Talk:Historic counties of England

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Former featured article Historic counties of England is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 29, 2004.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
July 6, 2004 Featured article candidate Promoted
March 9, 2006 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Historic counties of England:
  • Gain GA / FA status
  • Explain how sanitary provision/poor law were based on the counties, but started a process of ignoring the ancient boundaries
  • Give origin of each county (+approximate date of establishment where possible)
  • Make more succinct where possible

"Ancient" counties of England!?[edit]

We have ancient history, ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and ancient Egypt, but I find it too much to call the pre-1974 counties of England as ancient. In living memory there are many people who remember those pre-1974 counties, so to call them ancient is laughable. Through a Bold unilateral decision last year the article title was changed from Historic counties of England to Ancient counties of England without any clear consensus. The article should revert back until a clear consensus is made. Scrivener-uki (talk) 14:01, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

The decision was made last July as a result of the discussion at the top of this page, which showed 4 editors in favour of the move from "Historic" to "Ancient" and none opposed. "Ancient counties" is a technical term, not a comparison with more ancient civilisations. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:06, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I still find it laughable to call the pre-1974 counties as ancient. Are we to assume the Historic counties of Wales, Historic counties of Ontario, Historic counties of Colorado, etc. should be renamed as Ancient counties? Scrivener-uki (talk) 14:19, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Well really its the pre-1889 counties that are/were the ancient ones. Laughable or not "ancient county" is the term used by for instance the Ordnance Survey and publications by the Royal Historical Society: in other words reliable sources. I think the point is that their origins are "in antiquity" (not sure if that is the same as time immemorial), and for the most part cannot be dated. It's also a widely used term eg by the Essex Record Office [1], Surrey History Centre [2] or Bristol Archives [3]. "Historic counties" is much more makey-uppy. And yes, the Welsh counties should bbe retitled as "ancient". Lozleader (talk) 15:50, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

It not so much what is the most popular term to be used on Wikipedia but how many Wikipedians vote for which one is to be used. Going by Google seaches the most popular term is "Traditional counties of England" with about 3,500,000 results, followed by "Historic counties of England" with about 1,290,000 results, and "Ancient counties of England" with about 561,000 results. And so what do Wikipedians vote for? They vote for the least popular term. No doubt if enough Wikipedians voted that the Earth is flat, then the Earth article would state it is flat. Wikipedia:Polling is not a substitute for discussion. The term "Traditional" is too controversial with some Wikipedians who see it as a Weasel word. The term "Ancient" gives the impression of something from way, way back in time. The fact is many of those so-called "Ancient" counties, with boundary changes, still exist. The term "Historic" seems the best word to convey about the English counties. We read about history and historical events, and so I don't see anything wrong with "Historic counties of England" as the article title. Scrivener-uki (talk) 14:48, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

The above comment does not address the points raised by Lozleader, ie: that the term "ancient county" is used by the Ordnance Survey and institutions such as the Bristol Archives. Nev1 (talk) 14:52, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, the GM gang who back each other up, whether right or wrong. The fact is that the more popular, common terms are "Traditional" and "Historic" counties, but doesn't mean a thing to Wikipedia because there aren't enough users to vote for commonsense. Scrivener-uki (talk) 15:21, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, if it was up to me the article wouldn't use "ancient" in its title as I feel the term is too strongly linked with ancient Rome and ancient Greece and may convey an odd image to the reader, but my opinion is immaterial in the face of sources which show that "ancient counties" is used officially. In short, if you fail to address why some institutions use this phrase. Questioning the motives of others when your argument is failing is weak, both in integrity and effect. Nev1 (talk) 15:30, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
The Department for Communities and Local Government use the term "historic counties of England".[4][5] I doubt you can get more official than a Government department. Scrivener-uki (talk) 16:01, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Finally you front up an produce some sources. It's much more effective than alluding to conspiracies and bleating about flatearthers. Nev1 (talk) 16:03, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps then this article should be moved back to "Historic counties of England" since the official, current Government department uses that term. Scrivener-uki (talk) 16:10, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Although I hate the idea of regarding Eric Pickles as "reliable" (or indeed my being mistaken for a member of the "GM gang"), I'd have no concerns about changing the title. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:05, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

After nearly two months and no objections I've moved the page back to Historic counties of England. Scrivener-uki (talk) 14:19, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Historic counties of England[edit]

"Historic counties of England" is the wrong title for this it applies that there are counties which are in some way separate from the modern counties. In most cases this is simply not true. The current Lancashire is the Lancashire that has always existed the boundaries of these areas have changed over time but they are all the same county.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 20:42, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

