Kincardineshire was one of the 34 traditional counties into which Scotland was divided for administrative purposes until a major reorganisation in 1975 swept them away in favour of 12 regions.
Kincardineshire, which was also known as The Mearns, or the County of Kincardine, occupied a roughly triangular area heading inland from the north sea coast south of Aberdeen to the Cairngorms. It was bordered by Aberdeenshire and Angus. Significant settlements included Stonehaven, Inverbervie, Laurencekirk, Fettercairn and Banchory.
Absent from the list is anywhere called Kincardine. Kincardine was once a town which once stood two miles north-east of Fettercairn. If you look at a map today all you find is Kincardine Castle and, a little to its north, Mill of Kincardine. It seems that Kincardine went into decline in the 1600s. It was replaced by Stonehaven as the administrative centre of Kincardineshire, and the shaft of its mercat cross was moved to Fettercairn.
Kincardineshire was unaffected by the boundary changes in 1890 which reduced the overall number of counties to 33.
In 1975, however, it ceased to exist, its area becoming part of the Kincardine and Deeside district, which itself was part of Grampian Region. Since the demise of Kincardineshire the name has also largely ceased to be used (something that is by no means true of all of the traditional counties which ceased to exist in 1975). However, the alternative name for Kincardineshire, The Mearns, does live on in popular usage: partly thanks to the novels of the author Lewis Grassic Gibbon. This may be one reason why the Aberdeenshire unitary council area, which came into being in 1996, calls one of its six administrative areas Kincardine and Mearns.