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Folklore: Do counties matter?

mandoleer 11 Apr 05 - 07:34 PM
Burke 11 Apr 05 - 07:30 PM
Franz S. 11 Apr 05 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,*Laura* 11 Apr 05 - 02:34 PM
Herga Kitty 11 Apr 05 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,DannyC 11 Apr 05 - 02:23 PM
OtherDave 11 Apr 05 - 12:23 PM
Leadfingers 11 Apr 05 - 12:06 PM
Leadfingers 11 Apr 05 - 12:05 PM
Torctgyd 11 Apr 05 - 11:49 AM
PoppaGator 11 Apr 05 - 11:16 AM
Herga Kitty 11 Apr 05 - 10:00 AM
Snuffy 11 Apr 05 - 08:50 AM
jimmyt 10 Apr 05 - 10:02 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 Apr 05 - 07:26 PM
Bill D 10 Apr 05 - 12:58 PM
Joe Offer 10 Apr 05 - 12:34 PM
Dave'sWife 10 Apr 05 - 11:26 AM
Severn 10 Apr 05 - 09:49 AM
OtherDave 10 Apr 05 - 09:21 AM
Charlie Baum 10 Apr 05 - 02:58 AM
Dave'sWife 09 Apr 05 - 11:35 PM
Santa 24 Feb 04 - 06:48 PM
HuwG 24 Feb 04 - 05:43 PM
ard mhacha 24 Feb 04 - 04:55 PM
TheBigPinkLad 24 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM
greg stephens 24 Feb 04 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Dr.Quelch 24 Feb 04 - 02:42 PM
GUEST 24 Feb 04 - 12:35 PM
Santa 24 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Dr. Quelch 24 Feb 04 - 11:54 AM
Santa 24 Feb 04 - 11:48 AM
The O'Meara 24 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM
ard mhacha 24 Feb 04 - 08:59 AM
red max 24 Feb 04 - 08:39 AM
Santa 24 Feb 04 - 05:34 AM
Jim McLean 23 Feb 04 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM
greg stephens 23 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM
Santa 23 Feb 04 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Hugh Jampton 23 Feb 04 - 11:09 AM
greg stephens 23 Feb 04 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Hugh Jampton 23 Feb 04 - 09:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 04 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Hugh Jampton 23 Feb 04 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,CrazyEddie 23 Feb 04 - 08:19 AM
greg stephens 23 Feb 04 - 07:01 AM
ard mhacha 23 Feb 04 - 07:01 AM
Liz the Squeak 23 Feb 04 - 06:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 04 - 02:58 AM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: mandoleer
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:34 PM

Here in the UK we refer to county if needed to establish which town is being referred to, i.e. Newport on the Severn estuary is Newport, Monmouthshire even though it is a unitary authority now (that is, it is a county and town at the same time). Not many places that are duplicated as names are important enough for people to be aware of the others. There are many Prestons, but only one is big enough to be known nationally. The three main Newcastles all have extensions (-upon-Tyne, -under-Lyme, Emlyn) to make it clear which is referered to.
Many people still stick to the 'old' counties. I use Merseyside for my address, but a lot here use Lancashire. The Wirral fought hard to lose the L (Liverpool) post code, and now they have CH (Chester - their old county town when they were in Cheshire).
And apart from Cornwall there are some areas that regard themselves as other. The Forest of Dean doesn't seem to think it is in England or in Wales (a couple of elections ago there were 3 candidates standing for Independence for the Forest). On hearing that my father was born in Longney (on the other bank of the Severn), an old freeminer commented, 'Aye, over in England'. Then he made a remark about 'them in Wales'...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Burke
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:30 PM

A lot of Social Service agencies are organized on a county level as well. For years I worked for Hennepin County, Minnesota Dept. of Financial Assistance. We administered AFDC & General Welfare payments as well as Medicaid enrollment. I'm not sure of the source of the funds, except that refugee aid was all Federal. The Feds handled SSI & Medicare. Hennepin Co. includes Minneapolis & areas north, south & west. St. Paul is in Ramsey County.

