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
Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, London to the south-west; the county town is the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region. Essex occupies the eastern part of the ancient Kingdom of Essex, which united with the other Anglian and Saxon kingdoms to make England a single nation state; as well as rural areas, the county includes London Stansted Airport, the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, Lakeside Shopping Centre, the port of Tilbury and the borough of Southend-on-Sea. The name Essex originates in the Anglo-Saxon period of the Early Middle Ages and has its root in the Anglo-Saxon name Ēastseaxe, the eastern kingdom of the Saxons who had come from the continent and settled in Britain during the Heptarchy. Recorded in AD 527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what became Middlesex and most of what became Hertfordshire.
Its territory was restricted to lands east of the River Lea. Colchester in the north-east of the county is Britain's oldest recorded town, dating from before the Roman conquest, when it was known as Camulodunum and was sufficiently well-developed to have its own mint. In AD 824, following the Battle of Ellandun, the kingdoms of the East Saxons, the South Saxons and the Jutes of Kent were absorbed into the kingdom of the West Saxons, uniting Saxland under King Alfred's grandfather Ecgberht. Before the Norman conquest the East Saxons were subsumed into the Kingdom of England. After the Norman conquest, Essex became a county. During the medieval period, much of the area was designated a Royal forest, including the entire county in a period to 1204, when the area "north of the Stanestreet" was disafforested; the areas subject to forest law diminished, but at various times they included the forests of Becontree, Epping, Hatfield and Waltham. Essex County Council was formed in 1889. However, County Boroughs of West Ham, Southend-on-Sea and East Ham formed part of the county but were unitary authorities.
12 boroughs and districts provide more localised services such as rubbish and recycling collections and planning, as shown in the map on the right. A few Essex parishes have been transferred to other counties. Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford and Sawbridgeworth. At the time of the main changes around 1900, parts of Helions Bumpstead, Sturmer and Ballingdon-with-Brundon were transferred to Suffolk. Part of Hadstock, part of Ashton and part of Chrishall were transferred to Cambridgeshire and part of Great Horkesley went to Suffolk; the boundary with Greater London was established in 1965, when East Ham and West Ham county boroughs and the Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, Romford and Wanstead and Woodford districts were transferred to form the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Waltham Forest. Essex became part of the East of England Government Office Region in 1994 and was statistically counted as part of that region from 1999, having been part of the South East England region.
In 1998, the boroughs of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock were granted autonomy from the administrative county of Essex after successful requests to become unitary authorities. Essex Police covers the two unitary authorities; the county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford. Before 1938, the council met in London near Moorgate, which with significant parts of the county close to that point and the dominance of railway travel had been more convenient than any place in the county, it has 75 elected councillors. Before 1965, the number of councillors reached over 100; the County Hall, made a listed building in 2007, dates from the mid-1930s and is decorated with fine artworks of that period the gift of the family who owned the textile firm Courtaulds. The highest point of the county of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, which reaches 482 feet; the ceremonial county of Essex is bounded to the south by its estuary.
The pattern of settlement in the county is diverse. The Metropolitan Green Belt has prevented the further sprawl of London into the county, although it contains the new towns of Basildon and Harlow developed to resettle Londoners after the destruction of London housing in the Second World War, since which they have been developed and expanded. Epping Forest prevents the further spread of the Greater London Urban Area; as it is not far from London with its economic magnetism, many of Essex's settlements those near or within short driving distance of railway stations, function as dormitory towns or villages where London workers raise their families. Part of the s
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
North Ockendon is the easternmost and most outlying settlement of Greater London and part of the London Borough of Havering. It is located 18.4 miles east northeast of Charing Cross and consists of a dispersed settlement within the Metropolitan Green Belt. It was an ancient parish in the county of Essex, abolished for civil purposes in 1936. North Ockendon is the only area in London located outside of the M25 London Orbital Motorway. North Ockendon is located on the border with Essex; the area to the south is South Ockendon. North Ockendon parish had an ancient shape, elongated east-west, thus contrasting with a series of perpendicular parishes to its north and west. With the adjoining parishes this formed a large estate, at least middle-Saxon or even Roman or Bronze age. From 1894 until it was abolished in 1936, North Ockendon formed a parish in the Orsett Rural District of Essex; the majority of its former area was used to enlarge the Cranham parish of Hornchurch Urban District and the remainder of the former parish, around 383 acres, was used to form part of Thurrock Urban District in 1936.
