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Counties of England - United Kingdom

List of counties of England - United Kingdom

England is a nation within the United Kingdom

Image right licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported; Click on the image and select "full view" for detailed image of the map right

This is the hub project for the counties of England. The history of local government in the United Kingdom differs between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and the subnational divisions within these which have been called counties have varied over time and by purpose. The county has formed the upper tier of local government over much of the United Kingdom at one time or another, and has been used for a variety of other purposes, such as for Lord Lieutenants, land registration and postal delivery.

Most of the counties of England were established in the Middle Ages sometime between the 7th and 11th centuries. These early divisions continue to form most of the current counties, some with adapted boundaries.

To simplify matters this project is concentrating on the Historic or Real Counties of England as they are those most likely to be those referred to in Historic and Genealogical documents. The Historic or Real Counties were essentially shaped by natural boundaries - hills, rivers, mountains and streams, and defined by history. The word "County" comes from the Norman French - comté equivalent to the Saxon word shire which means a portion or sheared off piece of land. Real Counties were formed a long time ago. Counties such as Kent, Essex and Middlesex are over 1000 years old. By the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 most English counties were in place, only 6 were created afterwards. Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Sussex lost many or all of their administrative functions centuries ago.

Generally speaking if a county has the suffix shire it originates from an area around one central strategic or fortified town. Others originate from an ancient tribe or territory.

The counties of Cumberland, Herefordshire, Rutland, Westmorland and Worcestershire were disestablished . ✘


Bold links are to Geni projects. Other links take you to external web pages.

The Historic or Real Counties are:

Others Counties

Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England. Historically split between Gloucestershire and Somerset, the city received a Royal Charter in 1155 and was granted County status in 1373.

The County of London was a county of England from 1889 to 1965, corresponding to the area known today as Inner London. It was created as part of the general introduction of elected county government in England, by way of the Local Government Act 1888. The Act created an administrative County of London, which included within its territory the City of London. However, the City of London and the County of London formed separate counties for "non-administrative" purposes.

Greater London is an administrative area, ceremonial county and the London region of England. It was created as an area for local government on 1 April 1965, comprising the City of London and 32 London boroughs, of which twelve are Inner London boroughs and twenty are Outer London boroughs. The ceremonial county was created at the same time, and used for the purposes of the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, does not include the City of London.

The Isle of Ely is a historic region around the city of Ely now in Cambridgeshire, England but previously a county in its own right.

Changes made 1965 and 1974

The geographic counties which existed before the local government reforms of 1965 and 1974 are referred to as '"ancient counties'", historic counties or "Real Counties" - see above list.

From 1889 to 1974 areas with county councils were known as administrative counties, which excluded larger town and cities known as county boroughs and included divisions of some geographic counties.

From 1974 to 1996 the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties, some of which were established only in 1974, corresponded directly with the ceremonial ceremonial counties.

Those counties most affected by changes (marked ❖). were -

  • Lincolnshire (into "Parts" - North and North-East)
  • Sussex (East and West).
  • Yorkshire (into "Ridings"), There are maps and notes explaining these divisions on the Yorkshire main page

The boundary changes between the counties over the years resulted in areas being exchanged and suburban areas in one county being annexed by county boroughs in another.

A major realignment came in 1931, when the boundaries between Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire were adjusted by the Provisional Order Confirmation (Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) Act which transferred 26 parishes between the three counties.

The Local Government Act 1972 came into force on 1 April 1974. It abolished the existing local government structure of administrative counties and county boroughs in England and Wales outside Greater London, replacing it with a new entirely 'two-tier' system. It created a new set of 45 counties, six of which were metropolitan and 39 of which were non-metropolitan. The historic county boundaries were retained wherever it was practicable.

Some of the counties established by the Act were entirely new - marked ❉ -

- along with the new metropolitan counties of

See also British Crown Dependencies

The Crown dependencies are self-governing possessions of the British Crown.