I now live in New York. In Oneida County we are now very well aware that lots of Medicaid funds come from county coffers. We just had a big sales tax increase that no one else in the state has. Here we were thinking it was all Federal or State funds.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Franz S.
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 07:04 PM

In the western US counties are most important to real estate agents and lawyers. Real estate tends to be ranked by county (Marin is high status, Kern is low status in California). Lawyers care because each county has a county seat where the courthouse, sheriff, and most other county offices are located. There always seems to be tension between big and little. People from Eastern Washington or Oregon are supposed to dislike and mistrust people from west of the mountains, and within a county the rural areas and urban areas tend to band together against each other.   It is also traditional for country folk to abhor the county seat, especially if it is also the largest town. But counties are administrative entities created by the state goverments, and they don't carry anything remotely like the historical weight that they do in those islands over there (whatever they may be called).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,*Laura*
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:34 PM

I like living in my county - all my friends think that's strange 'cos they'd rather live anywhere but Somerset (aka farmer-land).
I think it must have something to do with coming from a folkie family that I don't mind it. :0)

xLx


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:31 PM

Leadfingers

As someone who's Middlesex born and bred, I'd just like to remind you of the toast:

Here's to the fair sex of Middlesex
And here's to Middlesex the fair
And here's to the middle of the fair sex
And by xxxx I wish I was there.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,DannyC
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 02:23 PM

In Kentucky (USA) (where I live) folk generally state their county of origin very early in the "hello, nice to meet ya" ritual (aka the "howdie").   County is important here...

In Philadelphia, PA (where I am from), my caste of people would want to know what parish you were from - St. Dominic Savio? St. Martin of Tours? St. Stanislaus?   Once you'd get that established, you could start with the "Do you know ... the O'Donnells? ... The Kowalskis? ... The Venutis?" It's probably changed a bunch in Philly.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: OtherDave
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:23 PM

Most languages (well European anyway) generally use the definite artical before the noun

Getting further off-topic, that'd be those languages that use articles (definite or indefinite). It's curious that the Romance languages use them when Latin did not.

Recall when English speakers used to refer to a certain East European location as "the Ukraine." This form was not possible to express in Ukranian, since that language doesn't use articles.

You have to watch what you're saying about language. Geoffrey Pullum, a British linguist, told a lecture group at the U. of London that that many languages have SVO (subject-verb-object) order as their standard mode (e.g., English, "you read a book"), and many VSO ("read you a book"). Others have SOV, and a very few have VOS. "The other two logically possible orders, OSV ['a book you read'] and OVS ['a book read you'] do not occur at all."

Student Des Derbyshire raised his hand and said, "Excuse me, sir, but I speak an object-initial language." (Hixkarynana, a Carib language in northern Brazil.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:06 PM

Oh and by the way --! 100 !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 12:05 PM

I always say I live in West London , 'cos Middlesex only exists as a postal address - Middlesex is now a string of London Boroughs politically and no one outside the immediate area has ANY idea where Hillingdon is !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Torctgyd
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 11:49 AM

Going right back to the first post in this thread the use of the definite artical could be linguistic. Most languages (well European anyway) generally use the definite artical before the noun. For example La France whereas in English we just normally say France. In Greek you wouldn't talk say 'Stavros went to the market' but would say 'the Stavros went to the market'.

T


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 11:16 AM

I think that, in the US, counties and their boundaries are of most interest to those running from the law ~ once you cross the county line, the cops are powerless to continue pursuit (unless they are state or federal authorities, of course).

Well, that's perhaps an exagerration; it really depends upon where you live. I would think that in the more urban areas, you're much more conscious of your city/town/municipality and your state than of your county, but out in more rural areas, where the towns are so much smaller, you're more likely to identify with your county. (Especially in areas where the County Fair is an important annual event.)