In 1965 Hornchurch Urban District was abolished and its former area, including North Ockendon, was transferred to Greater London and used to form the present-day London Borough of Havering. North Ockendon and Great Warley were to the east of the M25 motorway. In 1992 it was proposed that the part of Greater London to the east of the M25 should be transferred to Essex, with the Great Warley section north of the railway transferred to Brentwood and the North Ockendon section to the south transferred to Thurrock; the transfer of North Ockendon from London to Essex was opposed, with Nicholas Bonsor MP stating that his constituents agreed it had "more affinity with Havering than with Thurrock". Following the review the Great Warley section was transferred to Essex, but the North Ockendon part was not, leaving it the only part of Greater London to be outside the M25 motorway. North Ockendon is the location of Stubbers, a former stately home, demolished in 1955 and the grounds of, now used as an activity centre.
Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of the U. S. congressman and presidential candidate, was born in North Ockendon in 1977. North Ockendon lies within the Upminster ward; the 2011 census showed. Indian and Black African were 1% each. To the east is a small area of fenland, which extends into Bulphan and the rest is clays and Thames alluvials; the land is low lying. The field boundaries are wholly rectilinear. To the far north, beyond the London and Southend Railway, it borders the villages of Great Warley, Little Warley and Childerditch in the borough of Brentwood, the settlements of West Horndon and Bulphan to the east and South Ockendon to the south, in the borough and unitary authority of Thurrock, it is the only significant settlement in Greater London. The parish church of St Mary Magdelene has a re-used Norman nave door on the south side of the nave, its tower was used in the first accurate measurement of the speed of sound, by the Reverend William Derham, Rector of Upminster. Gunshots were fired from the tower and the flash thereof was observed by telescope from the tower of the church of St Laurence, Upminster.
The nearest railway stations are at Upminster. London bus routes 347 and 370 directly link the area with Upminster and Romford, as well as Lakeside Shopping Centre, Essex routes 269 and X81 link the area with Brentwood as well as Grays and Lakeside Shopping Centre. Hidden London: North Ockendon
East of England
The East of England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It was created in 1994 and was adopted for statistics from 1999, it includes the ceremonial counties of Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. Essex has the highest population in the region, its population at the 2011 census was 5,847,000. Bedford, Basildon, Southend-on-Sea, Ipswich, Colchester and Cambridge are the region's most populous towns; the southern part of the region lies in the London commuter belt. The region has the lowest elevation range in the UK. North Cambridgeshire and the Essex Coast have most of the around 5% of the region, below 10 metres above sea level; the Fens are in North Cambridgeshire, notable for the lowest point in the country in the land of the village of Holme 2.75 metres below mean sea level, once Whittlesey Mere. The highest point is at Clipper Down at 817 ft, in the far south-western corner of the region in the Ivinghoe Hills. Basildon and Harlow, with Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead, were main New Towns in the 1950s and 1960s, with much industry located there.
In the late 1960s, the Roskill Commission considered Thurleigh in Bedfordshire, Nuthampstead in Hertfordshire and Foulness in Essex as a possible third airport for London. The East of England succeeded the standard statistical region East Anglia; the East of England civil defence region was identical to today's region. England between the Wash and just south of the town of Colchester has since post-Roman times been and continues to be known as East Anglia, including the county traversing the west of this line, Cambridgeshire; the inclusion of Essex as part of East Anglia is open to debate, notably because it was a Saxon kingdom, separate from the kingdom of the East Angles. Essex, despite meaning East-Saxons formed part of the South East England, as did Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, a mixture of definite and debatable Home Counties; the earliest use of the term is from 1695. Charles Davenant, in An essay upon ways and means of supplying the war, wrote, "The Eleven Home Counties, which are thought in Land Taxes to pay more than their proportion..." cited a list including these four.
