Sub-Roman Britain refers to the period in Late Antiquity in Great Britain, covering the end of Roman rule in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, its aftermath into the 6th century. The term "sub-Roman" was used to describe archaeological remains such as potsherds found in sites of the 5th and 6th centuries, hinted at the decay of locally-made wares from a previous higher standard that had existed under the Roman Empire, it is now more used to denote this period of history instead. The term Post-Roman Britain is used in non-archaeological contexts. Although the culture of Britain in the period was derived from Roman and Celtic sources, there were Saxons settled as foederati in the area from Saxony in northwestern Germany, although the term "Saxon" was used by the British for all Germanic incomers; the latter assumed more control, creating Anglo-Saxon England in the process. The Picts in northern Scotland were outside the applicable area; the period of sub-Roman Britain traditionally covers the history of the area which subsequently became England from the end of Roman imperial rule, traditionally dated to be in 410, to the arrival of Saint Augustine in 597.
The date taken for the end of this period is arbitrary in that the sub-Roman culture continued in northern England until the merger of Rheged with Northumbria by dynastic marriage in 633, longer in the West of England, Cornwall and Wales especially. This period has attracted a great deal of academic and popular debate, in part because of the scarcity of the written source material; the term "post-Roman Britain" is used for the period in non-archaeological contexts. Britain south of the Forth–Clyde line; the history of the area between Hadrian's Wall and the Forth–Clyde line is similar to that of Wales. North of the line lay a thinly-populated area including the kingdoms of the Maeatae and the kingdom whose kaer near Inverness was visited by Saint Columba; the Romans referred to these peoples collectively as Picti Picts. The term "Late Antiquity", implying wider horizons, is finding more use in the academic community when transformations of classical culture common throughout the post-Roman West are examined.
The period may be considered as part of the early Middle Ages, if continuity with the following periods is stressed. Popular works use a range of more dramatic names for the period: the Dark Ages, the Brythonic Age, the Age of Tyrants, or the Age of Arthur. There is little extant written material available from this period, though there is a considerable amount from periods that may be relevant. A lot of what is available deals with the first few decades of the 5th century only; the sources can usefully be classified into British and continental, into contemporary and non-contemporary. Two primary contemporary British sources exist: the Confessio of Saint Patrick and Gildas' De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. Patrick's Confessio and his Letter to Coroticus reveal aspects of life in Britain, from where he was abducted to Ireland, it is useful in highlighting the state of Christianity at the time. Gildas is the nearest to a source of Sub-Roman history but there are many problems in using it; the document represents British history as he and his audience understood it.
Though a few other documents of the period do exist, such as Gildas' letters on monasticism, they are not directly relevant to British history. Gildas' De Excidio is a jeremiad: it is written as a polemic to warn contemporary rulers against sin, demonstrating through historical and biblical examples that bad rulers are always punished by God – in the case of Britain, through the destructive wrath of the Saxon invaders; the historical section of De Excidio is short, the material in it is selected with Gildas' purpose in mind. There are no absolute dates given, some of the details, such as those regarding the Hadrian's and Antonine Walls are wrong. Gildas does provide us with an insight into some of the kingdoms that existed when he was writing, how an educated monk perceived the situation that had developed between the Anglo-Saxons and the Britons. There are more continental contemporary sources that mention Britain, though these are problematic; the most famous is the so-called Rescript of Honorius, in which the Western Emperor Honorius tells the British civitates to look to their own defence.
The first reference to this rescript is written by the 6th century Byzantine scholar Zosimus and is found in the middle of a discussion of southern Italy. The Gallic Chronicles, Chronica Gallica of 452 and Chronica Gallica of 511, say prematurely that "Britain, abandoned by the Romans, passed into the power of the Saxons" and provide information about St Germanus and his visit to Britain, though again this text has received considerable academic deconstruction; the work of Procopius, another 6th-century Byzantine writer, makes some references to Britain, though the accuracy of these is uncertain. There are numerous written sources that claim to provide accurate accounts of the period; the first to attempt this was the monk Bede. He based his account of the Sub-Roman period in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (w
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain, governed by the Roman Empire, from 43 to 410 AD. It comprised the whole of England and Wales and, for a short period, southern Scotland. Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars. According to Caesar, the Britons had been overrun or culturally assimilated by other Celtic tribes during the British Iron Age and had been aiding Caesar's enemies, he received tribute, installed a friendly king over the Trinovantes, returned to Gaul. Planned invasions under Augustus were called off in 34, 27, 25 BC. In 40 AD, Caligula assembled 200,000 men at the Channel on the continent, only to have them gather seashells according to Suetonius as a symbolic gesture to proclaim Caligula's victory over the sea. Three years Claudius directed four legions to invade Britain and restore an exiled king over the Atrebates; the Romans defeated the Catuvellauni, organized their conquests as the Province of Britain. By the year 47, the Romans held the lands southeast of the Fosse Way.