I think counties are more important in Ireland because they are the principal politcal/geographical subdivisions of the country, analagous to the states of the US. I suppose someone could argue against this point of view by citing the four provinces, but I don't think that applies in any real-life sense.

I live in Louisiana, where the political units equivalent to counties are called "parishes." Strictly semantics ~ our (non-eccelsiastical) parishes are "counties." I don't believe the story related above, about an uninhabited Louisiana parish whose seat of government is outside its boundaries. However, we do have one very sparely-populated parish down in the swamps which consists of two non-contiguous areas ~ not sure of its name: St. Landy? St. Martin? I have seen it on maps. The parish government there, of course, would be in one of the two separate areas and not the other.

Counties in the US typically encompass multiple municipalities, but most of our larger cities are counties unto themselves: the boundaries of Orleans Parish, for example, are identical to those of the City of New Orleans. Same thing for The City and County of San Francisco.

New York City is unique in that a single city encompasses five counties of the State of New York: Manhatten is called New York County, I believe; Brooklyn is Kings County, Queens is Queens, Staten Island is Richmond County, and The Bronx is Bronx County.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 10:00 AM

There was a wonderful moment at the English National festival yesterday afternoon, when John Cocking (a Yorkshireman) recited "Runcorn Ferry (Tuppence per person per trip)" - one of the Marriot Edgar monologues performed by Stanley Holloway. (Runcorn is in Cheshire but the ferry crossed over to Widnes, in Lancashire.)

"The further they paddled, the deeper it got
But they wouldn't give in once t'begun;
In the spirit that made Lancashire what it is
They'd sooner be drownded than done."

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Snuffy
Date: 11 Apr 05 - 08:50 AM

Excuse me, but as I read it, Dr Quelsch is saying that the Irish are not 'Brits' and neither are the English, Welsh etc. Several nations and two states occupy the British Isles.

Ireland is part of the British Isles (but not part of Britain/UK) in the same way Canada is part of America (but not part of USA).

Geography and politics do not always coincide.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: jimmyt
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 10:02 PM

I feel that the origins of the peoples who occupy any one county in ENgland, ie Norfolk as opposed to Cornwall or Cumbria is quite different and you get a sense that English people are really not nearly as homogenized as the people here in USA or Canada.

This may or may not be entirely the truth but at least in my mind it accounts for the differences in customs and dialect from one area to the other. So, for the most part, yes, I think the county thing has a greater distinction there than it does here. States, however, are an altogether different issue.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 07:26 PM

Dr Quelch,

I would respectfully suggest that you refrain from telling the Irish that they are Brits.

The very word, to many Irishmen, has supplanted f**k, as the ultimate four letter epithet, and I'm sure that you would not wish to be responsible for bringing the current, uneasy peace to a very noisy end.

To make that assertion in any Irish pub would be an effective, but probably messy, way of committing suicide.

DT


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:58 PM

counties can matter a lot in some things...The recently mentioned Montgomery County, Maryland, where Charlie Baum & I live happens to be the ONLY county in the USA which operates it's own liquor authority. As a result, there are no privately owned "liquor" stores there, although there ARE privately owned beer & wine stores.....but you can't buy beer OR wine in grocery stores, whereas in Prince Georges County, (and in most of the Washington DC area, you can......and the whole area is one huge suburban area with few signs to tell you what jurisdiction you are in....you just have to know.

To complicate it more, there are several older *towns* (marked only by a few cute signs on major streets) within the area,(most notably, Garrett Park, Kensington and Tacoma Park) which are incorporated and have rules and controls separate from both the county AND the state! (They have their own traffic laws, refuse collection routines...etc..)

The result is, if I want to buy a bottle of Rum, I need to know not only where it can be sold, but what day of the week it is, and what time of day, as some streets are one-way only in Kensington during certain times on weekdays, to prevent "them" from driving through local streets to commute. (In my neighborhood, one minute North of Kensington, there can be no local traffic controls.)

