|Counties and areas for the|
purposes of the lieutenancies
Not shown: City of London
|Populations||8,000 (City of London)–8,167,000 (Greater London)|
The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to as the lieutenancy areas of Englandand informally known as ceremonial counties, are areas of England 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.
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. 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, which was made both an administrative county and a "county"; it included parts of the historic counties of Middlesex, Kent, and Surrey. 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 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 before the arrangements coming into effect.
The County of Avon that had been formed in 1974 was mostly split between Gloucestershire and Somerset, 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 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.
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).
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 2–5as 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.
These are the 48 counties for the purposes of the lieutenancies in England, as currently defined:
|County for the purposes|
of the lieutenancies
| Population |
Metropolitan and non-metropolitan
counties or unitary authority areas
|No.||Rank||(km2)||(sq mi)||Rank||(/km2)||(/sq mi)||Rank|
|Bedfordshire||669,338||36th||1,235||477||41st||542||1,400||13th||Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton|
|Berkshire||911,403||24th||1,262||487||40th||722||1,870||10th||Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham|
|Buckinghamshire||808,666||30th||1,874||724||32nd||432||1,120||22nd||Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes|
|Cambridgeshire||852,523||28th||3,390||1,310||15th||252||650||34th||Cambridgeshire and Peterborough|
|Cheshire||1,059,271||19th||2,343||905||25th||452||1,170||21st||Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, and Warrington|
|City of London||8,706||48th||2.90||1.12||48th||2,998||7,760||4th||City of London|
|Cornwall||568,210||40th||3,562||1,375||12th||160||410||41st||Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly|
|Derbyshire||1,053,316||21st||2,625||1,014||21st||401||1,040||25th||Derbyshire and Derby|
|Devon||1,194,166||11th||6,707||2,590||4th||178||460||39th||Devon, Plymouth and Torbay|
|Dorset||772,268||31st||2,653||1,024||20th||274||710||32nd||Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole|
|Durham||866,846[ citation needed ]||26th||2,676||1,033||19th||324||840||28th||County Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool and that part of Stockton-on-Tees north of the centre line of the River Tees|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||600,259||37th||2,477||956||23rd||242||630||35th||East Riding of Yorkshire and Kingston-upon-Hull|
|East Sussex||844,985||29th||1,791||692||33rd||472||1,220||20th||East Sussex and Brighton and Hove|
|Essex||1,832,752||7th||3,670||1,420||11th||499||1,290||15th||Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock|
|Gloucestershire||916,202||23rd||3,150||1,220||16th||291||750||30th||Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire|
|Greater London||8,899,375||1st||1,569||606||37th||5,671||14,690||1st||The London boroughs|
|Greater Manchester||2,812,569||3rd||1,276||493||39th||2,204||5,710||5th||Greater Manchester|
|Hampshire||1,844,245||6th||3,769||1,455||9th||489||1,270||17th||Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton|
|Isle of Wight||141,538||46th||380||150||46th||372||960||26th||Isle of Wight|
|Kent||1,846,478||5th||3,738||1,443||10th||494||1,280||16th||Kent and Medway|
|Lancashire||1,498,300||8th||3,075||1,187||17th||487||1,260||19th||Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Lancashire|
|Leicestershire||1,053,486||20th||2,156||832||28th||489||1,270||18th||Leicestershire and Leicester|
|Lincolnshire||1,087,659||18th||6,975||2,693||2nd||156||400||42nd||Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire|
|North Yorkshire||1,158,816[ citation needed ]||14th||8,654||3,341||1st||134||350||44th||Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland, York and part of Stockton-on-Tees south of the centre line of the River Tees|
|Northamptonshire||747,622||33rd||2,364||913||24th||316||820||29th||North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire|
|Nottinghamshire||1,154,195||15th||2,159||834||27th||535||1,390||14th||Nottinghamshire and Nottingham|
|Shropshire||498,073||42nd||3,488||1,347||13th||143||370||43rd||Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin|
|Somerset||965,424||22nd||4,170||1,610||7th||232||600||36th||Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and Somerset|
|South Yorkshire||1,402,918||10th||1,552||599||38th||904||2,340||9th||South Yorkshire|
|Staffordshire||1,131,052||17th||2,714||1,048||18th||417||1,080||24th||Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent|
|Tyne and Wear||1,136,371||16th||540||210||44th||2,105||5,450||7th||Tyne and Wear|
|West Midlands||2,916,458||2nd||902||348||42nd||3,235||8,380||3rd||West Midlands|
|West Sussex||858,852||27th||1,991||769||30th||431||1,120||23rd||West Sussex|
|West Yorkshire||2,320,214||4th||2,029||783||29th||1,143||2,960||8th||West Yorkshire|
|Wiltshire||720,060||34th||3,485||1,346||14th||207||540||37th||Swindon and Wiltshire|
The metropolitan counties are a type of county-level administrative division of England. There are six metropolitan counties, which each cover large urban areas, with populations between 1 and 3 million. They were created in 1974 and are each divided into several metropolitan districts or boroughs.
