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A SHIRE is a traditional term for a division of land, found in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
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
England
in the tenth century. In some rural parts of Australia, a shire is a local government area; however, in Australia
Australia
it is not synonymous with a "county", which is a lands administrative division .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology * 2 Origins

* 3 Shires in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom

* 3.1 Shire
Shire
names in England
England
* 3.2 Shire
Shire
names in Scotland
Scotland
* 3.3 Shire
Shire
names in Wales
Wales
* 3.4 Non-county "shires"

* 4 Shires in Australia
Australia
* 5 Shires in the United States * 6 See also * 7 References

ETYMOLOGY

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
Shire
also remains a common part of many county names.

In regions with so-called rhotic pronunciation such as Scotland
Scotland
, the word shire is pronounced /ˈʃaɪr/ or /ˈʃaɪər/ . 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 the UK, 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 /ˈlɛstəʃə/ or Berkshire /ˈbɑːkʃə/ . Outside the UK, and especially in 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 .

ORIGINS

The system was first used in Wessex from the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement, and spread to most of the rest of England
England
in the tenth century, along with West Saxon political control. In Domesday
Domesday
(1086) the city of York
York
was divided into shires . The first shires of Scotland
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
Unitary authority
areas. In Scotland
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.

SHIRES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

"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
Essex
, Kent
Kent
, and Sussex
Sussex
, for example, have never borne a -shire, as each represents a former Anglo-Saxon kingdom . Similarly Cornwall
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
Northern Ireland
. The historic counties of England
England
— red indicates "-shire" counties, orange indicates where the "-shire" suffix is occasionally used

SHIRE NAMES IN ENGLAND

Shires in England
England
bearing the "-shire" suffix include: Bedfordshire , Berkshire , Buckinghamshire , Cambridgeshire , Cheshire
Cheshire
, Derbyshire , Gloucestershire , Hampshire , Herefordshire , Hertfordshire , Huntingdonshire , Lancashire
Lancashire
, Lincolnshire , Leicestershire , Northamptonshire , Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire
, Oxfordshire , Shropshire , Staffordshire , Warwickshire , Wiltshire
Wiltshire
, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
, and Yorkshire
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.

The areas of South Gloucestershire and North Somerset
North Somerset
are Unitary authorities , and only have '-shire' in their name because these former County
County
of Avon areas existed - in the past - as part of the neighbouring '-shire' County.

Yorkshire
Yorkshire
no longer exists as a unit of local government in England. Some of the successor modern counties formed by its breakup (North Yorkshire
Yorkshire
, South Yorkshire
Yorkshire
and West Yorkshire
Yorkshire
) however retain the old county name as a component. (East Yorkshire
Yorkshire
has a more complicated signification.)

The county of Devon
Devon
is also known as Devonshire, and although this is not currently the official name it was historically the County's name. The counties of Dorset
Dorset
, Rutland
Rutland
and Somerset
Somerset
were likewise formerly Dorsetshire, Rutlandshire and Somersetshire. These terms are now most commonly restricted in use to the local populations, and are not local government / geographic areas.

Hexhamshire was a county in the north-east of England
England
from the early 12th century until 1572, when it was incorporated into Northumberland .

SHIRE NAMES IN SCOTLAND

In Scotland, barely affected by the Norman conquest of England
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
Scotland
include Aberdeenshire , Ayrshire , Banffshire , Berwickshire
Berwickshire
, Clackmannanshire
Clackmannanshire
, Cromartyshire , Dumfriesshire , Dunbartonshire
Dunbartonshire
, Inverness-shire
Inverness-shire
, Kincardineshire
Kincardineshire
, Kinross-shire
Kinross-shire
, Kirkcudbrightshire , Lanarkshire , Morayshire
Morayshire
, Nairnshire , Peeblesshire , Perthshire , Renfrewshire , Ross-shire , Roxburghshire , Selkirkshire , Stirlingshire
Stirlingshire
, and Wigtownshire .

In Scotland
Scotland
four shires have alternative names with the "-shire" suffix: Angus (Forfarshire), East Lothian (Haddingtonshire), Midlothian (Edinburghshire) and West Lothian (Linlithgowshire).

