A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and some other English-speaking countries. It was first used in Wessex from the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement, and spread to most of the rest of England in the tenth century. In some rural parts of Australia, a shire is a local government area; however, in Australia it is not synonymous with a "county", which is a lands administrative division.
|The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle often mentions various locations ending or beginning with 'scire' and 'scira'.|
The word derives from the Old English scir, itself a derivative of the Proto-Germanic skizo (cf. Old High German scira), meaning care or official charge. In the UK, "shire" is the original term for what is usually known now as a county; the word county having been introduced at the Norman Conquest of England. The two are nearly synonymous. Although in modern British usage counties are referred to as "shires" mainly in poetic contexts, terms such as Shire Hall remain common. Shire also remains a common part of many county names.
In regions with so-called rhotic pronunciation such as Scotland, the word shire is pronounced /ʃaɪər/. In non-rhotic areas the final R is silent unless the next word begins in a vowel. When shire is a suffix as part of a placename in England, the vowel is unstressed and thus usually shortened and/or monophthongised: pronunciations include /ʃɜːr/, or sometimes /ʃɪər/, with the pronunciation of the final R again depending on rhoticity. In many words, the vowel is normally reduced all the way to a single schwa, as in for instance Leicestershire /ˈlɛstərʃər/ or Berkshire /ˈbɑːrkʃər/. Outside England, and especially in Scotland and the US, it is more common for shire as part of a placename to be pronounced identically to the full word, as a result of spelling pronunciation.
The system was first used in the kingdom of Wessex from the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement, and spread to most of the rest of England in the tenth century, along with the West Saxon kingdom's political domination. In Domesday (1086) the city of York was divided into shires. The first shires of Scotland were created in English-settled areas such as Lothian and the Borders, in the ninth century. King David I more consistently created shires and appointed sheriffs across lowland shores of Scotland.
The shire in early days was governed by an ealdorman and in the later Anglo-Saxon period by royal official known as a "shire reeve" or sheriff. The shires were divided into hundreds or wapentakes, although other less common sub-divisions existed. An alternative name for a shire was a "sheriffdom" until sheriff court reforms separated the two concepts. The phrase "shire county" applies, unofficially, to non-metropolitan counties in England, specifically those that are not local unitary authority areas. In Scotland the word "county" was not adopted for the shires. Although "county" appears in some texts, "shire" was the normal name until counties for statutory purposes were created in the nineteenth century.
"Shire" also refers, in a narrower sense, to ancient counties with names that ended in "shire". These counties are typically (though not always) named after their county town. The suffix -shire is attached to most of the names of English, Scottish and Welsh counties. It tends not to be found in the names of shires that were pre-existing divisions. Essex, Kent, and Sussex, for example, have never borne a -shire, as each represents a former Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Similarly Cornwall was a British kingdom before it became an English county. The term "shire" is not used in the names of the six traditional counties of Northern Ireland.
Counties in England bearing the "-shire" suffix include: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire. These counties, on their historical boundaries, cover a little more than half the area of England. The counties that do not use "-shire" are mainly in three areas, in the south-east, south-west and far north of England. Several of these counties no longer exist as administrative units, or have had their administrative boundaries reduced by local government reforms. Several of the successor authorities retain the "-shire" county names, such as West Yorkshire and South Gloucestershire.
The county of Devon was historically known as Devonshire, although this is no longer the official name. Similarly, Dorset, Rutland and Somerset were formerly known as Dorsetshire, Rutlandshire and Somersetshire, but these terms are no longer official, and are rarely used outside the local populations.
In Scotland, barely affected by the Norman conquest of England, the word "shire" prevailed over "county" until the 19th century. Earliest sources have the same usage of the "-shire" suffix as in England (though in Scots this was oftenmost "schyr"). Later the "Shire" appears as a separate word.
"Shire" names in Scotland include Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Banffshire, Berwickshire, Clackmannanshire, Cromartyshire, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, Inverness-shire, Kincardineshire, Kinross-shire, Kirkcudbrightshire, Lanarkshire, Morayshire, Nairnshire, Peeblesshire, Perthshire, Renfrewshire, Ross-shire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire, Stirlingshire, and Wigtownshire.
Sutherland is occasionally still referred to as Sutherlandshire. Similarly, Argyllshire, Buteshire, Caithness-shire and Fifeshire are sometimes found. Also, Morayshire was previously called Elginshire. There is debate about whether Argyllshire was ever really used.
