Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers

Dove's Guide Counties in the United Kingdom

Introduction

The concept of County in the context of the United Kingdom is understood in different ways by different people and organisations, not helped by the ambiguous way these definitions have been crafted by legislatures. Our approach for each of the Home Nations is as follows.

England

The counties in England are understood in 3 ways:

  1. Historic counties (39 in number, existing largely unchanged since before 1066)
  2. Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties (82 in number, regularly redefined, most recently in 2019)
  3. Lieutenancy areas (48 in number, sometimes known as ceremonial counties, as defined in the Lieutenancies Act of 1997)

Dove’s Guide currently uses of the lieutenancy areas as the prime indicators, but we intend to also reflect Historic counties in the future.

We use “City of Bristol” as shorthand for the City and County of Bristol Lieutenancy.

Wales

The counties in Wales are understood in 3 ways:

  1. Historic counties (13 in number, established by the Laws in Wales Act 1535, based on earlier existing areas)
  2. Principal areas of Wales (22 in number, established in 1996 for local government purposes)
  3. Preserved counties of Wales (8 in number, created in 1996 for ceremonial purposes and are the equivalent of the Lieutenancy areas of England each with an appointed Lord Lieutenant).

Dove’s Guide currently uses both the 8 preserved counties and the 22 principal areas on which they are based. As with England, we intend to introduce historic counties in parallel in the future.

Scotland

The counties in Scotland are understood in 3 ways:

  1. Historic counties (34 in number, based on ancient shires in place since 1540)
  2. Council areas (32 in number, governed by single-tier authorities since 1996)
  3. Lieutenancy areas of Scotland (35 in number, based on the The Lord-Lieutenants Order 1975)

Dove’s Guide currently uses the 32 council areas, although not all of these contain a ring of bells. As with England, we intend to introduce historic counties in parallel in the future.

Northern Ireland

The division of the province of Northern Ireland in counties has remained largely consistent over the centuries. These 6 counties are used in Dove’s Guide.