See also:Kingdom, the
See also:British dominions beyond the seas, and the United States of
See also:America . The word was first introduced after the Norman
See also:Conquest as the
See also:equivalent of the old
See also:English "
See also:shire," which has survived as its synonym, though occasionally also applied to divisions smaller than counties, e.g . Norhamshire, Hexhamshire and Hallamshire . The word "
See also:county " is also sometimes used, alternatively with " countship," to translate
See also:foreign words, e.g. the French centre and the German Grafschaft, which connote the territorial.jurisdiction of a count (q.v.) . The
See also:present article is confined to a
See also:sketch of the origin and development of Englishcounties, which have served in a greater or less degree as the
See also:model for the county organizations in the various countries of the English-speaking
See also:world which are described under their proper headings . About one-third of the English counties represent
See also:ancient kingdoms, sub-kingdoms or tribal divisions, such as Kent,
See also:Sussex, Norfolk,
See also:Devon; but most of the remaining counties take their names from some important
See also:town within their respective boundaries . The counties to the south of the
See also:Thames (except
See also:Cornwall) already existed in the
See also:time of
See also:Alfred, but those of the midlands seem to have been created during the reign of
See also:Edward the Elder (901–925) and to have been artificially bounded areas lying around some stronghold which became a centre of
See also:civil and military administration . There is reason, however, for thinking that the counties of
See also:Bedford, Cambridge, Huntingdon and Northampton are of Danish origin .
See also:Cumberland and Westmorland were not recognized as English counties until some time after the Norman Conquest, the last two definitely appearing as fiscal areas in 1177 . The origin of
See also:Rutland as a county is obscure, but it had its own
See also:sheriff in 1154 . In the
See also:period preceding the Norman Conquest two
See also:officers appear at the
See also:head of the county organization . These are the ealdorman or
See also:earl, and the scirgerefa or sheriff .
The shires of Wessex appear each to have had an ealdorman, whose duties were to command its military forces, to preside over the county
See also:assembly (scirgemot), to carry out the
See also:laws and to execute
See also:justice . The name ealdorman gave way to that of earl, probably under Danish influence, in the first
See also:half of the 11th century, and it is probable that the
See also:office of sheriff came into existence in the reign of Canute (1017-1035), when the
See also:great earldoms were formed and it was no longer possible for the earl to perform his various administrative duties in
See also:person in a
See also:group of counties . After the Norman Conquest the earl was occasionally appointed sheriff of his county, but in general his only official connexion with it was to receive the third
See also:penny of its pleas, and the earldom ceased to be an office and became merely a title . In the 12th century the office of
See also:coroner was created, two or more of them being chosen in the county
See also:court as vacancies occurred . In the same century vcrderers were first chosen in the same manner for the purpose of holding inquisitions on vert and
See also:venison in those counties which contained royal forests . It was the business of the sheriff (vicecomes) as the
See also:king's representative to serve and return all writs, to
See also:levy distresses on the king's behalf, to execute all royal precepts and to collect the king's revenue . In this
See also:work he was assisted by a large
See also:staff of clerks and bailiffs who were directly responsible to him and not to the king . The sheriff also commanded the armed forces of the
See also:crown within his county, and either in person or by
See also:deputy presided over the county court which was now held monthly in most counties . In 1300 it was enacted that the sheriffs might be chosen by the county, except in
See also:Worcestershire, Cornwall, Rutland, Westmorland and
See also:Lancashire, where there were then sheriffs in
See also:fee, that is, sheriffs who held their offices hereditarily by royal
See also:grant . The elective arrangement was of no long duration, and it was finally decided in 1340 that the sheriffs should be appointed by the chancellor, the treasurer and the chief baron of the
See also:exchequer, but should hold office for one
See also:year only . The county was from an early period regarded as a community, and approached the king as a corporate
See also:body, while in later times petitions were presented through the knights of the shire . It was also an organic whole for the purpose of the conservation of the peace .
See also:taxation by commissioners appointed by the county court
See also:developed in the 13th century into the
See also:representation of the county by two knights of the shire elected by the county court to serve in parliament, and this representation continued unaltered save for a
See also:short period during the
See also:Protectorate, until 1832, when many of the counties received a much larger representation, which was still further increased by later acts . The royal
See also:control over the county was strengthened from the 14th century onward by the
See also:appointment of justices of the peace . This
See also:system was further developed under the Tudors, while in the
See also:middle of the 16th century the military functions of the sheriff were handed over to a new officer, the
See also:lieutenant, who is now more prominently associated with the headship of the county than is the sheriff . The lord-lieutenant now usually holds the older office of custos rotulorum, or keeper of the records of the county . The justices of the peace are appointed upon his nomination, and until lately he appointed the clerk of the peace . The latter appointment is now made by the joint
See also:committee of quarter sessions and county council . The Tudor system of
See also:government received little alteration until the
See also:establishment of county
See also:councils by the Local Government
See also:Act of 1888 handed over to an elected body many of the functions previously exercised by the nominated justices of the peace . For the purposes of this act the
See also:ridings of
See also:Yorkshire, the divisions of
See also:Lincolnshire, east and west Sussex, east and west
See also:Suffolk, the soke of
See also:Peterborough and the Isle of Ely are regarded as counties, so that there are now sixty administrative counties of England and
See also:Wales . Between 1373 and 1692 the crown granted to certain cities and boroughs the
See also:privilege of being counties of themselves . There were in 1835 eighteen of these counties corporate,
See also:Bristol, Chester,
See also:Gloucester, Lincoln, Norwich, Nottingham,
See also:York and
See also:Carmarthen, each of which had two sheriffs, and Canterbury, Exeter,
See also:Lichfield, Newcastle-upon-
See also:Poole, Southampton,
See also:Worcester and
See also:Haverfordwest, each of which had one sheriff . All these boroughs, with the exception of Carmarthen, Lichfield, Poole and Haverfordwest, which remain counties of themselves, and
See also:forty-seven others, were created county boroughs by the Local Government Act 1888, and are entirely dissociated from the control of a county council . The City of
See also:London is also a county of itself, whose two sheriffs are also sheriffs of Middlesex, while for the purposes of the act of 1888 the
See also:district which extends for many
See also:round the City constitutes a county .
The county has always been the unit for the organization of themilitia, and from about 1782 certain regiments of the
See also:regular army were associated with particular counties by territorial titles . The army
See also:scheme of 1907–1908 provided for the formation of county associations under the
See also:presidency of the lords-lieutenant for the organization of the new territorial army . See Statutes of the
See also:Realm; W . Stubbs, Constitutional
See also:History of England (1874–1878); F . W .
See also:Maitland, Domesday
See also:Book and Beyond (1897) ;
See also:Sir F .
See also:Pollock and F . W . Maitland, History of English
See also:Law (1895); H . M .
See also:Chadwick, Studies on Anglo-Saxon Institutions (1905), and The
See also:Victoria History of the Counties of England . (G .
COUNTS OF CLERMONT
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