Contents 1 Etymology 2 Origins 3 Shires in the United Kingdom 3.1 Shire names in England 3.2 Shire names in Scotland 3.3 Shire names in Wales 3.4 Non-county "shires" 4 Shires in Australia 5 Shires in the United States of America 6 See also 7 References


Etymology[edit] 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.[1] 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 also remains a common part of many county names. In regions with so-called rhotic pronunciation such as Scotland, the word shire is pronounced /ʃaɪər/. 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 England, 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 England, and especially in Scotland and 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[edit] The system was first used in Wessex from the beginning of Anglo-Saxon settlement, and spread to most of the rest of England in the tenth century, along with West Saxon political control. In Domesday (1086) the city of York was divided into shires.[2] The first shires of 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 areas. In 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[edit] "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, Kent, and Sussex, for example, have never borne a -shire, as each represents a former Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Similarly 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. The historic counties of England — red indicates "-shire" counties, orange indicates where the "-shire" suffix is occasionally used Shire names in England[edit] Counties in England bearing the "-shire" suffix include: Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and 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. Several of these counties no longer exist as administrative units, or have had their administrative boundaries reduced by local government reforms. Several of the successor authorities retain the "-shire" county names, such as West Yorkshire and South Gloucestershire. The county of Devon was historically known as Devonshire, although this is no longer the official name.[3] Similarly, Dorset, Rutland and Somerset were formerly known as Dorsetshire, Rutlandshire and Somersetshire, but these terms are no longer official, and are rarely used outside the local populations. Hexhamshire was a county in the north-east of England from the early 12th century until 1572, when it was incorporated into Northumberland. Shire names in Scotland[edit] In Scotland, barely affected by the Norman conquest of 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 include Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, Banffshire, Berwickshire, Clackmannanshire, Cromartyshire, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, Inverness-shire, Kincardineshire, Kinross-shire, Kirkcudbrightshire, Lanarkshire, Morayshire, Nairnshire, Peeblesshire, Perthshire, Renfrewshire, Ross-shire, Roxburghshire, Selkirkshire, Stirlingshire, and Wigtownshire. In 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 are sometimes found. Also, Morayshire was previously called Elginshire. There is currently much debate about whether Argyllshire was ever really used. Shire names in Wales[edit] Shires in Wales bearing the "-shire" suffix include: Brecknockshire (or Breconshire), Caernarfonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire, and Radnorshire. In Wales, the counties of Merioneth and 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"[edit] 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 Durham, which were incorporated into Northumberland or Yorkshire in 1844. The suffix was also used for many hundreds, wapentakes and liberties such as Allertonshire, Blackburnshire, Halfshire, Howdenshire, Leylandshire, Powdershire, Pydarshire, Richmondshire, Riponshire, Salfordshire, Triggshire, Tynemouthshire, West Derbyshire and Wivelshire, counties corporate such as Hullshire, and other districts such as Applebyshire, Bamburghshire, Bunkleshire, Carlisleshire, Coldinghamshire, Coxwoldshire, Cravenshire, Hallamshire, Mashamshire and Yetholmshire. Richmondshire is today the name of a local government district of North Yorkshire. Non-county shires were very common in Scotland. Kinross-shire and Clackmannanshire are arguably survivals from such districts. Non-county "shires" in Scotland include Bunkleshire, Coldinghamshire and Yetholmshire.


Shires in Australia[edit] "Shire" is the most common word in Australia for rural local government areas (LGAs). New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western 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 uses district and region for its rural LGA units, while Tasmania uses municipality. Shires are generally functionally indistinguishable from towns, borough, municipalities, or cities. Three LGAs in outer metropolitan Sydney and four in outer metropolitan 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 (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 Cardinia Shire of Mornington Peninsula (which is locally known as "The Peninsula") Shire of Pakenham


