April 1st 1974

On this date I was a young lad who had gone to bed the previous night in the East Riding and woke up in Humberside or so the powers that be like us to believe. The truth is that the River Tees is still the boundary between Yorkshire and County Durham and the River Humber is still the boundary between Yorkshire and Lincolnshire today as it has been for over 1,100.


So why the confusion? Our politicians at the time were as clever as they are today and when the counties of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and County Durham ceased to carry out administrative functions the new areas were called counties. You could not make it up. But perhaps they were not as daft as we think, perhaps they realised our loyalties to our counties and to advance political objectives called the new administration areas counties to achieve their goals.


In 2012 I decided it was time to preserve our cultural heritage and established flags for the three Ridings and also County Durham which up to that point was the only county in the north of England without a flag.

County Durham Flag

When Yorkshire folk arrive back into Yorkshire they are amazed that we are the only county without any boundary signs. Hence I am in the process of the Yorkshire Boundary Society Project to correct this.

Durham County Council Road Sign

To the north of Yorkshire Tykes are further insulted when we are welcomed to the Land of the Prince Bishops south of the River Tees. This insult is shared with County Durham folk from Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool as when they leave their home they are welcomed to the Land of the Prince Bishops yet all of these places are from the Land of the Prince Bishops. This insult is the work of Durham County Council who have no understanding of their cultural heritage.

Yorkshire - County - Boundary Sign

Many are confused as to the different types of counties. The following is a brief explanation:

County (“Historic”or “Ancient” or “Traditional” or “Geographical”)

One of the 92 areas of ancient origin which for centuries formed, and continue to form, a commonly agreed way of referring to the different parts of the United Kingdom for many personal, social and cultural purposes and in spheres like business and trade, tourism and sport and the delivery of mail. In England, Lincolnshire, Somerset and Yorkshire are examples, in Scotland, Fife and Argyllshire, in Wales, Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire.

Ceremonial County

One of the administrative areas defined by the Lieutenancies Act 1997 solely “for the purposes of the lieutenancies”. An area in which Lords Lieutenants exercise their functions. In England and Wales these are labelled by the 1997 Act as “counties”, in Scotland as “areas”. In England, Greater Manchester and West Midlands are examples; in Scotland, Tweeddale and Dundee; in Wales, Clwyd and Mid Glamorgan.

Administrative County

In England and Wales, one of the administrative areas created by the local Government Act 1972 solely “for the administration of local government” and deemed by the Act “to be known as counties”. There have been many changes to the names and areas of these since the 1972 Act. In England, Stockton-on Tees, Blackburn-with-Darwen and Rutland are current examples and in Wales, Swansea and Gwynedd. (In Scotland principal local government areas are not called counties. Example (two) are: “Dumfries and Galloway” and “Stirling and Falkirk”.)

  • There are 92 counties in the UK of which 39 are in England; 6 in Northern Ireland:34 in Scotland and 13 in Wales.
  • Clackmannanshire with only 48 sq miles is the smallest county.
  • Yorkshire is the largest county with 6,066 sq miles.
  • Huntingdonshire at Holme Fen is 3 metres below sea level and is the lowest county
  • Inverness-shire on the summit of Ben Nevis is the highest county at 1,344 metres.
  • Our historic counties have never been affected nor their boundaries changed by the endless shifting of local government boundaries over the past 100 years but have remained constant and are today as they have been for centuries.
  • Cumbria is an administrative county not a county. Cumbria administrative area covers all or parts of the counties of Cumberland, Lancashire, Westmorland and Yorkshire.
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