You obviously haven't looked at any of the material on this subject, here or elsewhere. For example, when you typed the word county did you mean geographical county, undetached county, Poor Law county, registration county, sanitary county, borough county, corporate county, ceremonial county, postal county, sporting county or administrative county?
The administrative counties have (generally) had two existences, from 1889 to 1974 and separately from 1974 to the present day, being abolished on 31 March 1974 and new ones with the same names created the next day.
Following a consensus (of 11 people) long before either you or I arrived here, it was decided that Wikipedia would only refer to current local government areas in articles concerning the geography of the UK. More recent discussions have revealed that that decision is now set in stone. In order to show that other sub-divisions of the nation existed, it was decided that pages relating to those older descriptions of location should be created. The title of those was variously suggested as traditional counties, geographical counties, ancient counties or historic counties. As you can see, historic counties was the term chosen (again by a consensus of a tiny number of individuals) to refer to this topic.
DavidFRAS from work. (talk) 11:52, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
No not before I was here.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 14:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
The Historic counties of England article is about the historic origins of the counties, hence its page title. There are various Counties of England depending which users are interested in. The Administrative counties of England were replaced by the Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England. There also Ceremonial counties of England and Postal counties of the United Kingdom. Scrivener-uki (talk) 13:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
That isn't what the title say's. "The origins of the counties of England" would say that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kitchen Knife (talkcontribs) 14:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I've struck out the word 'historic' in my earlier post. Obviously I'll have be very careful with my wording in future or it'll be jumped upon. Besides, there are historic counties which don't exist anymore - Cumberland, Westmorland and Huntingdonshire. The remaining historic counties have had their boundaries redrawn. The Department for Communities and Local Government use the term historic counties of England "[6]". So that is why the term is used on Wikipedia for those counties. Scrivener-uki (talk) 15:30, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
This is one of the cases where Wikipedia is using a 'least worst' term that causes minimum confusion. If there was a better one I think we'd have come across it by now. S a g a C i t y (talk) 15:34, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Then should we change the name of this article to "The Origins of the counties of England" that way we can avoid any qualifier.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 19:03, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Oppose article name change. Scrivener-uki (talk) 19:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Why?--Kitchen Knife (talk) 20:05, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Because your proposal only describes sections 1 and 2; sections 3 and 4 are on modifications the the counties as originally formed and section 5 is a list. If you would care to read the archives from the links you will see that this has be the subject of debate since 2003. Any proposal to change the name again must be in that context. S a g a C i t y (talk) 20:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Comment on ancient/historic[edit]

Ancient/historic are both found in the literature, with more scholarly/reliable sources using ancient. It is the 'historic origin' and 'establishment in antiquity' that these words refer to. Either will probably do the job. MRSC (talk) 09:15, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

If the term "ancient" is used in scholarly sources, I suggest that be explained, rather than being added into the text without explanation. Divisions dating back a thousand years or so are obviously not "ancient" in archaeological or geological terms, for example. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:35, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps we should rename the article to Ancient counties of England, given that term is more often used. MRSC (talk) 09:41, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
We are edit conflicting. Please discuss it here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:36, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I've changed the text to make the point, but will revert. The terms "ancient" and "traditional" are referenced later in the para, and the term "ancient" therefore does not need to appear in the opening sentence. The point is that they are not unambiguously ancient, though they are sometimes called that. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
The changed text doesn't really reflect the literature. The terms are used interchangeably. MRSC (talk) 09:41, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Quite - so move the last sentence of the para up to follow the opening sentence. The referencing should go in the article text not the lede, so some text may need to be added. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:44, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Looking over the history of page moves the evidence supplied for Ancient counties of England seems to be stronger, and the move to Historic counties of England probably should not have taken place. MRSC (talk) 09:46, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Feel free to make another formal proposal, though as you say this has been discussed on previous occasions. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:52, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
The discussion on this page would suggest to me a consensus exits for ancient, aside from one vocal dissenter who moved the page. MRSC (talk) 10:07, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
There is no clear consensus. There was no objection to the last move, which was well advertised in advance - presumably because no-one thought it was very important either way. What is important is that the text is clear, and that redirects are in place. If you want to start a new discussion, please go through the proper processes here, by advertising your suggestion using a {{movenotice}} template. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:48, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Do they exist?[edit]

We have an editor, User:Kitchen Knife, who is claiming (without any evidence so far) that the opening sentence of the article should use the past tense - "were" rather than "are". I think the case is made in the article that they continue to exist for some purposes, but views of interested editors are sought. Incidentally, the wording used when the article was a Featured Article is here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:06, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

