By Mark Easton in BBC News.
Beneath the veneer of national identity, England is an elaborate tapestry of allegiances and rivalries.
For centuries, bureaucrats have drawn lines on the map without understanding the invisible ley lines of belonging that criss-cross the English countryside. There are deep loyalties to ancient counties, proud cities and towns, even legendary kingdoms.
The survey for The English Question, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind ever conducted, reveals something of these hidden ties and bonds.
The English counties, some with stories that predate England itself, are a strong source of identity for roughly half the population.
The allegiance may be to an ancient or historic county that planners have carved up, redesigned or obliterated, but these pre-industrial administrations clearly still have a place in the hearts of many.
Yorkshire, with its Viking origins and Norman design, inspires the deepest passions of all. Three quarters of people from York and the Ridings feel a strong allegiance to their county. Only one other county comes close to such levels of belonging – Yorkshire’s great rival, Lancashire.
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