The maps below show the borders and counties* of England from hundreds of years ago through to the present day. Click the arrows on each image to move forwards or backwards in time.
Kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England Circa 800 ADThis is an estimation of the borders of the kingdoms of England circa 800 AD. In reality they were never as precise as this, and would change frequently. You can clearly see how some counties developed from these kingdoms.
The Counties of England from the Middle Ages to 1965This map shows how the counties of England were structured from the late 16th century to 1965. County borders hardly moved for centuries until the boundary changes of 1965 and 1974. These are how the borders were before 1st April 1965, when Greater London was created.
The Counties of England 1965-1974These were the counties of England from 1965 to 1974, when Greater London and Huntingdon and Peterborough were created.
The Counties of England 1974-1996You can see the addition of Avon, Cleveland, Hereford and Worcester & Humberside along with the end of Huntingdon and Peterborough.
The Counties of England 1996 to the PresentThese are the counties of England as they are at present.
* The counties in these maps are the historic / traditional / ceremonial / geographic counties; i.e. what most people know as a county. Decades ago it used to be really simple – a county was a county. Now there are administrative counties, metropolitan counties, non-metropolitan counties, unitary authorities and even more! The Association of British Counties explain more about all this county confusion.