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Counties of Wales - United Kingdom

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Counties of Wales

Wales is a nation within the United Kingdom.

This is the hub project for the counties of Wales. 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.

1. Historic counties of Wales

The 1535 Laws in Wales Act had the effect of abolishing the marcher lordships within and on the borders of Wales. In the border areas, several were incorporated in whole or in part into English counties. The lordships of Ludlow, Clun, Caus and part of Montgomery were incorporated into Shropshire; and Wigmore, Huntington, Clifford and most of Ewyas were included in Herefordshire.

These are the counties which the initial linked project pages will be based on as they are the areas moist likely to be associated with Genealogical research.

The pages linked to Geni project pages are in Bold. Links to the Wikipedia pages are not.

2. Preserved counties of Wales

The preserved counties of Wales are the current areas used in Wales for the ceremonial purposes of lieutenancy and shrievalty. They are based on the counties created by the Local Government Act 1972 and used for local government and other purposes between 1974 and 1996.

  1. Gwent - comprises Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen
  2. South Glamorgan - comprises Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan
  3. Mid Glamorgan - comprises Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  4. West Glamorgan- comprises Neath Port Talbot, Swansea
  5. Dyfed - comprises Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire
  6. Powys - comprises Powys
  7. Gwynedd - comprises Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey
  8. Clwyd - comprises Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham

3. Current Counties

In this first list current Counties (post 1996) are marked with § with their Welsh name in brackets, and Counties created in 1974 are marked ❉

You will normally see the words "Cyngor" (Council) and "Sir" (Shire) in front of the Welsh County Name - e.g. Cyngor Sir Penfro

West Wales

1974 to 1996

  • Dyfed was created by the amalgamation of the Counties of Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire & Pembrokeshire

West Wales

Current Counties - 1996 to date

  • § Carmarthenshire (Sir Gár) - formerly part of Dyfed
  • § Ceredigion - formerly part of Dyfed - The name was changed in 1996 from Cardiganshire
  • § Pembrokeshire (Sir Penfro) - formerly part of Dyfed

Mid Wales

1974 to 1996

  • Monmouthshire became part of Gwent (see: South Wales 1974 to 1996)
  • Powys was created by the amalgamation of the Counties of Brecknockshire, Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire

Mid Wales

1996 to date

  • § Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy) was re-instated, but lost Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport & Torfaen from pre 1974 Monmouthshire
  • § Powys the only area which continued with unaltered boundaries

North West Wales 1974 to 1996

  • Gwynedd was created by the amalgamation of the Counties of Anglesey, Caernarfonshire & Merioneth

North West Wales

1996 to date

  • § Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Mon) - formerly part of Gwynedd Conwy - formerly part of Gwynedd
  • § Gwynedd as a name remained, but lost Anglesey & Conwy from the former Gwynedd Unitary Authority

North East Wales 1974 to 1996

  • Clwyd was created by the amalgamation of the Counties of Denbighshire & Flintshire

North East Wales - Current Counties - 1996 to date

  • § Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych) - formerly part of Clwyd with some boundary changes from pre 1974 Denbighshire
  • § Flintshire (Sir y Fflint) - formerly part of Clwyd - lost its pre 1974 unique English enclave to Wrexham
  • § Wrexham (Wrecsam) - formerly part of Clwyd - gained parts of pre 1974 Flintshire

South Wales

1974 to 1996

  • ❉ Gwent was created out of Monmouthshire
  • ❉ Glamorgan became a Unitary authority

South Wales

1996 to date

  • § Blaenau Gwent - formerly part of Gwent and prior to 1974, Monmouthshire
  • § Caerphilly (Caerffili) - formerly part of Gwent and prior to 1974, Monmouthshire
  • § City of Newport (Dinas Casnewydd) - formerly part of Gwent and prior to 1974, Monmouthshire
  • § Torfaen - formerly part of Gwent and prior to 1974, Monmouthshire
  • § Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr) - formerly part of Glamorgan
  • § Cardiff (Caerdydd) - formerly part of Glamorgan
  • § Merthyr Tydfil (Merthry Tudful) - formerly part of Glamorgan
  • § Neath Port Talbot (Castell-nedd Port Talbot) - formerly part of Glamorgan
  • § Rhondda Cynon Taf - formerly part of Glamorgan
  • § Swansea '\'(Abertawe) - formerly part of Glamorgan
  • § Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg) - formerly part of Glamorgan

4 Principal areas of Wales


  1. Merthyr Tydfil/Merthyr Tudful
  2. Caerphilly/Caerffili
  3. Blaenau Gwent
  4. Torfaen/Tor-faen
  5. Monmouthshire/Sir Fynwy
  6. Newport/Casnewydd
  7. Cardiff/Caerdydd
  8. Vale of Glamorgan/Bro Morgannwg
  9. Bridgend/Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr
  10. Rhondda Cynon Taff/Rhondda Cynon Tâf
  11. Neath Port Talbot/Castell-nedd Port Talbot
  12. Swansea/Abertawe
  13. Carmarthenshire/Sir Gaerfyrddin
  14. Ceredigion
  15. Powys
  16. Wrexham/Wrecsam
  17. Flintshire/Sir y Fflint
  18. Denbighshire/Sir Ddinbych
  19. Conwy
  20. Gwynedd
  21. Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Môn
  22. Pembrokeshire/Sir Benfro