Control over Wales was delayed by reverses and the effects of Boudica's uprising, but the Romans expanded northward. The conquest of Britain continued under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who expanded the Roman Empire as far as Caledonia. In the summer of 84, Agricola faced the armies of the Caledonians, led by Calgacus, at the Battle of Mons Graupius. Battle casualties were estimated by Tacitus to be around the 10,000's on the Caledonian side and about 360 on the Roman side; the bloodbath at Mons Graupius concluded the forty-year conquest of Britain, a period that saw between 100,000 and 250,000 Britons killed. In the context of pre-industrial warfare and of a total population of Britain of c.2 million, these are high figures. Under the 2nd-century emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, two walls were built to defend the Roman province from the Caledonians, whose realms in the Scottish Highlands were never controlled. Around 197, the Severan Reforms divided Britain into two provinces: Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior.
During the Diocletian Reforms, at the end of the 3rd century, Britannia was divided into four provinces under the direction of a vicarius, who administered the Diocese of the Britains. A fifth province, Valentia, is attested in the 4th century. For much of the period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian invasions and came under the control of imperial usurpers and imperial pretenders; the final Roman withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410. Following the conquest of the Britons, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged as the Romans introduced improved agriculture, urban planning, industrial production, architecture; the Roman goddess Britannia became the female personification of Britain. After the initial invasions, Roman historians only mention Britain in passing. Thus, most present knowledge derives from archaeological investigations and occasional epigraphic evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an emperor. Roman citizens settled in Britain from many parts of the Empire.
Britain was known to the Classical world. The Greeks referred to the Cassiterides, or "tin islands", placed them near the west coast of Europe; the Carthaginian sailor Himilco is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC and the Greek explorer Pytheas in the 4th. It was regarded with some writers refusing to believe it existed at all; the first direct Roman contact was when Julius Caesar undertook two expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, as part of his conquest of Gaul, believing the Britons were helping the Gallic resistance. The first expedition was more a reconnaissance than a full invasion and gained a foothold on the coast of Kent but was unable to advance further because of storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry. Despite the military failure it was a political success, with the Roman Senate declaring a 20-day public holiday in Rome to honour the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent; the second invasion involved a larger force and Caesar coerced or invited many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace.
A friendly local king, was installed, his rival, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether any tribute was paid after Caesar returned to Gaul. Caesar conquered no territory and left no troops behind but he established clients and brought Britain into Rome's sphere of influence. Augustus planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo, writing late in Augustus's reign, claimed that taxes on trade brought in more annual revenue than any conquest could. Archaeology shows. Strabo mentions British kings who sent embassies to Augustus and Augustus's own Res Gestae refers to two British kings he received as refugees; when some of Tiberius's ships were carried to Britain in a storm during his campaigns in Germany in 16 AD, they came back with tales of monsters. Rome appears to have encouraged a balance of power in southern Britain, supporting two powerful kingdoms: the Catuvellauni, ruled by the descendants of Tasciovanus, the Atrebates, ruled by the descendants of Commius.
This policy was followed until 39 or 40
Common Brittonic was an ancient Celtic language spoken in Britain. It is variously known as Old Brittonic and Common or Old Brythonic. By the sixth century AD, this language of the Celtic Britons had split into the various Neo-Brittonic languages: Welsh, Cornish and the Pictish language. Common Brittonic is a form of Insular Celtic, descended from Proto-Celtic, a hypothetical parent language that, by the first half of the first millennium BC, was diverging into separate dialects or languages. There is some evidence that the Pictish language may have had close ties to Common Brittonic, might have been either a sister language or a fifth branch. Evidence from Welsh shows a great influence from Latin on Common Brittonic during the Roman period, so in terms related to the Church and Christianity, which are nearly all Latin derivatives. Common Brittonic was replaced in most of Scotland by Middle Irish and south of the Firth of Forth by Old English. Brittonic was replaced by English throughout England.