I'm sure you in the UK can cite even more interesting cases...*grin*


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Subject: Calfornia Counties
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 12:34 PM

I don't think people think much about counties here in California, but there sure is a wide difference in geography and demographics among them - a far wider variety than you'd find anywhere else on earth. We have our dramatics coastline, which comes in rocky and sandy varieties; coastal, granitic sierra, and volcanic mountain ranges, two or three types of deserts, huge inland lakes, salted and unsalted; and the Central Valley. We have the lowest and highest points of the lower 48 states. We have large communities of every ethnic group you can think of, and live in two huge urban areas, and in places where you won't see another human being for miles.

But a lot of Californians hardly know what county they live in.
For years, I had seen all the California counties but one. This last summer, I took my family on vacation to that last one, Inyo County, on the dramatic high desert on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. There we saw the bristlecone pines, the oldest living things on earth.

Although we don't really have strong identification with counties, there sure is a big difference between Northern Californians, Southern Californians, and the people in the Central Valley. We could easily be three to five different states.

-Joe Offer, Placer County, California-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 11:26 AM

Well, maybe New Englander's don't care for Counties, but growing up in New York State and spending lots of time in Jersey (New Jersey) I can assure you, Counties matter. Regionalism is more important in the rural areas of NY and NJ with your primary divisions being the Counties. You must go to the County Seat for Marriage licenses, Passports, etc. In some of the more rural Counties, you must also go to the Country Seat to take your Driver's test. That has been changing in the past 20 years but it's still common.

My father was in Law Enforcement so perhaps that's why I'm so aware of all those jurisdictional implications in songs that refer to crossing 'County Lines' and which discuss Sheriffs and such. Nowadays, various law enforcement agencies regularly cross over into other jurisdictions in hot pursuit but when I was a kid, it wasn't often done. Getting across the County Line was to get away, same with the State Line. Springteen has refered to 'State Lines' in song almost as often as he refers to 'County Lines'.. the song 'Something in The Night' comes to mind with regard to State Lines. He also had a song 'Darlington County' on the BORN IN THE USA album but that was about doing construction work.

Which reminds me: Springsteen often refers to County Road Workers in his songs. There must be a dozen such references in as many songs. For UK Mudcatters, in the US, we have three major types of road systems.. State, County and Federal. County Roads are the most numerous.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Severn
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 09:49 AM

As for Carrol county songs, Porter Waggoner had a sizeable country hit a few years ago w/ "The Carroll County Accident"


But what I really want to know is whatever happened to "The Co-star Of The County Down"? Is she getting any work lately? I haven't seen her in anything.

Severn

ex-of Charlie Baum's Montgomery Co. and now in Prince Georges (by only a mile, thank God) and am now one of those people we smarter, richer folks used to dismiss and lool down as trash. Funny, I don't feel any different, except when I shop on US Rte. 1 and Rte.1 does that to any place it goes through on the east coast.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: OtherDave
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 09:21 AM

Scanning the thread, I didn't notice any reference to Louisiana having no counties but rather parishes, a legacy of its French origins. A technicality, but those are what make the fun.

Nor to the fact that in the U. S., the chief law enforcement officer in a county is the sheriff -- the shire reeve.

For example, the Wayne County, Michigan sheriff's department operates three jails as a "service" for the 43 municipal police departments in the county (most of which is made up of the city of Detroit).

The mention of county lines in songs and stories tends to refer to the jurisdictional limits of a given county's sheriff, and the power the sheriff tends to have within the county.

Across the water and back in time, there's a great scene in the little-known Robin and Marian,, (Sean Connery as an aging Robin Hood, Audrey Hepburn as Marian) -- a self-important English lord wants to lead a punitive expedition into Sherwood forest. Robert Shaw, the sheriff of Nottingham, says, "Not in my county."