The Counties where and are given there existence by either acts of monarchs or parliament, they can equally be abolished by them. A statement like "ancient China stretches further south then today" would be nonsensical, To say "Ancient China stretched..." with the past tense is correct. It is the same with the counties. That some people think China should expand to cover it's whole imperial domain is irrelevant, it doesn't me the ancient China exists in anyway.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 15:12, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
As administrative areas for local government, that is true. But the whole point, to which you seem to be oblivious, is that they are not just administrative areas. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:15, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes they are that is what they where created for. The may have been other things before they where counties but that is what they became. They are simple constructs of government and have been changed by them at there will. If I was to refer to Liverpool Sailors Home as being existent because a lot of people regret it's passing it would be foolish, but that is what you are doing.--Kitchen Knife (talk) 15:20, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I've reverted the wording to the present tense, as has been maintained in this article since 2003, including the time when it was a featured article. User:Kitchen Knife is currently blocked. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:58, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not going to make any changes to the article, but having examined the legislation it would seem the actual situation is a combination of what both sides have tried to assert here. The Local Government Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. c. 41) created Administrative Counties (ACs). These were new entities that did not replace the hitherto existing shires/counties (HCs) that dated back, in some cases, to Saxon times. However, the 1888 Act did, very explicity, ammend the boundaries of the HCs so that they were aligned with the boundaries of the new ACs, and would remian so aligned when the boundaries of the ACs changed in future. There was with a slight twist in the cases of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Sussex, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, and Cambridgeshire, which would each contain several ACs based on Ridings etc. (a situation analogouous to today's Ceremonial Counites):

(2) A place which is part of an administrative county for the purposes of this Act shall, subject as in this Act mentioned form part of that county for all purposes, whether sheriff lieutenant, custos rotulorum, justices, militia, coroner or other; Provided that—

(a) Notwithstanding this enactment each of the entire counties of York, Lincoln, Sussex, Suffolk, Northampton, and Cambridge shall continue to be one county for the said purposes so far as it is one county at the passing of this Act

– Sect. 59 Para. 2

The Local Government Act 1933 repealed most parts the 1888 Act, including the above section, so it is possible the link between the boundaries of the HCs and ACs was broken at that time - I have not yet been able to source a copy of the text to check. Of course, it is equally possible the 1933 act abolished all forms of county except the ACs...

The London Government Act 1963 (1963 c. 33) abolished all pre-existing administrative entities within Greater London:

(1) As from 1st April 1965—

(a) no part of Greater London shall form part of any administrative county, county district or parish;
(b) the following administrative areas and their councils (and, in the case of a borough, the municipal corporation thereof) shall cease to exist, that is to say, the counties of London and Middlesex, the metropolitan boroughs, and any existing county borough, county district or parish the area of which falls wholly within Greater London;
(c) the urban district of Potters Bar shall become part of the county of Hertfordshire ;
(d) the urban districts of Staines and Sunbury-on-Thames shall become part of the county of Surrey.

– Sect. 3 Para. 1

Finally, in England outside of Greater London, the Local Government Act 1972 (1972 c.70) abolished all ACs and their subdivisions, effective 1 April 1974:

(10) On that date the following local government areas existing immediately before that date outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly, that is to say, all administrative counties, boroughs (except those in rural districts), urban districts, rural districts and urban parishes, shall cease to exist and the council of every such area which has a council shall also cease to exist. (11) On that date the municipal corporation of every borough outside Greater London (and the corporation of a borough included in a rural district) shall cease to exist.

– Sect. 1 Paras 10–11

In light of all the above, it seems clear that HCs could be argued to exist insofar as they have not been explicitly abolished. However, their boundaries are legally defined in terms of entities that have been explicitly abolished, which leaves them in a kind of limbo. Either they still have the boundaries they had on 31 March 1965 (within Greater London)/31 March 1974 (elsewhere), or else they have no boundaries at all and no area. Which of those possibilities is the case is, I think, a purely philosophical debate. What is clear though, is that they don't have the ancient Saxon/Norman boundaries so beloved of the ABC and their ilk. That boat sailed in 1888. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:46, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Legally, perhaps. But, for some, that is not the point. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:19, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Did the 1963 act abolish any counties?[edit]

This claim may in fact be apocryphal looking into 1963 act:


and Middlesex is only mentioned once and that is to say the word in previous acts should be treated as the new governing body.