Ceremonial counties since 1997

The following are the ceremonial counties of England, as presently defined:

  • Bedfordshire, consisting of Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton
  • Berkshire
  • Bristol
  • Buckinghamshire, including Milton Keynes
  • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
  • Cheshire, consisting of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington
  • City of London [N2]
  • Cornwall, including the Isles of Scilly
  • Cumbria
  • Derbyshire, including Derby
  • Devon, including Plymouth and Torbay
  • Dorset, including Bournemouth and Poole
  • County Durham Durham, including Darlington, Hartlepool, and Stockton-on-Tees north of the River Tees
  • East Riding of Yorkshire, including Kingston-upon-Hull
  • East Sussex, including Brighton and Hove
  • Essex, including Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock
  • Gloucestershire, including South Gloucestershire
  • Greater London, excluding the City of London
  • Greater Manchester
  • Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Herefordshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Isle of Wight
  • Kent, including Medway
  • Lancashire, including Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool
  • Leicestershire, including Leicester
  • Lincolnshire, including North Lincolnshire, and North East Lincolnshire
  • Merseyside
  • Norfolk
  • North Yorkshire, including Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, York, and Stockton-on-Tees south of the River Tees
  • Northamptonshire
  • Northumberland
  • Nottinghamshire, including Nottingham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Rutland
  • Shropshire, including Telford and Wrekin
  • Somerset, including Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset
  • South Yorkshire
  • Staffordshire, including Stoke-on-Trent
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Tyne and Wear
  • Warwickshire
  • West Midlands
  • West Sussex
  • West Yorkshire
  • Wiltshire, including Swindon
  • Worcestershire


Chapman County Codes

Full list for United Kingdom

These codes, created by Dr Colin Chapman in the late 1970s, are widely used in genealogy to identify administrative divisions in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, but covering historical divisions.


  • ABD Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  • AGY Anglesey, Wales
  • ALD Alderney, Channel Islands
  • ANS Angus, Scotland
  • ANT Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • ARL Argyllshire, Scotland
  • ARM Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland
  • AVN Avon, England
  • AYR Ayrshire, Scotland


  • BAN Banffshire, Scotland
  • BDF Bedfordshire, England
  • BEW Berwickshire, Scotland
  • BKM Buckinghamshire, England
  • BOR Borders, Scotland
  • BRE Breconshire, Wales
  • BRK Berkshire, England
  • BUT Bute, Scotland


  • CAE Caernarvonshire, Wales
  • CAI Caithness, Scotland
  • CAM Cambridgeshire, England
  • CAR Co. Carlow, Ireland
  • CAV Co. Cavan, Ireland
  • CEN Central, Scotland
  • CGN Cardiganshire, Wales
  • CHI Channel Islands (Sometimes just "CI")
  • CHS Cheshire, England
  • CLA Co. Clare, Ireland
  • CLK Clackmannanshire, Scotland
  • CLV Cleveland, England
  • CMA Cumbria, England
  • CMN Carmarthenshire, Wales
  • CON Cornwall, England
  • COR Co. Cork, Ireland
  • CUL Cumberland, England
  • CWD Clwyd, Wales


  • DBY Derbyshire, England
  • DEN Denbighshire, Wales
  • DEV Devon, England
  • DFD Dyfed, Wales
  • DFS Dumfries-shire, Scotland
  • DGY Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
  • DNB Dunbartonshire, Scotland
  • DON Co. Donegal, Ireland
  • DOR Dorset, England
  • DOW Co. Down, Northern Ireland
  • DUB Co. Dublin, Ireland
  • DUR Co. Durham, England


  • ELN East Lothian, Scotland
  • ENG England
  • ERY East Riding of Yorkshire, England
  • ESS Essex, England


  • FER Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
  • FIF Fife, Scotland
  • FLN Flintshire, Wales


  • GAL Co. Galway, Ireland
  • GLA Glamorgan, Wales
  • GLS Gloucestershire, England
  • GMP Grampian, Scotland
  • GNT Gwent, Wales
  • GSY Guernsey, Channel Islands
  • GTM Greater Manchester, England
  • GWN Gwynedd, Wales