Shires in Wales bearing the "-shire" suffix include: Brecknockshire (or Breconshire), Caernarfonshire (historically Carnarvonshire), Cardiganshire (now Ceredigion), Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire, and Radnorshire. In Wales, the counties of Merioneth and Glamorgan are occasionally referred to with the "shire" suffix. The only traditional Welsh county that never takes "shire" is Anglesey—in English: in Welsh it is referred to as 'Sir Fon'.
The suffix "-shire" could be a generalised term referring to a district. It did not acquire the strong association with county until later. Other than these, the term was used for several other districts. Bedlingtonshire, Craikshire, Norhamshire and Islandshire were exclaves of County Durham, which were incorporated into Northumberland or Yorkshire in 1844. The suffix was also used for many hundreds, wapentakes and liberties such as Allertonshire, Blackburnshire, Halfshire, Howdenshire, Leylandshire, Powdershire, Pydarshire, Richmondshire, Riponshire, Salfordshire, Triggshire, Tynemouthshire, West Derbyshire and Wivelshire, counties corporate such as Hullshire, and other districts such as Applebyshire, Bamburghshire, Bunkleshire, Carlisleshire, Coldinghamshire, Coxwoldshire, Cravenshire, Hallamshire, Mashamshire and Yetholmshire. Richmondshire is today the name of a local government district of North Yorkshire.
Non-county shires were very common in Scotland. Kinross-shire and Clackmannanshire are arguably survivals from such districts. Non-county "shires" in Scotland include Bunkleshire, Coldinghamshire and Yetholmshire.
"Shire" is the most common word in Australia for rural local government areas (LGAs). New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory use the term "shire" for this unit; the territories of Christmas Island and Cocos Island are also shires. In contrast, South Australia uses district and region for its rural LGA units, while Tasmania uses municipality. Shires are generally functionally indistinguishable from towns, borough, municipalities, or cities.
Three LGAs in outer metropolitan Sydney and four in outer metropolitan Melbourne have populations exceeding that of towns or municipalities, but retain significant bushlands and/or semi-rural areas, and most have continued to use "shire" in their titles whilst others have dropped it from theirs. These "city-shires" are:
As of 2013 six of the original eight Shires of Virginia are considered to be still extant whilst two have consolidated with a neighbouring city. Most of their boundaries have changed in the intervening centuries.
Before the Province of New York was granted county subdivisions and a greater royal presence in 1683, the early ducal colony consisted of York Shire, as well as Albany and Ulster, after the three titles held by Prince James: Duke of York, Duke of Albany, Earl of Ulster. While these were basically renamed Dutch core settlements, they were quickly converted to English purposes, while the Dutch remained within the colony, as opposed to later practice of the Acadian Expulsion. Further Anglo-Dutch synthesis occurred when James enacted the Dominion of New England and later when William III of England took over through the Glorious Revolution.
A few New England states and commonwealths (namely Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine), still use the term shire town for their county seats, although they use the term county, rather than shire.
A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Taiwan and the United States. County towns have a similar function in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, and historically in Jamaica.Greater Hume Shire
Greater Hume Shire is a local government area in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales, Australia. The Shire was formed in 2004 incorporating Culcairn Shire, the majority of Holbrook Shire and part of Hume Shire. The shire had an estimated population of 10,137 as at 2012.The Shire is located adjacent to the Hume, Olympic and Riverina Highways and the Sydney–Melbourne railway.
The mayor of the Greater Hume Shire Council is Cr. Heather Wilton, an independent politician.Inverness-shire
The Shire of Inverness (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) is a historic county and lieutenancy area of Scotland. Covering much of the Highlands and Outer Hebrides, it is Scotland's largest county, though one of the smallest in population, with 67,733 people or 1.34% of the national population.List of Melbourne suburbs
This is a list of the suburbs of Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, with their postcodes and local government areas (LGAs). Suburbs are defined here as localities within the legislated Urban Growth Boundary, all of which have some urban development. This line is the effective boundary of suburban Melbourne; outside it lie rural areas, and some townships of varying size. This article does not include Phillip Island and suburbs and localities within the Geelong region.
Some of the suburbs are contained within two or three local government areas; these have been marked and cross-referenced.
Localities are shown in italics to differentiate them from suburbs.
Information about exact suburb boundaries can be obtained from the Department of Sustainability and Environment.Local government areas of New South Wales
The local government areas (LGA) of New South Wales in Australia describes the institutions and processes by which areas, cities, towns, municipalities, regions, shires, and districts can manage their own affairs to the extent permitted by the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).