Turning to titles, I think the U.K. has earls (jarls) rather than counts, but the female counterpart of an earl is a countess.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 10 Apr 05 - 02:58 AM

The importance of counties in the US does indeed depend upon what part of the US you;re talking about. In most of the states, the county is the primary subdivision of the state. (Louisiana calls them parishes, but they're counties by another name.) In the Northeast US, however, counties are less important, because smaller subdivisions are more important. In New England, towns (equivalent to townships in the MidAtlantic and Rust-Belt states), take over in importance. In Maine, the county has a role in jurisdiction over the minor civil divisions that lack population (many "townships" in Maine have a population of zero), and counties help out by providing some services in Vermont and New Hampshire. In Massachusetts, counties are a fairly weak agglomerations of towns, and in Connecitcut and Rhone Island, the county governments were abolished and there exist only as historical remnants, or as a collection of towns when folks at the federal level want to compare things county by county. That's why there aren't county seats there--there's nothing to be seat of.

Canada had counties only in southern Ontario, Southern Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Ontario merged counties in recent years, probably contributing to their weakening as geographic areas one might be loyal to, and Quebec kept rearranging borders, and i believe has abolished counties.

A good resource on local governments in the United States may be found at http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/cd.phtml

--Charlie Baum, originally from the town of Trumbull in Connecticut, now resident of Montgomery County in Maryland


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 09 Apr 05 - 11:35 PM

I came across this thread whilst looking for info on 'Ode to Billy Joe' a song that used to scare me as a kid. What WERE Billy Joe and the Singer of the song throwing "off the Tallahatchie Bridge" the week before he jumps off himself?? When I was a kid, we assumed she had given birth in the woods to their illegitimate child and that he and her tossed the baby off the Bridge and then unable to live with the guilt, he jumped himself. This is probably because something similar to that happened when we were young and it was the talk of all the teens.

Regarding Counties:

I must have Springtseen on the brain tonite, but some examples from his songbook seem to indicate that County names and the concept of the County istelf as a boundary loom large in his mind. He is always referring to the borders of various Counties in Jersey with lines about people 'driving across the County Line.'

I think I know why. County Lines in rural areas of Jersey and New York are often jurisdictional borders beyond wich certain law enforrcement agencies will not pursue someone. They were, when he was growing up, a lot like State Lines were in the 70's. There were also very strong territorial feelings amongst us kids who lived in one county or another. Just for laughs, I only now hollered to my husband.. "What county are you from" and in an instant he yelled back from the Kitchen "Mercer!" Mercer County is in NJ for those that don't know.

Those of us who were musicians in those States can recall participating in All-County Band and All-County Chorus and then eventually, the next step up - All-State Chorus and All-STate band. As you grow older, if you get involved in loacl politics, it's all happening at the Country Level. All of our prosecutions of criminals usually take place at the County level. The County Seat is where you go to get married civilly, it's where you used to have to register for the Draft until Carter changed that. Now you do it at the Post Office. And then, there is the all-mighty County fair!

Some States are more tied into this than others. I can still recite all the counties in my Home State, NY, as well as those of most of the bordering States. In the Southern US, I think it's even more important than it was to us in the East.

Back to Springsteen: In his song Wreck on The Highway, he refers to a road which is "A deserted stretch of a County 2 lane" as opposed to a Highway. If you are from where he is, you know immediately that this describes a rural, narrow highway which usually winds through and between various towns. They are often quite spooky at night and hazardous in the rain which is why he chose that setting for the song. He refers to Counties by name in other songs. I wish I could think of some other examples, but I wasn't thinking about the subject when i happened upon this thread.

In conclusion - I believe it depends on which part of the US you are from as to whether or not Counties hold any significance to you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 06:48 PM

BigPinkLad. Not sure how you would separate the two geographically, in the sense that there was no moat or diverted river dividing Newcastle from Northumberland. However, if it had its own political rule that owed no allegiance of any kind to Northumberland, then it wasn't part of Northumberland. These names are only human constructs, not written into the physical landscape.

