Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 990 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SHIRE, one of the larger administrative divisions, in Great Britain, now generally synonymous with " county " (q.v.), but the word is still used of smaller districts, such as Richmondshire and Hallamshire in Yorkshire, Norhamshire and Hexhamshire in Northumberland. The Anglo-Saxon shire (O. Eng. stir) was an administrative division next above the hundred and was presided over by the caldorman and the sheriff (the shire-reeve). The word stir, according to Skeat (Etym. Diet., 191o), meant originally office, charge, administration; thus in a vocabulary of the 8th century (Wright-Wiilcker, Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies, 1884, 40-32) is found procuratio, sciir. Skeat compares 0. Eng. scirian, to distribute, appoint, Ger. Schirrmeister, steward. The usual derivation of the word connects it with " shear " and " share," and makes the original meaning to have been a part cut off.
End of Article: SHIRE
SHIRLEY (or SHERLEY), JAMES (1596-1666)

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