Yorkshire (YKS) in the north-east of England is the country’s largest county and is named after the county city of York, this being an abbreviated form of the Viking name Jorvik, which was itself a variation of the Anglo-Saxon name Eoforwic.


The county was historically split into ridings – the name 'riding' is of Viking origin (the Vikings occupied this part of England for many years) and is derived from Threthingr meaning a third part. The three ridings in Yorkshire were the East Riding (ERY), West Riding (WRY) and North Riding (NRY), the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire being separated by the River Derwent and the West and North Ridings being separated by the Ouse and the watershed between the rivers Ure and Nidd. (N.B. There never was a South Riding, although there is a well-known work of fiction with that title by author Winifred Holtby).



In 1974 the three ridings of Yorkshire were abolished and York, which had been a county in its own right, independent of the three ridings, was incorporated into the new county named North Yorkshire. The capital of the old North Riding was Northallerton which became the administrative headquarters for North Yorkshire. 

Another newly created county named Cleveland included Middlesbrough (which once contained 25% of the North Riding population) Guisborough,Hartlepool and Stockton from County Durham, north of the Tees.

At the same time most of East Yorkshire, based around the city of Kingston-upon-Hull was combined with North Lincolnshire to form a County named Humberside.

Cleveland County and Humberside were abolished in 1996 and the old ridings were restored.

Excellent maps showing the parishes within each riding and within the city of York are available from http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Maps/ParishMaps.html

Contiguous counties

Yorkshire is bordered historically by:

On the north


On the north-west

Westmorland (now part of Cumbria),

On the west

Lancashire (and now Greater Manchester),

On the south-west

Cheshire (although this is contracted and does not now border Yorkshire) Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

On the south

Lincolnshire, with the Humber providing an obvious boundary (and via river traffic, a major communications artery) at the eastern end


Additional information