Sutherland is occasionally still referred to as Sutherlandshire. Similarly, Argyllshire , Buteshire , Caithness-shire and Fifeshire
Fifeshire
are sometimes found. Also, Morayshire
Morayshire
was previously called Elginshire. There is currently much debate about whether Argyllshire was ever really used.

SHIRE NAMES IN WALES

Shires in Wales
Wales
bearing the "-shire" suffix include: Brecknockshire (or Breconshire), Caernarfonshire , Cardiganshire , Carmarthenshire , Denbighshire , Flintshire , Monmouthshire , Montgomeryshire
Montgomeryshire
, Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
, and Radnorshire . In Wales, the counties of Merioneth and Glamorgan
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'.

NON-COUNTY "SHIRES"

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
County
Durham, which were incorporated into Northumberland
Northumberland
or Yorkshire
Yorkshire
in 1844. The suffix was also used for many hundreds , wapentakes and liberties such as Allertonshire
Allertonshire
, Blackburnshire , Halfshire
Halfshire
, Howdenshire , Leylandshire , Powdershire , Pydarshire , Richmondshire , Riponshire , Salfordshire , Triggshire , Tynemouthshire
Tynemouthshire
, West Derbyshire and Wivelshire
Wivelshire
, counties corporate such as Hullshire , and other districts such as Applebyshire , Bamburghshire , Bunkleshire , Carlisleshire, Coldinghamshire , Coxwoldshire , Cravenshire
Cravenshire
, Hallamshire
Hallamshire
, Mashamshire and Yetholmshire . Richmondshire is today the name of a local government district of North Yorkshire
Yorkshire
.

Non-county shires were very common in Scotland. Kinross-shire
Kinross-shire
and Clackmannanshire
Clackmannanshire
are arguably survivals from such districts. Non-county "shires" in Scotland
Scotland
include Bunkleshire , Coldinghamshire and Yetholmshire .

SHIRES IN AUSTRALIA

"Shire" is the most common word in Australia
Australia
for rural local government areas (LGAs) . New South Wales
Wales
, Victoria , Queensland
Queensland
, Western Australia
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
Australia
uses district and region for its rural LGA units, while Tasmania
Tasmania
uses municipality . Shires are generally functionally indistinguishable from towns , borough , municipalities , or cities .

Three LGAs in outer metropolitan Sydney
Sydney
and four in outer metropolitan Melbourne
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 "Shire" from their titles. These "city-shires" are:

Sydney:

* Sutherland Shire
Shire
(which is locally referred to as "The Shire") * The Hills Shire ("The Garden Shire", previously "Baulkham Hills Shire") * Hornsby Shire ("The Bushland Shire")

Melbourne:

* Shire of Nillumbik ("The Green Wedge Shire") * Shire of Yarra Ranges
Shire of Yarra Ranges
* Shire of Cardinia * Shire of Mornington Peninsula
Shire of Mornington Peninsula
(which is locally known as "The Peninsula") * Shire of Pakenham
Shire of Pakenham

SHIRES IN THE UNITED STATES

In 1634, eight "shires" were created in the Virginia Colony by order of Charles I , King of England. They were renamed as counties only a few years later. They were:

* Accomac Shire (since 1642 Northampton County, Virginia ) * Charles City
City
Shire
Shire
(since 1637 Charles City
City
County, Virginia ) * Charles River Shire (now York
York
County, Virginia ) * Elizabeth City
City
Shire
Shire
(now consolidated with the City
City
of Hampton, Virginia ) * Henrico Shire
Henrico Shire
(now Henrico County, Virginia
Henrico County, Virginia
) * James City
City
Shire
Shire
(about 1642-43 James City
City
County, Virginia ) * Warwick River Shire (now consolidated with the City
City
of Newport News, Virginia ) * Warrosquyoake Shire (now Isle of Wight County, Virginia )

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
York
was granted county subdivisions and a greater royal presence in 1683, the early ducal colony consisted of York
York
Shire
Shire
, as well as Albany and Ulster , after the three titles held by Prince James : Duke of York
York
, Duke of Albany
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
England
and later when William III of England
England
took over through the Glorious Revolution .

