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The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of England and informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the Europ ...
to which lords-lieutenant are appointed. Legally, the areas in England, as well as in Wales and Scotland, are defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997 as "counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies in Great Britain", in contrast to the areas used for local government. They are also informally known as "geographic counties", to distinguish them from other types of counties of England.


History

The distinction between a county for purposes of the lieutenancy and a county for administrative purposes is not a new one; in some cases, a county corporate that was part of a county appointed its own lieutenant (although the lieutenant of the containing county would often be appointed to this position, as well), and the three Ridings of Yorkshire had been treated as three counties for lieutenancy purposes since the 17th century. The Local Government Act 1888 established county councils to assume the administrative functions of quarter sessions in the counties. It created new entities called " administrative counties". An administrative county comprised all of the county apart from the county boroughs; also, some traditional subdivisions of counties were constituted administrative counties, for instance the Soke of Peterborough in Northamptonshire and the Isle of Ely in
Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.) is a county in the East of England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire ...
. The act further stipulated that areas that were part of an administrative county would be part of the county for all purposes. The greatest change was the creation of the
County of London The County of London was a county of England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country ...
, which was made both an administrative county and a "county"; it included parts of the historic counties of Middlesex, Kent, and
Surrey Surrey () is a ceremonial county, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county, non-metropolitan counties of England, county in South East England, bordering Greater London to the south west. Surrey has a large rural area, and several significant ur ...
. Other differences were small and resulted from the constraint that urban sanitary districts (and later urban districts and municipal boroughs) were not permitted to straddle county boundaries. Apart from Yorkshire, counties that were subdivided nevertheless continued to exist as ceremonial counties. For example, the administrative counties of East Suffolk and West Suffolk, along with the county borough of Ipswich, were considered to make up a single ceremonial county of Suffolk, and the administrative county of the
Isle of Wight The Isle of Wight ( ) is a Counties of England, county in the English Channel, off the coast of Hampshire, from which it is separated by the Solent. It is the List of islands of England#Largest islands, largest and List of islands of England#Mo ...
was part of the ceremonial county of Hampshire. The term "ceremonial county" is an anachronism; at the time they were shown on Ordnance Survey maps as "counties" or "geographical counties", and were referred to in the Local Government Act 1888 simply as "counties". Apart from minor boundary revisions (for example, Caversham, a town in Oxfordshire, becoming part of Reading county borough and thus of Berkshire, in 1911), these areas changed little until the 1965 creation of Greater London and of Huntingdon and Peterborough, which resulted in the abolition of the offices of Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex, Lord Lieutenant of the County of London, and Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire and the creation of the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London and of the Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdon and Peterborough. In 1974, administrative counties and county boroughs were abolished, and a major reform was instituted. At this time, lieutenancy was redefined to use the new metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties directly. Following a further rearrangement in 1996, Avon, Cleveland, Hereford and Worcester, and Humberside were abolished. This led to a resurrection of a distinction between the local government counties and the ceremonial or geographical counties used for lieutenancy, and also to the adoption of the term "ceremonial counties", which although not used in statute, was used in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliamen ...
before the arrangements coming into effect.House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 29 Feb 1996 (pt 8)
The County of Avon that had been formed in 1974 was mostly split between
Gloucestershire Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn , name_etymology = , image = SevernFro ...
and
Somerset ( en, All The People of Somerset) , locator_map = , coordinates = , region = South West England , established_date = Ancient , established_by = , preceded_by = , origin = , lord_lieutenant_office =Lord Lieutenant of Somerset , lor ...
, but its city of Bristol regained the status of a county in itself, which it had lost upon the formation of Avon. Cleveland was partitioned between North Yorkshire and Durham. Hereford and Worcester was divided into the restored counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Humberside was split between
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs.) is a Counties of England, county in the East Midlands of England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south-east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south-we ...
and a new ceremonial county of East Riding of Yorkshire. Rutland was restored as a ceremonial county. Many county boroughs were re-established as "unitary authorities"; this involved establishing the area as an administrative county, but usually not as a ceremonial county. Most ceremonial counties are, therefore, entities comprising local authority areas, as they were from 1889 to 1974. The Association of British Counties, a traditional counties lobbying organisation, has suggested that ceremonial counties be restored to their ancient boundaries.