Similarly Dr. Quelch. You might think it somehow "right" that the Irish should be British, and for the time they were ruled from London you would have a point. But they are not now. The term British is politically neutral and does not include the Irish. The majority in Northern Ireland might prefer that it did, but it doesn't. The term Brit carries negative political overtones and definitely does not include the Irish! The language is as independent of external diktats as the sunrise.

I'm not sure how the history of the County Palatinate of Durham, which did not have the same borders as the current county, links with the distinctive use of "County Durham", if the term is not used to clearly distinguish the county from the city.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: HuwG
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 05:43 PM

In 1970, the Heath government (that's in Britain) began reorganising county and other local authority boundaries, and creating the Urban authorities such as Greater London. The official reason was that the growth of some urban centres (London, Birmingham etc) meant that they occupied bits of more than one county, leading to inequalities in administration; and that some of the historical counties were so small as to be inefficient.

As can be imagined, no redistribution can ever please everyone. About this time, the last battle of the Wars of the Roses took place. The people of the small community of Diggle, in the foothills of the Pennines, were told that they had been transferred from the West Riding of Yorkshire, to Greater Manchester. As if local pride had not been insulted enough, they were then informed that as a result of their forcible transhumance, their domestic rates (local tax) had just quadrupled. No true Yorkshireman, with the short arms and long pockets of that breed, could stand such an affront to liberty. Somewhere in the disturbances, a rent collector from the local authority was hit in the back by shotgun pellets.

However, boast as they might, nobody from Yorkshire can match a native Rutlander for insularity, parochialism and xenophobia. No wonder that this postage stamp of a county (much of which is actually a lake) was restored. Who knows what threats were made to Home Office civil servants ?


Incidentally, I live in the extreme north-west of Derbyshire. This is rather a schizophrenic county; the small towns in the west (Buxton, Chapel-en-le-frith, Glossop etc) are isolated by the bleaker bits of the Peak District from the main centres of the county on the eastern side. Logic would suggest that boundaries be shifted to conform to the situation. But, keep Greater Manchester out, at all costs ! Better one tyrant thirty miles away than two million next door !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 04:55 PM

Dr Quelch, you better get in touch with those rugger buggers who insist in naming their side The British and Irish Lions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM

Newcastle-upon-Tyne et al were "County Boroughs" i.e they were responsible for their own affairs politically and fiscally to some extent; geographically they remained part of their respective counties (Northumberland in the case of Newcastle). County Durham was not so-named to avoid confusion with the city. It's history is unique in that it was an autonomous state until 1833(?)-ish and ruled by Prince Bishops as a military buffer zone between Scotland and England. Long time ago. We love them both now.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 03:22 PM

Well, GUEST Dr Quelch, you can tell the Irish that they are British till they are blue(or possibly green) in the face, but I doubt if you'll convince them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Dr.Quelch
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 02:42 PM

Santa,
      The sun rises in the East and there is nothing you can do about it. Neither can you change the fact that you are an inhabitant of the lands that geographically make up THE BRITISH ISLES. Within and upon these islands live various nations, namely the Scottish, Irish, Welsh, English and I have no doubt there are other groups who will identify and earmark themselves. The term "Brits" oft bandied about is altogether inaccurate and misleading if one is trying to identify one particular nation or another.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 12:35 PM

Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connacht, were all kingdoms. There were actually five of them:
Uladh - Ulster
Cruachain - Connaught
Midhe & Breda - Meath
Laigin - Leinster
Mumhan - Munster

Songs about places is not specifically stronger in Ireland than elsewhere. Looking at the link provided as an indication of that, I dare say that you could come up with a similar tourists guide of a song book about anywhere in the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

Ireland (Ivernia) was considered as different to Britain (Pretannia)by the early Romans, which is as far back as we can apply names separately. (OK, I haven't looked in my Pythias recently....) Those were before the days when there were two Britains to consider.