O'Rahilly's historical model suggests the possibility that there was a Brittonic language in Ireland before the arrival of Goidelic languages there, but this view has not found wide acceptance. O'Rahilly's model seems to be supported by the presence of Belgic tribes in Ptolemy's maps. No documents written in Common Brittonic have been found, but a few inscriptions have been identified; the Bath curse tablets, found in the Roman reservoir at Bath, contain about 150 names, about half of which are undoubtedly Celtic. There is an inscription on a metal pendant discovered in 1979 in Bath, which seems to contain an ancient Brittonic curse: Adixoui Deuina Deieda Andagin Uindiorix cuamenai or maybe Adixoui Deiana Deieda Andagin Uindiorix cuamiinai The affixed – Deuina, Andagin, Uindiorix – I have bound An alternative translation taking into account case marking is: May I, Windiorix for/at Cuamena defeat the worthless woman, oh divine Deieda. There is a tin/lead sheet with part of 9 lines of text; this seems to contain Brittonic names.
British toponyms are another type of evidence, recorded in Latinised forms by Ptolemy's Geography. The place names of Roman Britain were discussed by Rivet and Smith in their book of that name published in 1979, they show. Some English place names still contain elements derived from Common Brittonic; some Brittonic personal names are recorded. Tacitus' Agricola noted. Comparison with what is known of the Gaulish language suggests a close relationship with Brittonic. Pritenic is a modern term, coined to label the language of the inhabitants of prehistoric Scotland during Roman rule in southern Great Britain. Within the disputed P-Celtic vs. Q-Celtic division of the Celtic languages, "Pritenic" would thus be either a sister or daughter language of Common Brittonic, both deriving from a common P-Celtic language spoken around the 1st century BC; the evidence for the language consists of place-names, tribal names and personal names recorded by Greek and Latin writers in accounts of northern Britain.
These names have been discussed by Kenneth H. Jackson, in The Problem of the Picts, who considered some of them to be Pritenic but had reservations about most of them. Katherine Forsyth reviewed these names and considers more of them to be Celtic, still recognizing that some names of islands and rivers may be pre-Indo-European; the rarity of survival of Pritenic names is due to Dál Riatan and Norse settlement in the area. The dialect position of Pritenic has been discussed by Koch, their conclusions are that Common Brittonic had split by the 1st century. The Roman frontier between Britannia and Pictland is to have increased the split. By the 8th century, Bede considered Welsh/British to be separate languages. Common Brittonic was used with Latin following the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD, at least in major settlements. A number of Latin words were borrowed by Brittonic speakers; the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain during the 6th century marked the beginning of a decline in the language, as it was replaced by Old English.
Some Brittonic speakers migrated to Galicia. By 700, Brittonic was restricted to North West England and Southern Scotland, Wales and Devon, Brittany. In these regions, it evolved into Cumbric, Welsh and Breton, respectively; the early Common Brittonic vowel inventory is identical to that of Proto-Celtic. /ɨ/ and /ʉ/ have not developed yet. Notes: The central mid vowels /ə/ and /ɵ̞/ were allophonic developments of /i/ and /u/, respectively. Through comparative linguistics, it is possible to reconstruct the declension paradigms of Common Brittonic: Notes: The dative dual and plural represent the inherited instrumental forms, which replaced the inherited dative dual and plural, from Proto-Celtic *toutābom, *toutābos. Notes: Neuter 2nd declension stems deviate from the paradigm as such:Notes: Dual is same as singular All other declensions same as regular 2nd declension paradigm Common Brittonic survive
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It borders with Cheshire to the northwest and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, Shropshire to the west; the largest city in Staffordshire is Stoke-on-Trent, administered separately from the rest of the county as an independent unitary authority. Lichfield has city status, although this is a smaller cathedral city. Major towns include Stafford, Burton upon Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Tamworth. Smaller towns include Stone, Uttoxeter, Burntwood/Chasetown, Eccleshall and the large villages of Wombourne, Tutbury, Barton-under-Needwood and Abbots Bromley. Cannock Chase AONB is within the county as well as parts of the National Forest and the Peak District national park. Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Smethwick are within the historic county boundaries of Staffordshire, but since 1974 have been part of the West Midlands county. Apart from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire is divided into the districts of Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands, Tamworth.
