The Ridings were administrative divisions of the counties of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire which still survive in Yorkshire.
They were the primary divisions of those counties, intermediate between the county and Wapentake. In this respect, they were similar to the Lathes of Kent and the Rapes of Sussex. Yorkshire was divided into East, North and West Ridings, Lincolnshire into North, South and West Ridings. In addition, Kesteven and Holland in south Lincolnshire probably formed a fourth Riding, despite the fact that the term Riding means a third part. This is a clue to the fact that Holland and Kesteven, once the territory of Stamford, were later additions to what had become the county of Lincoln by 1016. The core of this new county was the ancient kingdom of Lindsey, whose history goes back to the seventh century. Holland and Kesteven were added much later, probably in an administrative re-organisation in the tenth or early eleventh century. In Domesday Book, Lincolnshire was still called Lindsey, though strictly speaking this was only the northern half of the county.
Due to the Viking invasions in the ninth, and the English re-conquest in the tenth century, the earlier history of the Ridings is more obscure than that of the comparable units in Kent and Sussex. The documented history of the kingdom of Lindsey does, however, imply that the territories called Ridings in Domesday Book may have originated in the early centuries of English history, though not necessarily under that name.