In 1974, they changed many of the county boundaries in England and Wales. They did the same to Scotland in 1975. Sadly, many county names became defunct.
Alas, poor Westmorland! And
alas, poor Cumberland! Both of these fine old English counties became
part of a new and larger county named Cumbria. However, the
residents of the small town of Appleby did manage to preserve their link
with the past by the simple expedient of changing their town name to
And would you believe it? For a while, all the postal addresses in
the small town of Gretna (which is in Scotland) were altered to include
the town name Carlisle and the new county name Cumbria (both of which
are in England). However, Royal Mail did eventually see sense and
removed these English place names from Gretna postal addresses,
replacing them with the new Scottish county name Dumfriesshire.
But that small bit of bureaucratic nonsense didn’t stop many English
teenagers from running away to get married in Gretna – sometimes with
irate parents in hot pursuit. Scottish law permits young people aged 16
or 17 to marry without parental consent, whilst English law sets the bar
higher at eighteen years. Gretna still conducts over 5000 marriages
each year, and all of them are conducted over a blacksmith’s anvil.
Hoorah for Bonny Scotland..!
“How far, how far to Gretna? ‘Tis years and years away,
And chaise and four will nevermore fling dust across the day;
But as I ride the Carlisle road, where life and love have been,
I hear again the beating hooves go through to Gretna Green.”
2 years ago