Historic Counties map shows Scotland's historic counties

13 July 2018
This counties map from The Historic Counties Trust shows the names and areas of the historic Scottish counties - or shire - as well as the counties of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Historic County Borders Project digitised the borders of the historic counties of the UK and has made them freely available for public and commercial use. 

The project is closely based on the Historic Counties Standard, which provides a comprehensive definition of the names, areas and borders of the historic counties of the UK.

A history of counties/shires in Scotland

Historically, Scotland was administered in units of burghs and parishes, however after 1889, counties (also known as shires) were introduced alongside large and small burghs and counties of cities. Between 1975 and 1996, Scotland was divided into regions and districts (with separate island areas).


If you're searching for your Scottish ancestors, you'll find the relevant records much easier to use if you have an understanding of the pre-1890 counties/shires and the changes that took place as a result of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889.

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ScotlandsPeople has a helpful guide to history counties, cities and burghs. 

Scotland is currently divided into 33 registration counties. 

HCS	Historic County      
ABN	Aberdeenshire
AGL	Anglesey	
ANG	Angus
ANM	Antrim
ARG	Argyllshire  
ARH	Armagh
AYS	Ayrshire
BNF	Banffshire
BED	Bedfordshire
BER	Berkshire
BRW	Berwickshire
BRN	Brecknockshire
BUC	Buckinghamshire
BTE	Buteshire
CRN	Caernarfonshire
CTN	Caithness
CMB	Cambridgeshire
CRD	Cardiganshire
CRM	Carmarthenshire
CHE	Cheshire
CLM	Clackmannanshire
CNW	Cornwall
CRT	Cromartyshire
CUM	Cumberland
DBH	Denbighshire
DRB	Derbyshire
DVN	Devon
DRS	Dorset
DWN	Down
DMF	Dumfriesshire
DUN	Dunbartonshire        
HCS	Historic County      
DRH	Durham
ELT	East Lothian
ESE	Essex
FRM	Fermanagh
FFE	Fife
FLT	Flintshire
GLM	Glamorgan
GLC	Gloucestershire
HMP	Hampshire
HRF	Herefordshire
HTF	Hertfordshire
HNT	Huntingdonshire
INS	Inverness-shire
KNT	Kent
KNC	Kincardineshire
KNR	Kinross-shire
KCB	Kirkcudbrightshire
LNK	Lanarkshire
LCS	Lancashire
LCR	Leicestershire
LNC	Lincolnshire
LDR	Londonderry
MRN	Merionethshire
MSX	Middlesex
MLT	Midlothian
MNM	Monmouthshire
MTG	Montgomeryshire
MOY	Morayshire
NRN	Nairnshire
NRF	Norfolk
NHP	Northamptonshire
HCS	Historic County      
NHB	Northumberland
NOT	Nottinghamshire
ORN	Orkney
OXD	Oxfordshire
PBS	Peeblesshire
PMB	Pembrokeshire
PRT	Perthshire
RDN	Radnorshire
RNF	Renfrewshire
RSS	Ross-shire
RXB	Roxburghshire
RTL	Rutland
SKK	Selkirkshire
SHT	Shetland
SHP	Shropshire
SMS	Somerset
STF	Staffordshire
STL	Stirlingshire
SFF	Suffolk
SUR	Surrey
SUS	Sussex
SRL	Sutherland
TYN	Tyrone
WRW	Warwickshire
WLT	West Lothian
WML	Westmorland
WGT	Wigtownshire
WTS	Wiltshire
WRC	Worcestershire
YRK	Yorkshire

What is the Historic Counties Standard?

By providing a definition for the terminology and the names, areas and borders of the historic counties, the Standard will enable a more consistent use of the historic counties to be made in those numerous contexts for which they are the most natural geographical framework, principally in the fields of history, geography, heritage and education. For example:

  • In the organisation, indexing and cataloguing of historical documents and artefacts;
  • In descriptions of the location of historical events;
  • In local history studies (e.g. place name surveys, county histories etc.);
  • In historical geography (e.g. studies of changes in demography, land-use etc.); 
  • In the presentation to the public (e.g. in museums, libraries, record offices etc.) of material relating to history;
  • In family history publications and data sources;
  • In educational maps and publications;
  • In the classification and cataloguing of ancient and historical monuments and buildings, and in publications describing these.

Map and information courtesy of the Historic Country Borders Project.