A few New England
England
states and commonwealths (namely Vermont
Vermont
, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
, and Maine ), still use the term shire town for their county seats , although they use the term county, rather than shire.

The word also survives in the name of the state of New Hampshire , whose co-founder, John Mason , named his Province of New Hampshire after the English county .

SEE ALSO

* Comarcas
Comarcas
* Comarcas
Comarcas
of Spain * Comarques of Catalonia
Comarques of Catalonia
* Counties of England
England
* Counties of Scotland
Scotland
* Counties of Wales
Wales
* Counties of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
* Gau

REFERENCES

* ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, entry "Shire". Retrieved 15 October 2011. * ^ Gareth Dean, Medieval York
York
2008:21. * ^ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~genmaps/genfiles/COU_files/ENG/DEV/bill_dev_1626.html

* v * t * e

Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

ENGLISH TERMS

COMMON ENGLISH TERMS1

AREA

* Insular area
Insular area
* Local government area * Protected area * Special area

* Statistical area

* Combined statistical area * Metropolitan statistical area * Micropolitan statistical area

* Urban area

CANTON Half-canton
Half-canton

BOROUGH

* County
County
borough * Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan borough

CAPITAL

* Federal capital * Imperial capital

CITY

* City
City
state * Autonomous city * Charter city * Independent city * Incorporated city
Incorporated city
* Imperial city
Imperial city
* Free imperial city * Royal free city
Royal free city

COMMUNITY

* Autonomous community * Residential community

COUNTY

* Administrative county
Administrative county
* Autonomous county * Consolidated city-county

* Metropolitan county
Metropolitan county

* Non-metropolitan

* Viscountcy

COUNTRY

* Overseas country

DEPARTMENT

* Overseas department

DISTRICT

* Capital district * City
City
district * Congressional district
Congressional district
* Electoral district * Federal district * Indian government district * Land district

* Metropolitan district
Metropolitan district

* Non-metropolitan district
Non-metropolitan district

* Military district * Municipal district * Police district * Regional district * Rural district * Sanitary district * Subdistrict * Urban district * Special district

DIVISION

* Census division * Police division * Subdivision

MUNICIPALITY

* County
County
municipality

* Norway * Nova Scotia * Regional county municipality

* Direct-controlled municipality * District
District
municipality * Mountain resort municipality * Neutral municipality * Regional municipality * Resort municipality * Rural municipality * Specialized municipality

PREFECTURE

* Autonomous prefecture * Subprefecture * Super-prefecture * Praetorian prefecture

PROVINCE

* Autonomous province * Overseas province * Roman province

REGION

* Administrative region * Autonomous region * Capital region * Development region * Economic region * Mesoregion * Microregion
Microregion
* Overseas region * Planning region * Special administrative region
Special administrative region
* Statistical region * Subregion

RESERVE

* Biosphere reserve
Biosphere reserve
* Ecological reserve * Game reserve * Indian reserve * Nature reserve
Nature reserve

STATE

* Federal state * Free state * Sovereign state

TERRITORY

* Capital territory

* Federal capital territory

* Dependent territory * Federal territory
Federal territory
* Military territory * Organized incorporated territory * Overseas territory * Union territory * Unorganized territory
Unorganized territory

TOWN

* Census town * Market town

TOWNSHIP

* Charter township * Civil township * Paper township * Survey township
Survey township
* Urban township

UNIT

* Autonomous territorial unit * Local administrative unit * Municipal unit * Regional unit

ZONE

* Economic zone

* Exclusive economic zone * Free economic zone * Special economic zone
Special economic zone

* Free-trade zone * Neutral zone * Self-administered zone

OTHER ENGLISH TERMS

CURRENT

* Alpine resort * Bailiwick

* Banner

* Autonomous

* Block * Cadastre * Circle * Circuit * Colony * Commune * Condominium * Constituency * Duchy * Eldership * Emirate * Federal dependency * Governorate * Hamlet * Ilkhanate * Indian reservation

