Chapman code

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search

The Chapman codes are a set of three-letter codes adopted to identify counties and other areas of the British Isles. They were compiled by Dr Colin Chapman in the 1970s in connection with his work on computerised records, in particular for the Schools Council's national project to introduce the use of computers in British schools in the early 1970, and the "Chapman County Codes" as they became known swiftly spread. Today they are most widely used in genealogy.


Chapman's achievement was to produce a single set of codes in a consistent system, capable of use universally. It was not the first set of county abbreviations by any means; the English Place Name Society produced a series of abbreviations in 1923 for counties in England but a mixed system of one-letter, two-letter and three-letter abbreviations. The Society of Genealogists published a list of abbreviations for the whole of the British Isles in 1973.[1]

In the 1970s Dr Chapman studied the systems published by the English Place Name Society and the Society of Genealogists and determined that a consistent system required a set of three-letter codes. Some of these were the same three-letter code used by the Society of Genealogists but two-letter and one-letter codes were expanded.

Only two counties were missed off the system: Cromartyshire and Ross-shire. (A code ROC was adopted for the administrative area "Ross and Cromarty".)

Chapman's system covered not only the counties but certain other areas, such as the Isle of Wight (IOW), the City of London (LON) and each of the three Ridings of Yorkshire. He also adopted codes for administrative counties and for the local government areas invented by the 1972 Local Government Act.

The Chapman codes are now incorporated in national and international standards for abbreviations: BS 6879 and the ISO 3166-2:GB, to identify historic counties and administrative divisions past and present in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The Historic Counties Standard codes

The Historic Counties Trust in developing the Historic Counties Standard adopted a separate system of codes similar to the Chapman codes. The Chapman codes were rejected since they are used, in accordance with the published British Standard, to stand in for names which might have several different applications, which is to say that the code "CAM" stands for "Cambridgeshire" but may be used for the county of that name or for the administrative area which uses the same name but which has a very different extent. Therefore, a new set of codes was required to represent the historic counties only, and which codes were required not to overlap with any Chapman code.

The Historic Counties Trust codes cover all the counties of the United Kingdom. The system was developed by Dr Peter Boyce.

The Codes

The table below gives the Chapman code for each county, together with the Historic Counties Standard code and Historic Counties Standard number.

Counties of the United Kingdom

Chapman HCS HCS No. County
ABD ABN 01 Aberdeenshire
AGY AGL 02 Anglesey
ANS ANG 03 Angus
ANT ANM 04 Antrim
ARL ARG 05 Argyllshire
ARM ARH 06 Armagh
AYR AYS 07 Ayrshire
BAN BNF 08 Banffshire
BDF BED 09 Bedfordshire
BRK BER 10 Berkshire
BEW BRW 11 Berwickshire
BRE BRN 12 Brecknockshire
BKM BUC 13 Buckinghamshire
BUT BTE 14 Buteshire
CAE CRN 15 Caernarfonshire
CAI CTN 16 Caithness
CAM CMB 17 Cambridgeshire
CGN CRD 18 Cardiganshire
CMN CRM 19 Carmarthenshire
CHS CHE 20 Cheshire
CLK CLM 21 Clackmannanshire
CON CNW 22 Cornwall
- CRT 23 Cromartyshire
CUL CUM 24 Cumberland
DEN DBH 25 Denbighshire
DBY DRB 26 Derbyshire
DEV DVN 27 Devon
DOR DRS 28 Dorset
DOW DWN 29 Down
DFS DMF 30 Dumfriesshire
DNB DUN 31 Dunbartonshire
DUR DRH 32 Durham
ELN ELT 33 East Lothian
ESS ESE 34 Essex
FER FRM 35 Fermanagh
FIF FFE 36 Fife
FLN FLT 37 Flintshire
GLA GLM 38 Glamorgan
GLS GLC 39 Gloucestershire
HAM HMP 40 Hampshire
HEF HRF 41 Herefordshire
HRT HTF 42 Hertfordshire
HUN HNT 43 Huntingdonshire
INV INS 44 Inverness-shire
KEN KNT 45 Kent
KCD KNC 46 Kincardineshire
KRS KNR 47 Kinross-shire
KKD KCB 48 Kirkcudbrightshire
LKS LNK 49 Lanarkshire
LAN LCS 50 Lancashire
LEI LCR 51 Leicestershire
LIN LNC 52 Lincolnshire
LDY LDR 53 Londonderry
MER MRN 54 Merionethshire
MDX MSX 55 Middlesex
MLN MLT 56 Midlothian
MON MNM 57 Monmouthshire
MGY MTG 58 Montgomeryshire
MOR MOY 59 Morayshire
NAI NRN 60 Nairnshire
NFK NRF 61 Norfolk
NTH NHP 62 Northamptonshire
NBL NHB 63 Northumberland
NTT NOT 64 Nottinghamshire
OKI ORN 65 Orkney
OXF OXD 66 Oxfordshire
PEE PBS 67 Peeblesshire
PEM PMB 68 Pembrokeshire
PER PRT 69 Perthshire
RAD RDN 70 Radnorshire
RFW RNF 71 Renfrewshire
- RSS 72 Ross-shire
ROX RXB 73 Roxburghshire
RUT RTL 74 Rutland
SEL SKK 75 Selkirkshire
SHI SHT 76 Shetland
SAL SHP 77 Shropshire
SOM SMS 78 Somerset
STS STF 79 Staffordshire
STI STL 80 Stirlingshire
SFK SFF 81 Suffolk
SRY SUR 82 Surrey
SSX SUS 83 Sussex
SUT SRL 84 Sutherland
TYR TYN 85 Tyrone
WAR WRW 86 Warwickshire
WLN WLT 87 West Lothian
WES WML 88 Westmorland
WIG WGT 89 Wigtownshire
WIL WTS 90 Wiltshire
WOR WRC 91 Worcestershire
YKS YRK 92 Yorkshire


Chapman Island
ALD Alderney
GSY Guernsey
JSY Jersey
SRK Sark
IOM Isle of Man

Counties of the Republic of Ireland

Chapman County
CAR Carlow
CAV Cavan
CLA Clare
COR Cork
DON Donegal
DUB Dublin
GAL Galway
KER Kerry
KID Kildare
KIK Kilkenny
LET Leitrim
LEX Leix
LIM Limerick
LOG Longford
LOU Louth
MAY Mayo
MEA Meath
MOG Monaghan
OFF Offaly
ROS Roscommon
SLI Sligo
TIP Tipperary
WAT Waterford
WEM Westmeath
WEX Wexford
WIC Wicklow

Other codes

Chapman Place
CHI Channel Islands
ENG England
IRL Ireland
SCT Scotland
WLS Wales
ALL All countries
IOW Isle of Wight
LND London, City of
ERY Yorkshire, East Riding
NRY Yorkshire, North Riding
WRY Yorkshire, West Riding


  1. Genealogists Magazine, Vol 17 No 6