But I live in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Irish, Northern or Southern, are not Brits.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Dr. Quelch
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 11:54 AM

O`Meara,             POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY
       Scottish, Irish, Welsh, English, Manxmen et al. We are all "Brits" since we hale from the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 11:48 AM

For ard mhacha:

Geordies' brains 10 pence per ounce, Scots' brains £1000 per ounce.
After all, how many Scots do you need to get a ounce of brains?

The rest of you can substitute your own racist epithets.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: The O'Meara
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM

Thanks - now, are the four provinces of Ireland called provinces, or counties? "And Ireland long a province be a nation once AGAIN." Was Ireland considered a province by the Brits? Or what?

Just for grins - There's a county in southern Louisiana that has no population so it's county seat is in the next county over.

O'Meara (Of the Tipperary O'Mearas)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 08:59 AM

Santa, I remember the Jocks taunting the Geordies by saying, that the Geordies were Scots with their brains removed, being a neutral in the matter,I thought the Scots were being very selective, as I thought this applied toeverone south of Hadrian`s Wall.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: red max
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 08:39 AM

If you're from North Yorkshire it's important to stress the "North" bit, or people will associate you with nasty places like Leeds :-)

Never mind the old Ridings- I like the borders just the way they are


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 24 Feb 04 - 05:34 AM

Greg: Yes, I am absolutely sure about Newcastle being separate (in the pre-Tyne'n'Wear days) from Northumberland. Given that, I may be wrong about the precise phrase "City Borough" that I used - I recall a sign "The City and County of Newcastle upon Tyne" but this may be no more than a paraphrasing. I believe that City Borough is the right term, but am ready to be corrected.

I think that the county town of Northumberland is Alnwick. Given that Alnwick is the home of the Percys, I would be very surprised to be told otherwise. Where the actual county offices may be, that I can't say, I've been in exile too long.

Jim: I grew up in County Durham, believing that Darlington is "Down South" let alone Manchester! Now living in Preston after time in Bristol, St. Albans, Cranleigh and Kingston, I've no doubts about being "in the North". I'd put the border somewhere around Nottingham, but my Birmingham born and bred wife definitely does not consider herself a Southerner. I suppose that's what the term "Midlands" was invented for.

One New Year's Eve, I was leaving Scotland to the bemused disbelief of some Scots. When told I was going to a party in Newcastle, I was told "That's OK then, Geordies are the next best thing to Scots." I'd have put it the other way around, myself, but a free lift in the snow was not to be emperilled.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 01:02 PM

While visiting Durham City recently, I referred to being 'down South' as we Scots consider England, and was met with a great hostility. 'We are N(n)ortherners!' was the fierce reply. What do outsiders think when they look at a map of the UK and are told that Manchester and Durham are in the north?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

First, the American county that immediately came to my mind was Harlan County in Kentucky, where 'there are no neutrals there'! And 'sweet Betsy' came from Pike -- Pike County, that is, in Ohio. As has been noted, back when many American folk songs originated, a large part of the population lived in areas that were out in the country, and that meant that that they would identify themselves by there county for want of a city, town or even village designation.

Second, there seems to have been a general oversight of the fact that 'county' has two distinct meanings in America and the British Isles, because we in the US have States. Other that the traditional provinces in Ireland, based on the early kingdoms, and some general geographic areas in Scotland (Highlands and Lowlands) and Englnd (the Midlands, the Downs, etc.), counties have the real equvalance to our states. We certainly have the same strong identities and rivalries (especially among sports teams and state universities) as the counties of Ireland and GB.

Third, many of the hierarchies among English counties date from their histotrical antecedents, such as the War of the Roses and the like. Those areas that were royal dukedoms clearly 'lorded' it over those that were baronies or earldoms. The chauvinism now derives from what was real patriotism then.

I'm from Westchester County myself (in NY) and though I live in the City of Yonkers I associate myself largely with the Town of Eastchester and its nearby Village of Tuckahoe, but I get my mail through the Post Office in the Village of Bronxville, which determines my address. In the old days, I'd probably have though of myself as a 'York Stater'. Now when asked, I usually say I'm from NY.

