Counties of Great Britain are geographical places, most of those of
England pre date the Norman conquest. The 13 Counties of Wales were
fixed by Statute in 1535 and most of those of Scotland are about the
They provide an instant means of
reference to different parts of the country, showing a set of cities
and towns. They show distinctive scenery and architecture, can be
referenced for information on a particular industry.
Counties give their names to clubs,
football and rugby teams, but mostly they are places were we live
and work from, a place we call home. There are 86 Counties in Great Britain,
these pages will tell you a little about the county and the cities
within its boundary.
In Great Britain today, the term county
is synonymous with shire. Historically, however, the two words have
different origins. In medieval times, a county was the
realm of a lord (or, in many other countries, a count). A county
palatine was a county in which the lord held particular rights in
lieu of the monarch, for example the right to pardon those guilty of
treason or murder.
Shires were formed in Anglo-Saxon times for the purpose of raising
taxes. These had fortified strongholds at their centres which became
the shire or county towns of today. Today's counties are a
combination of historic shires and counties and have been subject to
many boundary changes over the course of history.