Administrative Divisions, p.xxxii-xxxiii.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

Scotland was anciently divided and subdivided into so many jurisdictions, and underwent such frequent changes in their limits, that any successful attempt to enumerate them would be insufferably irksome, and almost wholly uninstructive. The names of some of the larger jurisdictions continue to be used, and serve aptly to designate sub-divisions of extensive counties; and other ancient names are, in several instances, popularly applied to whole counties in preference to the modern and legal designations. The counties – or, more properly, the sheriffdoms or shires – have, for upwards of half-a-century, been 33 in number. But they are excessively, and even ridiculously, various in extent; and, in many instances, are as grotesquely outlined, and even hewn into detached pieces, as if sheer merry-andrewism had presided over their distribution. An enormous addition, too, is made to the puzzle of their intertracery by quoad civilia parishes – which in all parts of Scotland, except in one shire, constitute the only administrative subdivision – being, in a large number of instances, made to overleap the county boundary-line, and to lie, either compactly or detachedly, in two, or even three shires. Lanarkshire is divided into three wards, – upper, middle, and lower; and Kirkcudbrightshire, while just as legally and practically a shire as any of the other of the 32, is nominally a stewartry, – and wins diminishment or aggrandizement from the name, exactly as one thinks of the feudal stewart of a limited jurisdiction, or the princely, the royal Stewart of broad Scotland. Two of the counties – Bute and Orkney – consist entirely of islands; the former of those in the frith of Clyde, and the latter of the Orkney and the Shetland archipelagoes, Three – Argyle, Inverness, and Ross – consist chiefly of territory on the mainland, and partly of the islands of the Hebrides. Two counties – Clackmannan and Kinross – comprehend each less than 84 square miles; seven – Linlithgow, Bute, Nairn, Renfrew, Dumbarton, Cromarty, and Selkirk, – comprehend less than 266; four – Inverness, Argyle, Perth, and Ross, – comprehend more than 2,590; and four – Aberdeen, Sutherland, Dumfries, and Ayr, – comprehend more than 1,040. The following table gives the names of the shires in the order of their size, beginning with the largest, and states the ancient names, whether of subdivisional or of co-extensive application. 

Shires. Ancient Names. 
Inverness, Lochaber, Badenoch, Moidart, Arisaig, Morer, Knoydart, Glenelg, Strathglass, and parts of Moray, Strathspey, and Ross, besides Skye, and other Hebridean islands. 
Argyle, Cowal, Kintyre, Knapdale, Lorn, including Appin, Kingarloch, Ardnamurchan, Suinart, Lochiel, Glenorchy, Morvern, and Ardgower, besides Mull, Isla, Jura, and other Hebridean islands. 
Perth, Perth, Stormont, Strathearn, Gowrie, Athole, Breadalbane, Monteith, Glenshiel, Rannoch, Balquidder
Ross, East-Ross, Ard-Ross, Kintail, Lochalsh, Kishorn, Toridon, Gairloch, Lochbroom, Strathcarron, and Black Isle, besides Lewis, and other Hebridean islands. 
Aberdeen, Mar, Buchan, Garioch, Formartin, Strathbogie. 
Sutherland, Sutherland, Strathnaver, Assynt, Edderachylis, and Lord Reay’s country. 
Dumfries, Nithsdale, Annandale, Eskdale, and Ewisdale. 
Ayr, Cunningham, Kyle, and Carrick
Forfar, Angus, including Glenisla, Glenesk, and Glenprosen. 
Orkney, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. 
Caithness, Caithness. 
Roxburgh, Teviotdale and Liddesdale. 
BanffStrathdeveron, Boyne, Enzie, Balveny, and Strathaven. 
Stirling, Stirling, and part of Lennox. 
Fife, Fife and Forthryfe. 
Berwick, Merse, Lammermoor, and Lauderdale. 
Elgin, Central part of Moray, and part of Strathspey. 
Wigton, West Galloway. 
Kincardine, Mearns. 
Edinburgh, Mid-Lothian. 
Peebles, Tweeddale. 
Haddington, East-Lothian. 
Selkirk, Ettrick Forest. 
Cromarty, Ross. 
Dumbarton, Lennox. 
Renfrew, Strathgryfe, and part of Lennox. 
Nairn, Moray, &c. 
Bute, Bute, Arran, &c. 
Linlithgow, West-Lothian. 
Kinross, Part of Forthryfe, Fife. 
Clackmannan, Strathdevon, Fife. 

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