The term does not appear to have been used in taxation since the 18th century. East Anglia is one of the driest parts of the United Kingdom with average rainfall ranging from 450 mm to 750 mm; this is because low pressure systems and weather fronts from the Atlantic have lost a lot of their moisture over land by the time they reach Eastern England. However the Fens in Cambridgeshire are prone to flooding. Winter is cool but non-prevailing cold easterly winds can affect the area from the continent, these can bring heavy snowfall if the winds interact with a low pressure system over the Atlantic or France. Northerly winds can be cold but are not as cold as easterly winds. Westerly winds bring milder and wetter weather. Southerly winds bring mild air but chill if coming from further east than Spain. Spring is a transitional season that can be chilly to start with but is warm by late-April/May; the weather at this time is changeable and showery. Summer is warm and continental air from mainland Europe or the Azores High leads to at least a few weeks of hot, balmy weather with prolonged warm to hot weather.
The number of summer storms from the Atlantic, such as the remnants of a tropical storm coincides with the location of the jet stream. The East tends to receive much less of their rain than the other regions. Autumn is mild with some days being unsettled and rainy and others warm. At least part of September and early October in the East have warm and settled weather but only in rare years is there an Indian summer where fine weather marks the entire traditional harvest season; the most deprived districts, according to the Indices of deprivation 2007 in the region are, in descending order, Great Yarmouth, Luton and Ipswich. At county level, after Luton and Peterborough, which have a similar level of deprivation, in descending order there is Southend-on-Sea Thurrock; the least deprived districts, in descending order, are South Cambridgeshire, Mid Bedfordshire, East Hertfordshire, St Albans, Rochford, Huntingdonshire, Mid Suffolk, North Hertfordshire, Three Rivers, South Norfolk, East Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Coastal.
At county level, the least deprived areas in the region, in descending order, are Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, with all three having a similar level of deprivation Essex. The region has the lowest proportion of jobless households in the UK – 0.5%. In March 2011 the region's unemployment claimant count was 3.0%. Inside the region, the highest rate is Great Yarmouth with 6.2%, followed by Peterborough and Southend-on-Sea on 4.7%. In the 2015 general election, there was an overall swing of 0.25% from the Conservatives to Labour, the Liberal Democrats lost 16% of its vote. All of Hertfordshire and Suffolk is now Conservative; the region's electorate voted 49% Conservative, 22% Labour, 16% UKIP, 8% Liberal Democrat and 4% Green. Like other regions, the division of seats favours th
The A127 known as the Southend Arterial Road, is a major road in Essex, England. It was constructed as a new arterial road project in the 1920s, linking Romford with Southend-on-Sea, replacing the older A13. Classified as a trunk road, it was "de-trunked" in 1997, it is known as the Southend Arterial Road except for part of its length in Southend-on-Sea. It is streetlit for its whole length despite its majority coverage through rural land; the A127 starts as a turning off the A12 at Gallows Corner in the London Borough of Havering. Traffic heading towards London goes over a flyover and joins the A12 traffic which merges onto the slip-road from the roundabout below, where the A127 ends. Traffic heading towards Southend uses the flyover as well as slip roads, its first significant junction is a crossroads after 1⁄2 mile with Squirrels Heath Road and Ardleigh Green Road. There are traffic lights here, but after that, there are no traffic lights or roundabouts until it enters Southend-on-Sea, though there are a few side turnings.