To abolish a county is probably constitutionally impossible without a Royal decree

The act creates the GLC but not a Greater London County

Similarly there existed London Boroughs before this time. Likewise the reference to London being a county since 1131 is not supported by its link. A county is not defined as any governing body hence the Liberty of Westminster.

Wikipedia has about 8 articles all overlapping the subject of what is a county but none give any references in any definition sections

Similarly the reason a start date cannot be given for postal county is because it is not simply an invention of the Post Office but a term that already existed. (talk) 14:09, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

When was a county a county[edit]

While part of the stem of the word is Old French - The book I have on Middlesex states the County system was introduced in 900 A.D. similarly Chambers includes a shire in possible definitions. The problem is prior to the Doomsday book things are vague. But it would be useful to have a more substantial reference than wiki's current one if their were units Jarldoms etc whcih merely had their names changed. (talk) 14:09, 27 March 2012 (UTC)


This part of the article is very poorly written and requires in my opinion an honest re-evaluation.

I quote:

"It [Monmouthshire] was considered to be a county of England for parliamentary purposes until 1950 and for local government until 1974"

- from WHEN was it considered to be a part of England for parliamentary purposes?

- from WHEN was it considered to be a part of England for local government purposes?

Frankly, these are the only "purposes" that have any real meaning for counties anyway. So are we in fact saying here that Monmouthshire was actually an English county until 1974 - when the provisions of the 1972 Act came into effect?

I also quote:

"and for most purposes it was regarded as part of Wales"

Look, it is no good simply referring the reader to some article written in a magazine. WHAT ARE THESE "PURPOSES"?

The status of Monmouthshire prior to 1974 is a contentious issue so far as I can make out. I personally believe it was officially English from the 16th century, but many Welshmen - especially those now living in the modern (post 1974) county of Gwent which covers approximately the same area - resent the fact and try to obfuscate the matter. John2o2o2o (talk) 02:18, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

This is all discussed at Monmouthshire (historic)#Ambiguity over Welsh status. I'll tweak the article here to mention The article refers to the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, when the county was formed. Your "personal beliefs" and opinions aren't really of much weight here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:12, 14 July 2012 (UTC)


Current text reads:

"The name of a county often gives a clue to how it was formed, either as a division that took its name from a centre of administration, an ancient kingdom, or an area occupied by an ethnic group.[6] The majority of English counties are in the first category, with the name formed by combining the central town with the suffix "-shire", for example Yorkshire. Former kingdoms, which became earldoms in the united England did not feature this formulation; so for Kent, the former kingdom of the Jutes, "Kentshire" was not used. Counties ending in the suffix "-sex" are also in this category and are former Saxon kingdoms. Many of these names are formed from compass directions. The third category includes counties such as Cornwall and Devon where the name corresponds to the tribes who inhabited the area.[6]"

With respect, I find this misleading. The article elsewhere accepts that Yorkshire takes its name from the Viking Kingdom of York - although in fact this extended further north. And it is no longer possible to think that the nineteenth century concept of the heptarchy among Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, taken from Bede, is correct. Evidence of much smaller kingdoms, later amalgamated, continues to mount up (for example, the lost county of Winchcombeshire clearly once had a king, who evidently accepted subordination to the Kings of Mercia, and is later shown in charter witness lists as accepting progressively lower titles: "sub-regulus" (under-little-king), "dux" etc). And "Kent", for example, clearly takes its name from a pre-Roman kingdom whose name the Romans kept in their town names and which were then taken on by the Anglo-Saxons (like most people nowadays I doubt Bede's division between Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and anyway Bede does not make this the only ancient Jutish kingdom - he includes also the Isle of Wight).

Forgive the length of this comment. I would suggest the simple change "The name of a county often gives a clue to when it was formed" - but then we know from historical sources about when most of the shires were officially formed anyway, so why do we need a clue?

Markd999 (talk) 19:46, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Do "we know from historical sources about when most of the shires were officially formed"? In some cases we do, but I'm not sure that it's most cases. One possibility might be - as well as tweaking the summary text - to include a new column or two in the table of counties, to describe their formation. Or, if that makes the table unwieldy, to add a new table. Would you like to take that on? Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:00, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Use of dictionaries for nomenclature "former counties"[edit]

This is a highly-POV synthesis which does not support the expression "former counties". For instance the online Oxford Dictionary refers to Yorkhire as "a county of northern England" directly refuting the citation. Furthermore it refers to Greater Manchester as "a former metropolitan county of NW England". Collins Dictionary is similarly inconsistent. It refers to Cheshire as a "a former administrative county", but Bedfordshire as simply "a county" despite them both having the same administrative status. The 2001 Merriam-Webster dictionary is spectacularly unreliable: The third definition of "Suffolk" is of a "former county", whereas the fourth refers to simply "county" with no differentiation between them! Other entries in this dictionary are of Stamford Bridge as a village in "Humberside". This unreliability makes the use of dictionaries in this way unusable. Owain (talk) 08:11, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