Shrieval counties

The shrieval counties are defined by the Sheriffs Act 1887 as amended, in a similar way to the lieutenancies defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997. Each has a high sheriff appointed (except the City of London, which has two sheriffs).


Definition

The Lieutenancies Act 1997 defines counties for the purposes of lieutenancies in terms of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties (created by the Local Government Act 1972, as amended) as well as Greater London and the Isles of Scilly (which lie outside the 1972 Act's new system). Although the term is not used in the act, these counties are sometimes known as "ceremonial counties". The counties are defined in Schedule 1, paragraphs 2–5 as amended (most recently in 2009 and 2019) — these amendments have not altered the actual areas covered by the counties as set out in 1997, only their composition in terms of local government areas, as a result of structural changes in local government.


Lieutenancy areas since 1997

These are the 48 counties for the purposes of the lieutenancies in England, as currently defined:


Lieutenancy areas in 1890

* Bedfordshire * Berkshire *
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county in South East England that borders Greater London to the south-east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north ...
*
Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.) is a county in the East of England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire ...
, including Isle of Ely * Cheshire ** held jointly with Chester * Cornwall * Cumberland *
Derbyshire Derbyshire ( ) is a ceremonial county in the East Midlands, England. It includes much of the Peak District National Park, the southern end of the Pennine range of hills and part of the National Forest. It borders Greater Manchester to the ...
*
Devon Devon ( , historically known as Devonshire , ) is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in South West England. The most populous settlement in Devon is the city of Plymouth, followed by Devon's county town, the city of Exeter. Devo ...
** held jointly with Exeter *
Dorset Dorset ( ; archaically: Dorsetshire , ) is a county in South West England on the English Channel The English Channel, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or ( Jèrriais), ( Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br ...
** held jointly with Poole * Durham * Essex *
Gloucestershire Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn , name_etymology = , image = SevernFro ...
** held jointly with Gloucester and Bristol * Hampshire ** held jointly with
Southampton Southampton () is a port city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire in southern England. It is located approximately south-west of London and west of Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and city in the ceremonial county of Hamp ...
* Herefordshire * Hertfordshire * Huntingdonshire * Kent ** held jointly with Canterbury * Lancashire * Leicestershire *
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire (abbreviated Lincs.) is a Counties of England, county in the East Midlands of England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south-east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south-we ...
** held jointly with Lincoln *
City of London The City of London is a city, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central business district (CBD) of London London is the capital ...
, having commissioners of Lieutenancy *
County of London The County of London was a county of England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country ...
* Middlesex * Norfolk ** held jointly with Norwich * Northamptonshire, including the Soke of Peterborough * Northumberland ** held jointly with Berwick-upon-Tweed and
Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne ( RP: , ), or simply Newcastle, is a city and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear Tyne and Wear () is a metropolitan county in North East England, situated around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear. It wa ...
* Nottinghamshire ** held jointly with
Nottingham Nottingham ( , East Midlands English, locally ) is a city status in the United Kingdom, city and Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England. It is located north-west of London, south-east ...
* Oxfordshire * Rutland * Shropshire *
Somerset ( en, All The People of Somerset) , locator_map = , coordinates = , region = South West England , established_date = Ancient , established_by = , preceded_by = , origin = , lord_lieutenant_office =Lord Lieutenant of Somerset , lor ...
* Staffordshire ** held jointly with Lichfield * Suffolk *
Surrey Surrey () is a ceremonial county, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county, non-metropolitan counties of England, county in South East England, bordering Greater London to the south west. Surrey has a large rural area, and several significant ur ...
*
Sussex Sussex (), from the Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken ...
* Warwickshire * Westmorland * Wiltshire * Worcestershire ** held jointly with Worcester * Yorkshire—had three Lieutenants, one for each of the three ridings ** East Riding, held jointly with Kingston upon Hull ** North Riding ** West Riding, held jointly with York


See also

* Counties of England *
Historic counties of England The historic counties of England are areas that were established for administration by the Normans The Normans ( Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were a population arising in the medieval Duchy of Norman ...
* Counties in England by population * Lieutenancy areas of Scotland * List of local governments in the United Kingdom * Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics * Preserved counties of Wales


Notes


References


External links

* {{Subdivisions of England England-related lists Counties of England