Our home page allows simple searching by placename and postcode. Here you can widen searches by using wild-cards or looking for sound-alikes, and narrow searches by specifying the county or nation. You can directly search for administrative units or for descriptions from historical gazetteers:
Our gazetteer of places was created especially for A Vision of Britain through Time, and aims to include all towns and all villages of any size. It draws on our gazetteer of administrative units, as well as our historical maps and descriptive gazetteers, and includes every settlement that gave its name to any of the following:
Each place can be found using any of the names we have linked to it, including the names of associated administrative units, names given in historical gazetteers, and names used by historical travel writers.
Our administrative gazetteer combines:
Our gazetteer also incorporates information supplied by the Estonian and Swedish National Archives, plus additional research at the University of Portsmouth.
Our descriptive gazetteer combines the full text of four 19th century gazetteers, a total of over 90,000 entries:
Our typology of descriptive entries is based on the ADL Feature Type Thesaurus.
. . . State
. countries, 1st order divisions
. . . Nation
. . . Region
. countries, 2nd order divisions
. . . County
. countries, 3rd order divisions
. . . Higher-level District
. . . Middle-level District
. . . Lower-level District
. countries, 4th order divisions
. . . Parish
. . . sub-Parish
. . . sub sub-Parish
. multinational entities
. . . World
. . . Continent
. . . Sub-Continent
Our system for classifying British administrative units is designed as an extension to the Alexandria Digital Library's gazetteer Feature Type Thesaurus, but that contains only four terms for intra-state political units so the first expansion is from their four to our thirteen Geographical Levels. The next expansion is to our Unit Type values, and the final one to our type-specific Unit Status values ('World', 'State' and 'Nation' are both Geographical Levels and Unit Types). NB a given type of unit may hold more than one status value concurrently.
Click on any of the levels for details of the types we include within that level. Where there are a small number of units with a given type or status, you can access a complete listing of all such units.