NY does offer its motorists the opportunity to purchase vanity license plates in many categories and designs (anything to catch the pennies) and amazingly to me, many do buy ones that brand them for all to see as coming from Westchester and other counties, but come to think of it, I've never seen one from The Bronx.

Last thought: New York City comprises five (5) counties!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 12:34 PM

Are you sure about Newcastle? I'm sure it was the county town of Northumberland. and the council offices were there as far is i can remember(I'm talking pre-197?, before they invented all those Tyne-and-Wears and Avons and stuff).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Santa
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 11:13 AM

Bristol was not unique: Newcastle upon Tyne was also independent of the two adjacent counties. It was a City Borough, although standing north of the River Tyne and (you'd have thought) part of Northumberland.

I suspect that quite a lot of English cities fell into the same category, having a status and a pride that made them different from the surrounding country and requiring a different governance.

Backing this, "county" types are well-to-do individuals who live in the country. People who live in the cities and towns outside of London are simply provincials.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 11:09 AM

Greg,
      I do not know the song but you can bet it refers to Kent!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 10:46 AM

There was a very relevant musical thread a year or so ago, called "most melodious English county". I can't do blue clickies, I would be most obliged if someone else could supply a connection to this.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 09:56 AM

McGrath,
       What I failed to impart is that in the UK one does not hear the expression "County Sussex" or "Essex County" in general use. The name of the county alone is suffice.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 09:51 AM

And Tolkien took that "thirdings" idea a step further by having "Farthings" in the Shire.

..................

"whereas in the UK the term is not used to define the region."

I don't know where you get that, Hugh - normally when we refer to a county we are meaning the geographical territory. Or do you mean that typically in England the word "county" tends to be left out, except where it coincides with the name of a city (as with Durham)?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,Hugh Jampton
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 09:02 AM

In my experience in the USA, where counties exist in a state, the term "county" is invariably used as a suffix (e.g. Orange County,etc) whereas in the UK the term is not used to define the region.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: GUEST,CrazyEddie
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 08:19 AM

Pedant Alert

I believe "Riding" was originally "Trithing" (a third part or division into three)
Since all points of the compass end in wither "t" or "th"
North Trithing, West Trithing etc soon became North 'riding , West 'riding.

However, I can't explain why Tipp. ended up with only two ridings.

(We Corkonians didn't steal one, whatever they say!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 07:01 AM

There is a hierarchy of counties in England. Some have very powerful identities and and rivalries. Examples would be Lancashire and Youkshire, Devon and Cornwall(which, I appreciate is considered to be a small country by many, rather than a county). Next down the list would be the middle range of counties, eg Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Kent. Modrately strong identity etc.
Then at the bottom are some counties that nobody knows anything about and nobody knows where they are. Herrtfordshire, perhaps, or Northamptonshire. And there is also the unique Rutland, which is difficult to include in this classification. It is very famous, but only for being so small that nobody knows where it is.
   There is an interesting effect, noticable in England and Ireland equally. The countiews round the edge are more famous than the ones in the middle. For example, I think I could correctly recite all the counties of Ireland going round the coast, and likewise England(round the edge, rather than round the coast in that case, Wales and Scotland get in the way). But I would be hard put to put my finger on a map and correctly identify Buckinghamshire or Offaly.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 07:01 AM

McGrath, You are right about Tipperary, it is the only County in Ireland which includes Ridings as means of dividing the County, per North Riding and South Riding.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 06:22 AM

English counties - in the 12th Century, a shire had a shire moot, the others had borough moots. I suspect it was all down to how much money and what sort of industries were going on.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Do counties matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 02:58 AM

Some places they have "Ridings" as the next thing down from a county - Yorkshire (befor they reorganised it anyway), Tipperary, and I believe in Canada and New Zealand. ASnd teh other one is "Hundreds". But I don't think either division generates much in the way of particular loyalty.

I think the crucial thing is being associated with sporting contests.


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