Staffordshire was divided into five hundreds: Cuttlestone, Pirehill and Totmonslow. The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of West Midlands. An administrative county of Staffordshire was set up in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 covering the county except the county boroughs of Wolverhampton and West Bromwich in the south, Hanley in the north; the Act saw the towns of Tamworth and Burton upon Trent united in Staffordshire. In 1553 Queen Mary made Lichfield a county corporate, meaning it was administered separately from the rest of Staffordshire, it remained so until 1888. Handsworth and Perry Barr became part of the county borough of Birmingham in the early 20th century, thus associated with Warwickshire. Burton, in the east of the county, became a county borough in 1901, was followed by Smethwick, another town in the Black Country in 1907. In 1910 the six towns of the Staffordshire Potteries, including Hanley, became the single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
A significant boundary change occurred in 1926 when the east of Sedgley was transferred to Worcestershire to allow the construction of the new Priory Estate on land purchased by Dudley County Borough council. A major reorganisation in the Black Country in 1966, under the recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England led to the creation of an area of contiguous county boroughs; the County Borough of Warley was formed by the merger of the county borough of Smethwick and municipal borough of Rowley Regis with the Worcestershire borough of Oldbury: the resulting county borough was associated with Worcestershire. Meanwhile, the county borough of Dudley a detached part of Worcestershire and became associated with Staffordshire instead; this reorganisation led to the administrative county of Staffordshire having a thin protrusion passing between the county boroughs and Shropshire, to the west, to form a short border with Worcestershire. Under the Local Government Act 1972, on 1 April 1974 the county boroughs of the Black Country and the Aldridge-Brownhills Urban District of Staffordshire became, along with Birmingham and Coventry and other districts, a new metropolitan county of West Midlands.
County boroughs were abolished, with Stoke becoming a non-metropolitan district in Staffordshire, Burton forming an unparished area in the district of East Staffordshire. On 1 April 1997, under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, Stoke-on-Trent became a unitary authority independent of Staffordshire once more. In July 2009 the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold found in Britain was discovered in a field near Lichfield; the artefacts, known as The Staffordshire Hoard have tentatively been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries, placing the origin of the items in the time of the Kingdom of Mercia. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Staffordshire at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British pounds sterling; some nationally and internationally known companies have their base in Staffordshire. They include the Britannia Building Society, based in Leek. JCB is based in Rocester near Uttoxeter and Bet365, based in Stoke-on-Trent.
The theme park Alton Towers is in the Staffordshire Moorlands and several of the world's largest pottery manufacturers are based in Stoke-on-Trent. Staffordshire has a comprehensive system with eight independent schools. Most secondary schools are from 11–16 or 18, but two in Staffordshire Moorlands and South Staffordshire are from 13–18. Resources are shared. There are two universities in the county, Keele University in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire University, which has campuses in Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Shrewsbury; the modern county of Staffordshire has three professional football clubs – Stoke City and Port Vale, both from Stoke-on-Trent, Burton Albion, who play in Burton upon Trent. Stoke City, one of the oldest professional football clubs in existence, were founded in 1863 and played at the Victoria Ground for 119 years from 1878 until their relocation to the Britannia Stadium in 1997, they were among the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888. By the late 1930s, they were establi
In the Roman Empire, a mansio was an official stopping place on a Roman road, or via, maintained by the central government for the use of officials and those on official business whilst travelling. The roads which traversed the Ancient World were surveyed and maintained by the Romans, featuring purpose-built rest stops at regular intervals, known as castra. Established as simple places of military encampment, in process of time they included barracks and magazines of provisions for the troops. Over time the need arose for a more sophisticated form of shelter for travelling dignitaries and officials; the Latin term mansio is derived from manere, signifying to pass the night at a place while travelling.. These substantial structures in the form of a villa, were dedicated to the travellers' rest and refreshment. Guests were expected to provide a passport to identify themselves. In many cases infrastructure to sustain them sprang up around the mansio, but the villas of provincial officials. Ox-drawn carts could travel about 30 km per day.
At each mansio cisiarii kept gigs for conveying government dispatches. The Itinerarium Burdigalense, a road book drawn up in 333, mentions in order the mansiones from Bordeaux to Jerusalem with the intervening mutationes, other, more considerable places, which are called either civitates, vici, or castella; the number of leagues or of miles between one place and another is set down. The mansio was under the superintendence of an officer called mansionarius; as the bishops assumed control in the Christian West during the fifth and sixth centuries, the office of mansionarius developed new connotations. Mansionarius is inserted as a synonym of prosmonarius/paramonarius in canon 2 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. Alfoldean, Sussex Chelmsford Cunetio, Wiltshire.. Dubris Godmanchester, Roman Mansio in Godmanchester Wall Rutupiae Tripontium Iping Little St Bernard Pass Le Mesnil Storgosia Three Taverns Via Augusta Non-official travellers needed refreshment too, different grades of facilities were available at the same locations as the mansiones.