South Yorkshire is a ceremonial and metropolitan county as well as a mayoralty in England. It had a population of 1.34 million in 2011 and has an area of 1,552 square kilometres (599 sq mi). The county has four metropolitan boroughs; Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
A lord-lieutenant is the British monarch's personal representative in each lieutenancy area of the United Kingdom. Historically, each lieutenant was responsible for organising the county's militia. In 1871, the lieutenant's responsibility over the local militia was removed. However, it was not until 1921 that they formally lost the right to call upon able-bodied men to fight when needed.
The historic counties of England are areas that were established for administration by the Normans, in many cases based on earlier kingdoms and shires created by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Celts and others. They are alternatively known as ancient counties, traditional counties, former counties or simply as counties. In the centuries that followed their establishment, as well as their administrative function, the counties also helped define local culture and identity. This role continued even after the counties ceased to be used for administration after the creation of administrative counties in 1889, which were themselves amended by further local government reforms in the years following.
The subdivisions of England constitute a hierarchy of administrative divisions and non-administrative ceremonial areas.
The North Riding of Yorkshire was a subdivision of Yorkshire, England, alongside York, the East Riding and West Riding. The riding's highest point is at Mickle Fell with 2,585 ft (788 metres).
The counties of England are areas used for different purposes, which include administrative, geographical, cultural and political demarcation. The term 'county' is defined in several ways and can apply to similar or the same areas used by each of these demarcation structures. These different types of county each have a more formal name but are commonly referred to just as 'counties'. The current arrangement is the result of incremental reform.
Lieutenancy areas are the separate areas of the United Kingdom appointed a lord-lieutenant – a representative of the British monarch. In many cases they have similar demarcation and naming to, but are not necessarily conterminate with, the counties of the United Kingdom.
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974. It was one of the most significant Acts of Parliament to be passed by the Heath Government of 1970–74.
A non-metropolitan county, or colloquially, shire county, is a county-level entity in England that is not a metropolitan county. The counties typically have populations of 300,000 to 1.8 million. The term shire county is, however, an unofficial usage. Many of the non-metropolitan counties bear historic names and most, such as Wiltshire and Staffordshire, end in the suffix "-shire". Of the remainder, some counties had the "-shire" ending but have lost it over time, such as Devon and Somerset.
A lord-lieutenant is the British monarch's personal representative in each lieutenancy area of the United Kingdom. Historically, each lieutenant was responsible for organising the county's militia. Lord-lieutenant is now an honorary titular position usually awarded to a retired notable person in the county.
The counties of the United Kingdom are subnational divisions of the United Kingdom, used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. The older term, shire is historically equivalent to county. By the Middle Ages, county had become established as the unit of local government, at least in England. By the early 17th century, all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland had been separated into counties. In Scotland shire was the only term used until after the Act of Union 1707.
Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties are one of the four levels of subdivisions of England used for the purposes of local government outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. As originally constituted, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties each consisted of multiple districts, had a county council and were also the counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies. Later changes in legislation during the 1980s and 1990s have resulted in counties with no county council and 'unitary authority' counties with no districts. Counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies are now defined separately, based on the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.
The Local Government Act 1888 was an Act of Parliament which established county councils and county borough councils in England and Wales. It came into effect on 1 April 1889, except for the County of London, which came into existence on 21 March at the request of the London County Council.
The Lieutenancies Act 1997 is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom that defines areas that lord-lieutenants are appointed to in Great Britain. It came into force on 1 July 1997.
The Local Government Commission for England was established by the Local Government Act 1958 to review the organisation of local government, and make "such proposals as are hereinafter authorised for effecting changes appearing to the Commissions desirable in the interests of effective and convenient local government". Most of the commission's proposals failed to reach consensus and were not implemented, and the body was dissolved in 1967.
The unitary authorities of England are those local authorities which are responsible for the provision of all local government services within a district. They are constituted under the Local Government Act 1992, which amended the Local Government Act 1972 to allow the existence of counties that do not have multiple districts. They typically allow large towns to have separate local authorities from the less urbanised parts of their counties and originally provided a single authority for small counties where division into districts would be impractical. However the government has more recently proposed the formation of much larger unitary authorities, including a single authority for North Yorkshire, the largest non-metropolitan county in England, at present divided into seven districts.
The history of local government in England is one of gradual change and evolution since the Middle Ages. England has never possessed a formal written constitution, with the result that modern administration is based on precedent, and is derived from administrative powers granted to older systems, such as that of the shires.
Administrative counties were subnational divisions of England used for local government from 1889 to 1974. They were created by the Local Government Act 1888, which established an elected county council for each area. Some geographically large historic counties were divided into several administrative counties, each with its own county council. The administrative counties operated until 1974, when they were replaced by a system of metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties under the Local Government Act 1972.