How can using a dictionary as a guide to usage be synthesis? That's exactly what a dictionary is for. "Former counties" is an extremely widely used alternative name for the subject of this article - much more widely used than many of the other synonyms included - and this fact should be reflected in the lead as per MOS:LEADALT. JimmyGuano (talk) 18:07, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree. There are many "former counties" - Avon, Hereford and Worcester, etc. - which are not historic counties covered by this article. Suggesting that the term "former counties" is an interchangeable term for the traditional or ancient counties is wrong, confusing, and wholly unnecessary. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:32, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
If this was a suggested page move you'd have a point as "former counties" would be insufficient as a disambiguator. This is just one of the alternative names in a lead though. Nowhere in MOS:LEADALT does it say that only alternative names that are absolutely unique to the subject of the article should be mentioned in the lead. That would be absurd - it would imply that the lead of the article on the Gravelly Hill Interchange should not mention that it is also called "Spaghetti Junction", on the basis that there are other junctions that also have that nickname.JimmyGuano (talk) 18:08, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
Surely Somerset is a historic county but not a former county (and so are many other counties), and Avon is a former county but not a historic county.--Mhockey (talk) 22:10, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
That's a good point - Warwickshire clearly isn't a former county, it is a county whose borders have changed over the years. For the counties that have been superseded though (at least under the usual mainstream interpretation), "former counties" is among the most common terms, more common than some of the other terms that are listed in the article. An unscientific but nonetheless revealing google search gives 161,000 for 'westmorland "former county"', 132,000 results for 'westmorland "historic county"', 31,300 for 'westmorland "ancient county"' and 26,500 for 'westmorland "traditional county"'. While I'm not claiming this is remotely definitive for the well-known reasons related to google searches, and I'm obviously not suggesting a page move or anything, for the article to suggest that, for the relevant subset of these counties, the terms currently listed are used and the term "former counties" isn't used is to be actively misleading, and to fail the basic requirement of WP:NPOV - "representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic". JimmyGuano (talk) 11:53, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Sussex and Yorkshire[edit]

In the table towards the bottom of the article, surely it should be somehow noted that Sussex and Yorkshire are recognised in the ceremonial counties of the present-day, albeit they are divided into 2 or more ceremonial counties (but all have either Yorkshire or Sussex in their name). Argovian (talk) 23:26, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

There are some local goverment 'aficionados' that patrol these pages who may provide a more precise explanation but in brief I think the reason for their omission is that 'ceremonial counties' are defined through legislation and the Lieutenancies Act 1997 read in conjunction with the relevant local government legislation excludes these two counties. Tmol42 (talk) 01:44, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
No, you've missed my point. Both Yorkshire and Sussex are listed in the table with "disestablished 1974" which is correct, but a linked footnote should be added to point out that they are still recognised in the ceremonial county system albeit as two or more counties. This is mentioned in the paragraph above the table, where it reads "Some ancient counties have their names preserved in multiple contemporary counties, such as Yorkshire in North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire..." - I just feel a note should be added to the table itself (for Yorkshire and Sussex) for a reader who skips straight to the table. Argovian (talk) 09:43, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

Musings on Bristol[edit]

Had a sudden thought about this, but based on the usual criteria might Bristol not actually qualify as a traditional/historic county in its own right a la the City of London? The establishment of the County Corporate removed it from the administration of Gloucestershire, and while I know this isn't necessarily sufficient to consider it a separate county outright, unlike most of the County Corporates the Quarter Sessions had the right to pass death sentences, effectively making it independent of the Gloucestershire Assize Court. Furthermore it was actually in the Western Circuit with Somerset etc. rather than the Oxford Circuit with Gloucestershire. That might indicate it was actually in Somerset, but the Avon was already established as the northern border of that, so potentially it rather looks like Bristol was, to all intents and purposes, separate from the surrounding counties.

Any particular reason it's not considered an historic county (considerations over complexities such as Islandshire and Norhamshire etc.?) or is it just one of those things where everyone (including official groups) has assumed something without it being the case.

Of course, sans sources there's not much we can do here due to the OR issues, but it might be worth a footnote.15:34, 17 November 2014 (UTC)ImperatordeElysium

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