A private system of cauponae were placed near the mansiones. They performed the same functions but were somewhat disreputable, as they were frequented by thieves and prostitutes. Graffiti decorate the walls of the few. Genteel travellers needed something better than cauponae. In the early days of the viae, when little unofficial travel existed, houses placed near the road were required by law to offer hospitality on demand. Frequented houses no doubt became the first tabernae (Latin word taberna, which were hostels, rather than the "taverns" we know today. A tabernaculum or small taberna was a portable place of worship for the Hebrews, thus producing the word tabernacle; as Rome grew, so did its tabernae, becoming more luxurious and acquiring good or bad reputations as the case may be. One of the best hotels was the Tabernae Caediciae at Sinuessa on the Via Appia, it had a large storage room containing barrels of wine and ham. Many cities of today grew up around a taberna complex, such as Rheinzabern in the Rhineland, Saverne in Alsace.
A third system of way stations serviced animals: the mutationes. In these complexes, the driver could purchase the services of wheelwrights and equarii medici, or veterinarians. Using these stations in chariot relays, the emperor Tiberius hastened 200 miles in 24 hours to join his brother, Drusus Germanicus, dying of gangrene as a result of a fall from a horse. Roman Road System Three Taverns Mansio from A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government, they are a territorial designation, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes which played a role in both civil and ecclesiastical administration; the unit rolled out across England in the 1860s. A civil parish can range in size from a large town with a population of about 75,000 to a single village with fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Eight parishes have city status. A civil parish may be known as and confirmed as a town, neighbourhood or community by resolution of its parish council, a right reserved not conferred on other units of English local government. 35% of the English population live in a civil parish. As of 31 December 2015 there were 10,449 parishes in England; the most populous is Weston super Mare and those with cathedral city status are Chichester, Hereford, Ripon, Salisbury and Wells.
On 1 April 2014, Queen's Park became the first civil parish in Greater London. Before 2008 their creation was not permitted within a London borough. Wales was divided into civil parishes until 1974, when they were replaced by communities, which are similar to English parishes in the way they operate. Civil parishes in Scotland were abolished for local government purposes by the Local Government Act 1929, the Scottish equivalent of English civil parishes are community council areas, which were established by the Local Government Act 1973; the Parish system in Europe was established between the 8th and 12th centuries and in England was old by the time of the Conquest. These areas were based on the territory of one or more manors, areas which in some cases derived their bounds from Roman or Iron Age estates. Parish boundaries were conservative, changing little, after 1180'froze' so that boundaries could no longer be changed at all, despite changes to manorial landholdings - though there were some examples of sub-division.
The consistency of these boundaries, up until the 19th century is useful to historians, is of cultural significance in terms of shaping local identities, a factor reinforced by the adoption of parish boundaries unchanged, by successor local government units. There was huge variation in size between parishes, for instance Writtle in Essex was 13,568 acres while neighbouring Shellow Bowells was just 469 acres, Chignall Smealy 476 acres; until the break with Rome, parishes managed ecclesiastical matters, while the manor was the principal unit of local administration and justice. The church replaced the manor court as the rural administrative centre, levied a local tax on produce known as a tithe. In the medieval period, responsibilities such as relief of the poor passed from the Lord of the Manor to the parish's rector, who in practice would delegate tasks among his vestry or the monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the power to levy a rate to fund relief of the poor was conferred on the parish authorities by the Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601.
Both before and after this optional social change, local charities are well-documented. The parish authorities were consisted of all the ratepayers of the parish; as the number of ratepayers of some parishes grew, it became difficult to convene meetings as an open vestry. In some built up, areas the select vestry took over responsibility from the entire body of ratepayers; this innovation allowed governance by a self-perpetuating elite. The administration of the parish system relied on the monopoly of the established English Church, which for a few years after Henry VIII alternated between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, before settling on the latter on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. By the 18th century, religious membership was becoming more fractured in some places, due for instance to the progress of Methodism; the legitimacy of the parish vestry came into question and the perceived inefficiency and corruption inherent in the system became a source for concern in some places.
For this reason, during the early 19th century the parish progressively lost its powers to ad hoc boards and other organisations, for example the loss of responsibility for poor relief through the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. Sanitary districts covered England in Ireland three years later; the replacement boards were each entitled to levy their own rate in the parish. The church rate ceased to be levied in many parishes and became voluntary from 1868; the ancient parishes diverged into two distinct, nearly overlapping, systems of parishes during the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1866 declared all areas that levied a separate rate: C of E ecclesiastical parishes, extra-parochial areas and their analogue, chapelries, to be "civil parishes". To have collected rates this means these beforehand had their own vestries, boards or equivalent bodies; the Church of England parishes, which cover more than 99% of England, became termed "ecclesiastical parishes" and the boundaries of these soon diverged from those of the Ancient Parishes in order to reflect modern circumstances.
After 1921 each ecclesiastical parish has been the responsibility of the parochial church councils. In the late 19th century, most of the ancient irregularities inheri