* Manor

* Royal

* Muftiate * Neighbourhood * Parish * Periphery * Precinct * Principality * Protectorate * Quarter * Regency * Autonomous republic * Riding

* Sector

* Autonomous

* Shire * Sultanate * Suzerainty * Townland

* Village
Village

* Administrative * Summer

* Ward *

HISTORICAL

* Agency * Barony * Burgh
Burgh
* Exarchate
Exarchate
* Hide * Hundred * Imperial Circle
Imperial Circle
* March * Monthon * Presidency * Residency * Roman diocese
Roman diocese
* Seat * Tenth * Tithing

NON-ENGLISH OR LOANWORDS

CURRENT

* Amt * Bakhsh * Barangay
Barangay
* Bezirk * Regierungsbezirk * Comune
Comune
* Frazione * Fu * Gemeinde * Județ

* Kunta / kommun

* Finland * Sweden

* Län * Località * Megye * Muban

* Oblast
Oblast

* Autonomous

* Okrug * Ostān * Poblacion * Purok * Shahrestān * Sum * Sýsla * Tehsil * Vingtaine

HISTORICAL

* Commote * Gau * Heerlijkheid * Köping * Maalaiskunta

* Nome

* Egypt * Greece

* Pagus
Pagus
* Pargana * Plasă * Satrapy * Socken * Subah * Syssel * Zhou

* v * t * e

Arabic
Arabic
terms for country subdivisions

FIRST-LEVEL

* Muhafazah (محافظة governorate) * Wilayah (ولاية province) * Mintaqah (منطقة region) * Mudiriyah (مديرية directorate) * Imarah (إمارة emirate) * Baladiyah (بلدية municipality) * Shabiyah (شعبية "popularate")

SECOND / THIRD-LEVEL

* Mintaqah (منطقة region) * Qadaa (قضاء district) * Nahiyah (ناحية subdistrict) * Markaz (مركز district) * Mutamadiyah (معتمدية "delegation") * Daerah / Daïra (دائرة circle) * Liwa (لواء banner / sanjak )

CITY / TOWNSHIP-LEVEL

* Amanah (أمانة municipality) * Baladiyah (بلدية municipality) * Ḥai (حي neighborhood / quarter) * Mahallah (محلة) * Qarya (قرية) * Sheyakhah (شياخة "neighborhood subdivision")

English translations given are those most commonly used.

* v * t * e

French terms for country subdivisions

* arrondissement * département * préfecture * subprefectures

* v * t * e

Greek terms for country subdivisions

MODERN

* apokentromenes dioikiseis / geniki dioikisis § / diamerisma § / periphereia * nomos § / periphereiaki enotita * demos / eparchia § / koinotita §

HISTORICAL

* archontia/archontaton * bandon * demos * despotaton * dioikesis * doukaton * droungos * eparchia * exarchaton * katepanikion * kephalatikion * kleisoura * meris * naukrareia * satrapeia * strategis * thema * toparchia * tourma

§ signifies a defunct institution

* v * t * e

Portuguese terms for country subdivisions

REGIONAL SUBDIVISIONS

* Estado
Estado
* Distrito federal * Província * Região * Distrito * Comarca * Capitania

LOCAL SUBDIVISIONS

* Município * Concelho * Freguesia
Freguesia
* Comuna * Circunscrição

SETLEMENTS

* Cidade
Cidade
* Vila * Aldeia * Bairro
Bairro
* Lugar

* Historical subdivisions in italics.

* v * t * e

Slavic terms for country subdivisions

CURRENT

* dzielnica * gmina * krai * kraj * krajina / pokrajina * městys * obec * oblast / oblast\' / oblasti / oblys / obwód / voblast\' * okręg * okres * okrug * opština / općina / občina / obshtina * osiedle * powiat / povit * raion * selsoviet / silrada * sołectwo * voivodeship / vojvodina * županija

HISTORICAL

* darugha * gromada * guberniya / gubernia * jurydyka * khutor * obshchina * okolia * opole * pogost * prowincja *