Shires in the United States of America[edit] 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 Shire (since 1637 Charles City County, Virginia) Charles River Shire (now York County, Virginia) Elizabeth City Shire (now consolidated with the City of Hampton, Virginia) Henrico Shire (now Henrico County, Virginia) James City Shire (about 1642-43 James City County, Virginia) Warwick River Shire (now consolidated with the 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 was granted county subdivisions and a greater royal presence in 1683, the early ducal colony consisted of York Shire, as well as Albany and Ulster, after the three titles held by Prince James: Duke of York, 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 and later when William III of England took over through the Glorious Revolution. A few New England states and commonwealths (namely Vermont, 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[edit] Comarcas Comarcas of Spain Comarques of Catalonia Counties of England Counties of Scotland Counties of Wales[disambiguation needed] Counties of the United Kingdom Gau


References[edit] ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, entry "Shire". Retrieved 15 October 2011. ^ Gareth Dean, Medieval 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 Local government area Protected area Special area Statistical area Combined statistical area Metropolitan statistical area Micropolitan statistical area Urban area Canton Half-canton Borough County borough Metropolitan borough Capital Federal capital Imperial capital City City state Autonomous city Charter city Independent city Incorporated city Imperial city Free imperial city Royal free city Community Autonomous community Residential community County Administrative county Autonomous county Consolidated city-county Metropolitan county Non-metropolitan Viscountcy Country Overseas country Department Overseas department District Capital district City district Congressional district Electoral district Federal district Indian government district Land district 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 municipality Norway Nova Scotia Regional county municipality Direct-controlled municipality 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 Overseas region Planning region Special administrative region Statistical region Subregion Reserve Biosphere reserve Ecological reserve Game reserve Indian reserve Nature reserve State Federal state Free state Sovereign state Territory Capital territory Federal capital territory Dependent territory Federal territory Military territory Organized incorporated territory Overseas territory Union territory Unorganized territory Town Census town Market town Township Charter township Civil township Paper 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 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 Administrative Summer Ward Historical Agency Barony Burgh Exarchate Hide Hundred Imperial Circle March Monthon Presidency Residency Roman diocese Seat Tenth Tithing Non-English or loanwords Current Amt Bakhsh Barangay Bezirk Regierungsbezirk Comune Frazione Fu Gemeinde Județ Kunta / kommun Finland Sweden Län Località Megye Muban Oblast Autonomous Okrug Ostān Poblacion Purok Shahrestān Sum Sýsla Tehsil Vingtaine Historical Commote Gau Heerlijkheid Köping Maalaiskunta Nome Egypt Greece Pagus Pargana Plasă Satrapy Socken Subah Syssel Zhou v t e 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 Distrito federal Província Região Distrito Comarca Capitania Local subdivisions Município Concelho Freguesia Comuna Circunscrição Settlements Cidade Vila Aldeia 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 sorok srez starostwo / starostva uyezd volost ziemia župa v t e Spanish terms for country subdivisions National, Federal Comunidad autónoma Departamento Distrito federal Estado Provincia Región Regional, Metropolitan Cantón Comarca Comuna Corregimiento Delegación Distrito Mancomunidad Merindad Municipalidad Municipio Parroquia Ecuador Spain Urban, Rural Aldea Alquería Anteiglesia Asentamiento Asentamiento informal Pueblos jóvenes Barrio Campamento Caserío Ciudad Ciudad autónoma Colonia Lugar Masía Pedanía Población Ranchería Sitio Vereda Villa Village (Pueblito/Pueblo) Historical subdivisions in italics. v t e Turkish terms for country subdivisions Modern il (province) ilçe (district) şehir (city) kasaba (town) belediye (municipality) belde (community) köy (village) mahalle (neighbourhood/quarter) Historical ağalık (feudal district) bucak (subdistrict) beylerbeylik (province) kadılık (subprovince) kaza (sub-province) hidivlik (viceroyalty) mutasarrıflık (subprovince) nahiye (nahiyah) paşalık (province) reya (Romanian principalities) sancak (prefecture) vilayet (province) voyvodalık (Romanian provinces) 1 Used by ten or more countries or having derived terms. Historical derivations in italics. See also: Census division, Electoral district, Political division, and List of administrative divisions by country Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shire&oldid=825637211" Categories: Types of country subdivisionsPlacename element etymologiesHidden categories: Articles needing additional references from March 2015All articles needing additional referencesUse dmy dates from February 2017All articles with links needing disambiguationArticles with links needing disambiguation from December 2016Requests for audio pronunciation (English)


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