Local government authorities provide a wide range of services. The most important of these are the general services of administration, health, community amenities, recreation and culture, roads and debt servicing throughout the area controlled by the council. Councils also provide a range of trading activities, mainly in country areas of NSW. These trading activities include water supply, sewerage services, gas services and abattoir facilities.Administered by the Government of New South Wales and subject to periodic restructuring involving voluntary and involuntary amalgamation of areas, local government areas are considered a city when an area has received city status by proclamation of the Governor. Some areas retain designations they held under prior legislation, even though these titles no longer indicate a legal status. These include municipalities (that are predominantly inner-city suburban areas and smaller rural towns) and shires (that are predominantly rural or outer suburban areas). Many councils now choose not to use any area title, and simply refer to themselves as councils, e.g. Northern Beaches Council, Burwood Council. The smallest local government by area in the state is the Municipality of Hunter's Hill; the largest by area is Central Darling Shire Council.Local government areas of Queensland
This is a list of local government areas (LGAs) in Queensland, sorted by region. For the history and responsibilities of local government in that state, see Local government in Queensland. For former local government areas in Queensland, see List of former local government areas of Queensland.Local government areas of Western Australia
The local government areas (LGAs) in the Australian state of Western Australia describes the 139 institutions and processes by which towns and districts can manage their own affairs to the extent permitted by the Local Government Act 1995. The Local Government Act 1995 also makes provision for regional local governments, established by two or more local governments for a particular purpose.There are three classifications of local government in Western Australia:
City – predominantly urban, some larger regional centres
Town – predominantly inner urban, plus Port Hedland
Shire – predominantly rural or outer suburban areasThe Shire of Christmas Island and the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Federal external territories and covered by the Indian Ocean Territories Administration of Laws Act which allows the Western Australian Local Government Act to apply "on-Island" as though it were a Commonwealth act. Nonetheless, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are not part of Western Australia.
Historically, two types of local government existed – municipalities, which represented towns or condensed urban areas, and road districts, which represented all other regions. For instance, the Perth Road District was the precursor to the City of Stirling. Only a few cities – Perth, Fremantle, Subiaco, South Perth and Nedlands – existed prior to 1961. On 1 July 1961, all road districts became shires, and all municipalities became towns.Local government in Australia
Local government in Australia is the third tier of government in Australia administered by the states and territories, which in turn are beneath the federal tier. Local government is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia and two referenda in the 1970s and 1980s to alter the Constitution relating to local government were unsuccessful. Every state government recognises local government in their respective constitutions. Unlike Canada or the United States, there is only one level of local government in each state, with no distinction such as cities and counties.
The local governing body is generally referred to as a council, and the territories governed are collectively referred to as "local government areas"; however, terms such as "city" or "shire" also have a geographic interpretation. In August 2016 there were 547 local councils in Australia.Despite the single level of local government in Australia, there are a number of extensive areas with relatively low populations which are not a part of any local government area. Powers of local governments in these areas may be exercised by special purpose bodies established outside the general legislation, as with Victoria's alpine resorts, or directly by state governments. The area covered by local councils in Australia ranges from as small as 1.5 km2 (0.58 sq mi) for the Shire of Peppermint Grove in metropolitan Perth, to the Shire of East Pilbara in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which covers 380,000 km2 (150,000 sq mi), an area larger than Germany or Japan.Non-metropolitan county
A non-metropolitan county, or colloquially, shire county, is a county-level entity in England that is not a metropolitan county. The counties typically have populations of 300,000 to 1.4 million. The term shire county is, however, an unofficial usage. Many of the non-metropolitan counties bear historic names and most end in the suffix "-shire" such as Wiltshire or Staffordshire. Of the remainder, some counties had the -shire ending and have lost it over time; such as Devon and Somerset. "Shire county" is, strictly, a dual-language tautology since the French-derived "county" means the same as the older Anglo-Saxon word "shire".Non-metropolitan district
Non-metropolitan districts, or colloquially "shire districts", are a type of local government district in England. As created, they are sub-divisions of non-metropolitan counties (colloquially shire counties) in a two-tier arrangement.Perthshire
Perthshire ( (listen); Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt), officially the County of Perth, is a historic county and registration county in central Scotland. Geographically it extends from Strathmore in the east, to the Pass of Drumochter in the north, Rannoch Moor and Ben Lui in the west, and Aberfoyle in the south; its borders the counties of Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire to the north, Angus to the east, Fife, Kinross-shire, Clackmannanshire, Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire to the south and Argyllshire to the west. It was a local government county from 1890 to 1930.
