The county taken in this
table is that existing subsequently to 7 & 8 Vict., chap.
61-1844. By this Act detached parts of counties, which had
already for parliamentary purposes been amalgamated with the
county by which they were surrounded or with which the detached
part had the longest common boundary (2 & 3 Wm. IV, chap.
64—1832), were annexed to the same county for all purposes;
some exceptions were, however, permitted.
By the same Act (7 & 8 Vict., chap. 61) the
detached parts of counties, transferred to other counties, were
also annexed to the hundred, ward, wapentake, &c. by which
they were wholly or mostly surrounded, or to which they next
adjoined, in the counties to. which they were transferred. The
hundreds, &c. in this table are also given as existing
subsequently to this Act.
As is well known, the famous statute of Queen
Elizabeth for the relief of the poor took the then-existing
ecclesiastical parish as the unit for Poor Law relief. This
continued for some centuries with but few modifications; notably
by an Act passed in I13 Charles II which permitted townships and
villages to maintain their own poor. This permission was
necessary owing to the large size of some of the parishes,
especially in the north of England.
In 1801 the parish for rating purposes (now known
as the civil parish; i.e. ‘an area for which a separate poor
rate is or can be made, or for which a separate overseer is or
can be appointed’) was in most cases co-extensive with the
ecclesiastical parish of the same name; but already there were
numerous townships and villages rated separately for the relief
of the poor, and also there were many places scattered up and
down the country, known as extra-parochial places, which paid no
rates at all. Further, many parishes had detached parts entirely
surrounded by another parish or parishes.
Parliament first turned its attention to
extra-parochial places, and by an Act (20 Vict., chap. 19—
1857) it was laid down (a) that all extra-parochial
places entered separately in the 1851 census returns are to be
deemed civil parishes, (b) that in any other place being,
or being reputed to be, extra-parochial overseers of the poor
may be appointed, and (c) that where, however, owners and
occupiers of two-thirds in value of the land of any such place
desire its annexation to an adjoining civil. parish, it may be
so added with the consent of the said parish. This Act was not
found entirely to fulfil its object, so by a further Act (31
& 32 Vict., chap. 122—1868) it was enacted that every such
place remaining on 25 December, 1868, should be added to the
parish with which it had the longest common boundary.
The next thing to be dealt with was the question of
detached parts of civil parishes, which was done by the Divided
Parishes Acts of 1876, 1879, and 1882. The last, which amended
the one of 1876, provides that every detached part of an
entirely extra-metropolitan parish which is entirely surrounded
by another parish becomes transferred to this latter for civil
purposes, or if the population exceeds 300 persons it may be
made a separate parish. These Acts also gave power to add
detached parts surrounded by more than one parish to one or more
of the surrounding parishes, and also to amalgamate entire
parishes with one or more parishes. Under the 1879 Act it was
not necessary for the area dealt with to be entirely detached.
These Acts also declared that every part added to a parish in
another county becomes part of that county.
Then came the Local Government Act, 1888, which
permits the alteration of civil parish boundaries and the
amalgamation of civil parishes by Local Government Board orders.
It also created the administrative counties. The Local
Government Act of 1894 enacts that where a civil parish is
partly in a rural district and partly in an urban district each
part shall become a separate civil parish; and also that where a
civil parish is situated in more than one urban district each
part shall become a separate civil parish, unless the county
council otherwise direct. Meanwhile, the ecclesiastical parishes
had been altered and new ones created under entirely different
Acts, which cannot be entered into here, as the table treats of
the ancient parishes in their civil aspect.
The first census of England was taken in 1801, and was very
little more than a counting of the population in each parish (or
place), excluding all persons; such as soldiers, sailors, &c.,