  • HAM Hampshire, England
  • HEF Herefordshire, England
  • HLD Highland, Scotland
  • HRT Hertfordshire, England
  • HUM Humberside, England
  • HUN Huntingdonshire, England
  • HWR Hereford and Worcester, England


  • INV Inverness-shire, Scotland
  • IOM Isle of Man
  • IOW Isle of Wight, England
  • IRL Ireland


  • JSY Jersey, Channel Islands


  • KCD Kincardineshire, Scotland
  • KEN Kent, England
  • KER Co. Kerry, Ireland
  • KID Co. Kildare, Ireland
  • KIK Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
  • KKD Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
  • KRS Kinross-shire, Scotland


  • LAN Lancashire, England
  • LDY Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • LEI Leicestershire, England
  • LET Co. Leitrim, Ireland
  • LEX Co. Laois, Ireland
  • LIM Co. Limerick, Ireland
  • LIN Lincolnshire, England
  • LKS Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • LND London, England
  • LOG Co. Longford, Ireland
  • LOU Co. Louth, Ireland
  • LTN Lothian, Scotland


  • MAY Co. Mayo, Ireland
  • MDX Middlesex, England
  • MEA Co. Meath, Ireland
  • MER Merionethshire, Wales
  • MGM Mid Glamorgan, Wales
  • MGY Montgomeryshire, Wales
  • MLN Midlothian, Scotland
  • MOG Co. Monaghan, Ireland
  • MON Monmouthshire, Wales
  • MOR Morayshire, Scotland
  • MSY Merseyside, England


  • NAI Nairn, Scotland
  • NBL Northumberland, England
  • NFK Norfolk, England
  • NIR Northern Ireland
  • NRY North Riding of Yorkshire, England
  • NTH Northamptonshire, England
  • NTT Nottinghamshire, England
  • NYK North Yorkshire, England


  • OFF Co. Offaly, Ireland
  • OKI Orkney, Scotland
  • OXF Oxfordshire, England


  • PEE Peebles-shire, Scotland
  • PEM Pembrokeshire, Wales
  • PER Perth, Scotland
  • POW Powys, Wales


  • RAD Radnorshire, Wales
  • RFW Renfrewshire, Scotland
  • ROC Ross and Cromarty, Scotland
  • ROS Co. Roscommon, Ireland
  • ROX Roxburghshire, Scotland
  • RUT Rutland, England


  • SAL Shropshire, England
  • SCT Scotland
  • SEL Selkirkshire, Scotland
  • SFK Suffolk, England
  • SGM South Glamorgan, Wales
  • SHI Shetland, Scotland
  • SLI Co. Sligo, Ireland
  • SOM Somerset, England
  • SRK Sark, Channel Islands
  • SRY Surrey, England
  • SSX Sussex, England
  • STD Strathclyde, Scotland
  • STI Stirlingshire, Scotland
  • STS Staffordshire, England
  • SUT Sutherland, Scotland
  • SXE East Sussex, England
  • SXW West Sussex, England
  • SYK South Yorkshire, England


  • TAY Tayside, Scotland
  • TIP Co. Tipperary, Ireland
  • TWR Tyne and Wear, England
  • TYR Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland


  • WLS Wales
  • WAR Warwickshire, England
  • WAT Co. Waterford, Ireland
  • WEM Co. Westmeath, Ireland
  • WES Westmorland, England
  • WEX Co. Wexford, Ireland
  • WGM West Glamorgan, Wales
  • WIC Co. Wicklow, Ireland
  • WIG Wigtownshire, Scotland
  • WIL Wiltshire, England
  • WIS Western Isles, Scotland
  • WLN West Lothian, Scotland
  • WMD West Midlands, England
  • WOR Worcestershire, England
  • WRY West Riding of Yorkshire, England
  • WYK West Yorkshire, England


  • YKS Yorkshire, England

For counties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland see:

Back to the UK Portal