Major junctions follow the layout similar to motorways, being served by high-level or low-level roundabouts accessed via slip roads, except for the straight flyover at the junction with Hall Lane, Upminster at about 3.5 km east of Gallows Corner. 4 miles after Gallows Corner the A127 crosses the M25 motorway at M25 Junction 29 - the start of slip-roads on the A127, immediately crosses into Brentwood. After a couple of minor side road exits, the next major junction is with the A128 Brentwood exit at the Halfway House near West Horndon, 3 miles east of the M25, it continues into the Basildon district. The next junction is 2 miles east of the Halfway House, for the Laindon exit. 1 mile further on there is a junction called the Fortune of War. This site was a roundabout with two exits for local routes around Laindon, with a Happy Eater restaurant and the Fortune of War public house adjacent to the roundabout; some years ago, Essex County Council tried to improve safety on the route by filling in the middle of the road so the junction is no longer a roundabout, but the road layout still resembles one by not being straight.
After the Fortune of War, the first of the Basildon exits appears for the A176 to Basildon town centre and hospital, Billericay. After a couple of exits to Crays Hill, the next junction is over 2 miles on for the A132 Basildon and Wickford exit. London bound there is an exit for the Mayflower Retail Park just past the A132, so traffic Southend bound needs to use the roundabout to head the other way to the Mayflower exit. 2 miles on Southend bound is the junction with new A130 Chelmsford/Canvey Island exit. Indeed, the new A130 bridge over the A127 just before this exit is one of only two non-junction bridges on the entire stretch of road. 2 miles further on is the A129 exit to Rayleigh and Hadleigh, the start of congestion in the evenings into Southend. After this, the road soon enters into Southend-on-Sea. In Southend, at the Kent Elms junction with the A1015 Rayleigh Road, there are traffic lights; the A127 changes its name to Prince Avenue. There is a turn-off for a shopping centre; the next roundabout is Cuckoo Corner.
The exits to the north and east are both the A1159, to London Southend Airport and Thorpe Bay respectively. However, the A127 becomes Victoria Avenue; the A127 terminates in the centre of Southend-on-Sea at a junction with the A13 next to Southend Victoria Station. Junctions Gallows Corner C. London, Ilford A12 Romford A118 Squirrels Heath Lane? Hornchurch Hall Lane? Upminster, Cranham Cranham|M25 Junction 29 Stansted, Dartford Crossing M25 Great Warley? Great Warley, Ockendon B186 Halfway House Brentwood A128 Dunton Laindon B148 Fortune of War Noak Bridge/Laindon Noak Bridge Basildon, Billericay A176 Nevendon Basildon, Wickford A132 Fairglen Chelmsford, Canvey Island A1245 Rayleigh Weir Rayleigh, Hadleigh A129 Strawberry Tree Rochford B1013, Superstore Cuckoo Corner Rochford, Southend Airport A1159 (A13 Southend Victoria Shoeburyness, Central Southend A13 The A127 was designed as the eastern part of a major new road for vehicular traffic between Wanstead and Southend, the other section being the Eastern Avenue.
It opened in stages between June and September 1924. Due to initial problems with newly constructed embankments along the line of the road, there were problems with surfacing which subsequently led Clement Attlee to complain that it was "one of the worst pieces of main road in West Essex." The road was not dual carriageway, with places being dualled during the 1920s and 1930s. Following concerns about safety, the remainder was dualled in the late 1930s. During WW2 the A127 was used to store army vehicles and equipment prior to the D-Day offence on 6th June 1944; the Gallows Corner Flyover, providing a free-flow link between Eastern Avenue and Southend Arterial Road, opened as a temporary link in 1969. The eventual assumption was that the flyover would be replaced by the M12 motorway, never constructed. In 2000 plans were announced to dual an 800 m stretch of the A1159 comprising Priory Crescent and upgrade the Cuckoo Corner junction connecting it to the A127; the road scheme has faced controversy due to its location over the Royal Saxon tomb in Prittlewell grave site and environmental loss and has been the site of an anti-road protest camp known as Camp
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