please empty your brain below

I grew up in Derby, and I agree with the Wikipedia commenter! We always described Matlock as the county town of Derbyshire, as it is the home of Derbyshire county council.
I'm surprised you've never blogged about Chelmsford. Let us know when you're coming and we'll roll out the virtual red carpet. :-)
Seventy years ago, when I was a child, Bodmin was the county town of Cornwall. But Truro was the administrative centre and was a city. Bodmin had the asylum and prison. But Bodmin also had a 'greasy spoon' with a mynah bird which shouted food orders.
I agree with Dan about Matlock.

I would also suggest that Leicester is not really the county town of Leicestershire, as the County Hall is at Glenfield which is in Blaby District not in the city.
"This raises the prospect that there may be 'traditional' County Towns and current administrative HQs that do not correspond."
And my niece-in-law works at West Sussex County Hall which is in Chichester. Lewes is the county town of East Sussex.
Cumbria will remain as a ceremonial county.
The statement that the new Unitaries will be "almost the same" as the old counties is not one shared by the good folk of Eden - about a quarter of the original Cumberland, around Penrith - which will be in the new "Westmorland and Furness Unitary Authority"
Although it may or may not be on the definitive list, I can recommend Beverley as a lovely place for a day out!
And what about the Isle of Wight, hmmmmm?
You can add Launceston (Lanson) in Cornwall to the list of historical towns.
I would have said it's (relatively) simple.

There are real county towns, which are the locations of administrative centres for local authorities (which may not be actual counties), and historic county towns which may no longer be administrative centres but are nonetheless associated with earlier governmental locations. Well... maybe that isn't THAT simple after all...
Of the unvisited list I'm most surprised by Lewes, as it has good rail connections to London and a highly publicised annual festival for would-be arsonists.
I've always thought of Newcastle as the traditional county town of Northumberland but the 1911 Encyclopaedia Brittanica (freely available online) has it as Alnwick. It also says about Northumberland:

"In physique the Northumbrian is stalwart and robust, and seldom corpulent. The people have mostly grey eyes, brown hair and good complexions. [...]
The natives have fine characteristics: they are clean, thrifty and plodding, honest and sincere, shrewd and very independent. Their virtues lie rather in solidity than in aspiration."
in the "the administrative seat has been moved" Cambridgeshire is one, as the County council is now based on an old airfield at Alconbury thanks to the previous administration
To me Norwich is obviously the county town of Norfolk rather than being acknowledged as such. It seems to me to be almost the perfect definition of one being the cultural, political, social, commercial and historical hub for a large county.
Lancashire County Council has been based in Preston since 1889. Just sayin'.
Lancashire CC offices are in Preston. So if Aylesbury is the county town of Bucks why isn't Preston the county town of Lancs?
Wikipedia has a lot of discussion about Preston and Lancashire.
Add into the issue geography and and ease of communication; for example Chelmsford is roughly in the centre of Essex and the confluence of a number of rivers. Likewise Norwich and Norfolk.
I wonder if, originally, the main towns helped give the name to the surrounding county, for example, Buckingham gave its name to Buckinghamshire and Lincoln to the surrounding Shire, and so forth.
Oh, but that only applies to Shire Counties so it a load of bolx. Interesting though.
Guildford's claim as the historic county town of Surrey is not uncontroversial, regardless of where the county council main office is currently located. Most of this battle on Wikipedia seems to be on the Guildford page itself rather than the county town list, with claims that a previous Guildford borough official historian and/or curator had made an assertion on the Guildford Museum website (and thus becoming a key source used by Wikipedia editors) that ultimately goes back to disputed reports of documents that don't seem to exist any more and one of the first actions of their successor was to edit the website to remove the assertion.

The whole thing is complicated by the question of just what is a county town anyway, Surrey's loss of territory in 1889 and again in 1965 and the long-running debate over where Surrey County Council should move from Kingston to with Guildford's case in part supported by the claim to be the rightful county town, though ultimately neither Guildford nor Woking won that one.
...i still use Middlesex when writing my address. Many forms on web pages which offer a drop down list of counties still offer Middlesex as an option which i always find pleasing.
Neither Taunton or Trowbridge are the most exciting places to visit, although I'm sure you would be able to uncover something interesting.
Your blog posts are always interesting to read through. Keep it up.
I've always stuck with what Bill Bryson was taught at The Times - there are three Yorkshires (East not included iirc) and two Sussexes.

I used to live in East Sussex; I now live in South Yorkshire ... and I too can't believe you've never visited Lewes!
But Guildford has castle ruin, Woking is just bland.
I think you’d enjoy Lewis - small area so it’s easy to get round, lots of architecture & history to explore, & ridiculously pretty in places (like the white cliffs above the river Ouse).
Frank - Lewes usually has no trains on bonfire night. But it is extraordinary that dg hasn't visited.
I'm well aware how much Lewes has to offer, thanks.

I've intentionally left it to visit later, as a treat to help pad out this blog's third decade.

Picking up on Victor Vectis's comment, I am taking it that the omission of the Isle of Wight is not accidental. This made me quizzical about what definition of "county" has been used here. As the I.W. has been a separate administrative county since 1889, and a distinct ceremonial county since 1974 I conclude the list of counties used is based on those which existed historically before 1889, or ceremonial counties as they existed from 1889 to 1974. I'm leaning towards the second of these definitions.
I wouldn't worry about only having briefly blogged Dorchester. You pretty much covered it the first time round. There's not a huge amount here you missed!
There were three Ridings of Yorkshire ( including the EastRiding, whose county town must have been Hull) long before 1974s creation of South Yorkshire.
Isle of Ely County Council issued its own vehicle registrations, EB and JE. County Hall was in the railway town of March, not Ely. Abolished 1965, absorbed into Cambridgeshire.
Well at least 3 of the never blogged are short day trips (I would suggest combining Guildford and Godalming, to cover the Wey Navigation and Charterhouse). And I can see all of the "never been"s are far away (do all the towns have rail? at a glance yes)

Wales, Scotland, NI next?
I can highly recommend a trip to Lewes to see many pubs, the court, prison, breweries, a river that will have rights. Site of UK deadliest avalanche, nice view from golf course, a Mount Caburn and the football club with great food and equal pay for both gender’s teams.
Wait - so the administrative seat of Cambridge County Council has been moved outside the old county boundaries to a village in Huntingdonshire?

The city of Nottingham may have a separate unitary council, but at least the administrative seat of the county council in West Bridgford remains within the borders of the historic county and the present territory controlled by the county council.
With Frank F. Surprised you have not been to Lewes.
This year at least.

Reading is also home to the Berkshire Records Office, the sole remaining Adminstrative function of Berkshire County Council (everything else has been devolved to the six Unitaries).
Lewes is a delight and worth a visit, whether for twee shops on steep roads, excellent pubs, antiques, or South Downs walks.

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