial port and served as the most important dock in the kingdom, the area has since been transformed into a trendy and picturesque setting housing the town's marina and various high-rise apartment buildings. The waterfront is also home to one of the UK's newest university, the University of Suffolk, after being formed in 2016.Ipswich has become a tourist hotspot in the UK with 3.5 million people reported to have visited the county town in 2016. Ipswich was voted as the 7th most desirable places to live and work in England by the Royal Mail in 2017. In 2007 Ipswich was awarded the cleanest town award, and in 2015, Ipswich was rated as third happiest place to live in the UK.

Middlesex

Middlesex (; abbreviation: Middx) is an historic county in southeast England. Its area is now almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London. Its area is now also mostly within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighbouring ceremonial counties. It was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons, and existed as an official administrative unit until 1965. The county is bounded to the south by the River Thames, and includes the rivers Colne and Lea and a ridge of hills as the other boundaries. The largely low-lying county, dominated by clay in its north and alluvium on gravel in its south, is the second smallest by area of England's historic counties, after Rutland.

The City of London was a county corporate from the 12th century and was able to exert political control over Middlesex. Westminster Abbey dominated most of the early financial, judicial and ecclesiastical aspects of the county. As London expanded into rural Middlesex, the Corporation of London resisted attempts to expand the city boundaries into the county, which posed problems for the administration of local government and justice. In the 18th and 19th centuries the population density was especially high in the southeast of the county, including the East End and West End of London. From 1855 the southeast was administered, with sections of Kent and Surrey, as part of the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works. When county councils were introduced in England in 1889 about 20% of the area of the historic county of Middlesex, along with a third of its population, was incorporated into the new administrative county of London and the remainder incorporated into the administrative county of Middlesex, governed by the Middlesex County Council that met regularly at the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster. The City of London, and Middlesex, became separate counties for other purposes and Middlesex regained the right to appoint its own sheriff, lost in 1199.

In the interwar years suburban London expanded further, with improvement and expansion of public transport, and the setting up of new industries. After the Second World War, the populations of the administrative county of London and of inner Middlesex were in steady decline, with high population growth continuing in the outer parts of Middlesex. After a Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, almost all of the area of the historic county of Middlesex was incorporated into Greater London in 1965, with the rest included in neighbouring administrative counties.

Montgomeryshire

Montgomeryshire, also known as Maldwyn (Welsh: Sir Drefaldwyn meaning "the Shire of Baldwin's town") is one of thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales. It is named after its county town, Montgomery, which in turn is named after one of William the Conqueror's main counsellors, Roger de Montgomerie, who was the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.

Montgomeryshire today constitutes the northern part of the principal area of Powys. The population of Montgomeryshire was 63,779 according to the 2011 census, with a low population density of 29 people per square km. The current area is 2,174 square km (839 square miles).

The largest town is Newtown, followed by Welshpool and Llanidloes.

Northwestern Illinois

Northwestern Illinois is a geographic region of the state of Illinois within the USA.

Northwestern Illinois is generally considered to consist of the following area: Jo Daviess County, Carroll County, Whiteside County, Stephenson County, Winnebago County, Ogle County, and Lee County. Northwestern Illinois borders the states of Iowa to the west and Wisconsin to the north.

The largest city in this region, located near the eastern edge, is Rockford. Rockford's Metropolitan Area includes Winnebago County and Boone County (to the east), with an estimated 2009 population of 353,722.Former US President Ronald Reagan was born in the Whiteside County town of Tampico, IL.

R265 road (Ireland)

The R265 is a Regional road wholly within County Donegal in Ireland, it runs north to south from near Newtown Cunningham to Rossgier near Lifford the County Town. The road runs from near Lough Swilly and generally along the west bank of the River Foyle. The road runs through mostly arable farmland in the East Donegal area.

Roxburghshire

Roxburghshire or the County of Roxburgh is a historic county and registration county in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It borders Dumfriesshire to the west, Selkirkshire and Midlothian to the north-west, and Berwickshire to the north. To the south-west it borders Cumberland and to the south-east Northumberland, both in England.

It was named after the Royal Burgh of Roxburgh, a town which declined markedly in the 15th century and is no longer in existence. Latterly, the county town of Roxburghshire was Jedburgh.

The county has much the same area as Teviotdale, the basin drained by the River Teviot and tributaries together with the adjacent stretch of the Tweed into which it flows. The term is often treated as synonymous with Roxburghshire, but may omit Liddesdale as Liddel Water drains to the west coast.

Wiltshire

Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a county in South West England with an area of 3,485 km2 (1,346 square miles). It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The county town was originally Wilton, after which the county is named, but Wiltshire Council is now based in the county town of Trowbridge.

Wiltshire is characterised by its high downland and wide valleys. Salisbury Plain is noted for being the location of the Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles and other ancient landmarks, and as a training area for the British Army. The city of Salisbury is notable for its medieval cathedral. Important country houses open to the public include Longleat, near Warminster, and the National Trust's Stourhead, near Mere.

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