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Parish (administrative division): Wikis

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A parish is an administrative division used by several countries and one U.S. State: Louisiana.

In England and in Louisiana, it is sometimes called a "civil parish" to distinguish it from the religious parish.

Contents

Countries with parishes as subnational entity

The Parish Hall of St. Clement, seat of Jersey's municipal administration.

In these areas, it originated as a religious subdivision, but over time has come to be either a purely civil one, or (in some jurisdictions in which the church is not separate from the state) one that is simultaneously ecclesiastical and civil.

Scotland, Wales and Ireland

In Wales the equivalent body to a Parish council is termed a Community council.

The counties of Scotland were sub-divided into parishes, but the councils of these were abolished in 1930. Scotland has now bodies called Community councils, but these are not equivalent to and have fewer powers than the English parishes and Welsh communities.

In Ireland, counties are divided into civil parishes. Irish civil parishes are divided into approximately 60,000 townlands. Counties are also divided into larger subdivisions called baronies, which are made up of a number of parishes or parts of parishes. Both civil parishes and baronies are now largely obsolete (except for some purposes such as legal transactions involving land) and are no longer used for local government purposes. From the 17th to mid-19th centuries civil parishes were based on early Christian and medieval monastic and church settlements. As the population grew, new parishes were created and the civil parish covered the same area as the established Church of Ireland. The Roman Catholic Church adapted to a new structure based on towns and villages. There 2,508 civil parishes in Ireland, which frequently break both barony and county boundaries.

State of Louisiana, United States

In Louisiana, a civil parish is a geographical unit of administration. In this case the Parish is equivalent to the counties found throughout the rest of the United States of America. This is due to its history as a Spanish and French colony (French: paroisse). Louisiana and Alaska (Alaska uses the term "borough") are the only two states to refer to county level geographical units as something other than county.

The lowlands of South Carolina were also previously divided into parishes, rather than counties, well into the nineteenth century, until Reconstruction. The parish divisions are still used in certain cases, particularly in unincorporated areas for public services, such as water or fire departments.

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