YORKSGEN-L ArchivesArchiver > YORKSGEN > 2005-10 > 1130152412
From: "Roy Stockdill" <>
Subject: Re: Was Yorkshire ever a County?
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 11:13:32 +0000
> From: "Colin Withers" <>
> Which leads into an interesting question: Is a 'Shire' the same as
> a 'County'? Before leaping to any conclusions you should consider
> the status of Richmondshire, Hallamshire and Howdenshire.>
Colin raises a number of interesting questions about the status of
Yorkshire and its various constituent parts. Before commenting,
perhaps I could just mention that the surname HAMPSHIRE, which is
very much a Yorkshire name and does not derive from that southern
county, actually originates from Hallamshire, an area near Sheffield.
This is amply demonstrated by Surname Atlas, the program that draws
instant distribution maps from the 1881 data. There were 1698
Hampshires in 1881, almost half - 832 - in Yorkshire West Riding.
Cricket fans will know Yorkshire CCC had a well-known batsman of the
name called John Hampshire, who played for England and later became a
As to the main question, I am unequivocal - as you would expect - in
saying that Yorkshire was, is and always will be a county !!!
Geographically, its borders pre-date any other in the north of
England. I quote from the Oxford Companion to Local and Family
History under a longish section on counties: "North of the Humber the
only county that existed before the Norman Conquest was Yorkshire,
the area occupied by the Danish army at Jorvik (York). Yorkshire once
stretched from the North Sea right across to the Irish Sea and
actually took in Lancashire, which was not created until the 12th
century. Lancastrians don't like this when I point it out!
Before the Vikings, Yorkshire was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria,
forming the southern half known as Deira (the northern part being
Bernicia). If you look at the Oxford English Reference Dictionary you
will find it describes Yorkshire as "a former county", referring to
the 1974 local government reorganisation - a description which caused
near apoplexy in both Roy Hattersley, the former Sheffield MP, and
myself! Hattersley wrote an outraged piece in the Daily Mail and I
complained to the editors of the book, pointing out that Yorkshire
still very much existed as a geographical county, whatever the
pin-striped fools in Whitehall might say. Their argument went that
Yorkshire was no longer a county because it had been broken up in
1974 into separate areas. The fact that the three Ridings had existed
for centuries as administrative areas seemed totally to have escaped
them. In fact, there never was any such body as a Yorkshire County
Council - the Ridings were always county councils in themselves.
However, administrative authorities are strictly for bureaucrats.
What matters is the GEOGRAPHICAL county, the ancient region of
Yorkshire which has existed for many, many centuries, and whose area
and boundaries we all know instinctively. Moreover, being Yorkshire
is not just having been born within the broad acres - it is a way of
Web page of the Guild of One-Name Studies:- www.one-name.org
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History:- www.genuki.org.uk/gs/Newbie.html
"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about,
and that is not being talked about."
|Re: Was Yorkshire ever a County? by "Roy Stockdill" <>|