Perthshire is known as the "big county", owed to its roundness and status as the 4th largest historic county in Scotland. It has a wide variety of landscapes, from the rich agricultural straths in the east, to the high mountains of the southern Highlands.Seaforth Highlanders
The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's) was a historic line infantry regiment of the British Army, mainly associated with large areas of the northern Highlands of Scotland. The regiment existed from 1881 to 1961, and saw service in World War I and World War II, along with many numerous smaller conflicts. In 1961 the regiment was amalgamated with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders to form the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons), which merged, in 1994, with the Gordon Highlanders to form the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons). This, however, later joined the Royal Scots Borderers, the Black Watch, the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to create the present Royal Regiment of Scotland.Sheriff
A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England, where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated to English as sheriff, and this is discussed below.Shire (Middle-earth)
The Shire is a region of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-earth, described in The Lord of the Rings and other works. The Shire refers to an inland area settled exclusively by Hobbits and largely removed from the goings-on in the rest of Middle-earth. It is located in the northwest of the continent, in the large region of Eriador and the Kingdom of Arnor. In the languages invented by Tolkien, its name in Westron was Sûza "Shire" or Sûzat "The Shire", while its name in Sindarin was i Drann.The Shire is the scene of action in parts of Tolkien's The Hobbit, and more extensively so in the sequel, The Lord of the Rings. Five of the main protagonists in these stories have their homeland in the Shire: Bilbo Baggins (the titular character of The Hobbit), and four members of the Fellowship of the Ring: Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took. These characters often express their homesickness for the Shire during their long adventures away from it.
Tolkien based the Shire's landscapes, climate, flora and fauna on rural England. He equated the latitude of Hobbiton, a focal town in the Shire, with that of Oxford (51° 45' N).Shire (pharmaceutical company)
Shire Plc was a Jersey-registered, Irish-headquartered global specialty biopharmaceutical company. Originating in the United Kingdom with an operational base in the United States, its brands and products included Vyvanse, Lialda, and Adderall XR. Shire had its primary listing on the London Stock Exchange. Shire has a secondary listing on NASDAQ. Shire was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company on 8 January 2019.
Shire was a global biotechnology company focused on serving people with rare diseases and other highly specialized conditions. The company's products were available in more than 100 countries across core therapeutic areas including Hematology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Lysosomal Storage Disorders, Gastrointestinal / Internal Medicine / Endocrine and Hereditary Angioedema; a growing franchise in Oncology; and an emerging, innovative pipeline in Ophthalmics.
The original corporate headquarters was located in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. Main offices are located in Dublin, Ireland, the United States in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Chicago, Illinois and in Zug, Switzerland. In addition, Shire owns manufacturing sites in Lexington, Massachusetts and Social Circle, Georgia. Shire’s headquarters in Lexington, MA will be integrated with Takeda’s new U.S. headquarters, which is being relocated from Deerfield, IL to the Boston area.Shires of Scotland
The counties or shires of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachdan na h-Alba) are geographic subdivisions of Scotland established in the Middle Ages. Originally established for judicial purposes (being the territory over which a sheriff had jurisdiction), from the 17th century they started to be used for local administration purposes as well. The areas used for judicial functions (sheriffdoms) came to diverge from the shires, which ceased to be used for local government purposes after 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.Today, local government in Scotland is based upon "council areas", which sometimes incorporate county names, but frequently have vastly different boundaries. Counties continue to be used for the purpose of lieutenancy and land registration purposes, though the lieutenancy areas are not entirely identical.Talia Shire
Talia Rose Shire (née Coppola; born April 25, 1946) is an American actress best known for her roles as Connie Corleone in The Godfather films and Adrian Balboa in the Rocky series. For her work in The Godfather Part II and Rocky, Shire was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress, respectively, and for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama for her role in Rocky.Wheatbelt (Western Australia)
The Wheatbelt is one of nine regions of Western Australia defined as administrative areas for the state's regional development, and a vernacular term for the area converted to agriculture during colonisation. It partially surrounds the Perth metropolitan area, extending north from Perth to the Mid West region, and east to the Goldfields-Esperance region. It is bordered to the south by the South West and Great Southern regions, and to the west by the Indian Ocean, the Perth metropolitan area, and the Peel region. Altogether, it has an area of 154,862 square kilometres (59,793 sq mi) (including islands).
The region has 43 local government authorities, with an estimated population of 75,000 residents. The Wheatbelt accounts for approximately three per cent of Western Australia's population.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.
Designations for types of administrative territorial entities
1 Used by ten or more countries or having derived terms. Historical derivations in italics.