Historical Areas of Great Britain

I have an interest in history in general and the history of political and administrative divisions within Great Britain. The traditional counties have been superseded by council areas that, whilst they do need to be functional, do not always reflect the historical significance of the counties. This is to be expected but it may be the case that counties should never have been the basis of local government in modern times, and new, totally unrelated areas devised for this purpose. Then we could use the counties in their geographical role, as a stable and unchanging reference to geographical locations that cannot just change for political reasons. This already happens to an extent as the counties are used for important legal purposes such as land registration, at least in Scotland. The traditional counties should be shown on maps and used for tourism, as surely tourists are mosre interested in the history of the country rather than which council administers which area.

So, this page is here as a portal to some of my projects to catalogue the historical and traditional geographical divisions in Great Britain. The maps are, for the most part, created by myself and show details such as the ancient hundreds and civil or ecclesiastical parishes in each county. It is, and probably always will be, unfinished. In the meantime, for more information, the following pages provide a good starting point to obtaining familiarisation with the traditional counties in Great Britain.

The Traditional Counties of England

This is a work in progress and will be added to periodically. This work attempts to map the traditional, or historic, counties of England (and, hopefully, eventually of Scotland and Wales).. The time period chosen for the mapping is the mid 1800s, as this falls between the 1844 Act of Parliament that ironed out many of the smaller detached parts of counties, and the 1888-89 Acts that established the county councils, a number of which differ significantly from the historic ones. Each county in England will have details of the hundreds and parishes contained within it, with a map showing the hundreds and, in some cases, the parishes contained within it. This should help give an understanding of the areas covered by the traditional counties as well a little bit of the history as to how they came about and developed into the areas we currently consider them to cover.

Index of counties

  1. Berkshire
  2. Buckinghamshire
  3. Cambridgeshire
  4. Hertfordshire
  5. Shropshire
  6. Surrey

The Traditonal Counties of Scotland

These pages will show maps and other details of some of the traditional counties of Scotland. This is also a work in progress, as these things take a lot of time and other things get in the way, such as working, so this list will start off short and be added to as time goes on.

  1. Banffshire
  2. Morayshire & Nairnshire
  3. Perthshire

The Ancient Provinces of Scotland

Old maps of Scotland did not always show counties, they often showed other districts, such as earldoms or provinces. Many of these provinces descended from the seven ancient Pictish earldoms, and others were based on similar divisions and even early versions of the counties. Click here for more information.