Hereford (/ˈhɛrɪfərd/ ( listen)) is a cathedral city,
civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the
River Wye, approximately 16 miles (26 km) east of the border with
Wales, 24 miles (39 km) southwest of Worcester, and 23 miles
(37 km) northwest of Gloucester. With a population of 58,896,
it is the largest settlement in the county.
The name "Hereford" is said to come from the
Anglo-Saxon "here", an
army or formation of soldiers, and the "ford", a place for crossing a
river. If this is the origin it suggests that
Hereford was a place
where a body of armed men forded or crossed the Wye. The Welsh name
Hereford is Henffordd, meaning "old road", and probably refers to
the Roman road and Roman settlement at nearby Stretton Sugwas. Much of
the county of
Herefordshire was Welsh-speaking, as reflected in the
Welsh names of many places in the county (see History of
An early town charter from 1189 granted by Richard I of England
describes it as "
Hereford in Wales".
Hereford has been recognised
as a city since time immemorial, with the status being reconfirmed as
recently as October 2000.
It is now known chiefly as a trading centre for a wider agricultural
and rural area. Products from
Hereford include: cider, beer, leather
goods, nickel alloys, poultry, chemicals, and cattle, including the
5 Military associations
7.1 Current and future projects
8.1 Public leisure
8.2 Clubs and societies
10 Health and social care
11 Society and culture
11.7 Famous people
11.8 Tourism and attractions
12 Twin towns
13 See also
15 External links
Hereford Cathedral, from Church Street
Hereford became the seat of Putta, Bishop of Hereford, some time
between AD 676 and 688, after which the settlement continued to grow
due to its proximity to the border between
Mercia and Wales, becoming
the Saxon capital of West
Mercia by the beginning of the 8th
Hostilities between the
Anglo-Saxons and the Welsh came to a head with
Battle of Hereford
Battle of Hereford in 760, in which the Britons freed themselves
from the influence of the English.
Hereford was again targeted by
the Welsh during their conflict with the
Anglo-Saxon King Edward the
Confessor in AD 1056 when, supported by
Viking allies, Gruffydd ap
Llywelyn, King of Gwynedd and Powys, marched on the town and put it to
the torch before returning home in triumph.
Hereford had the only
mint west of the
Severn in the reign of
Athelstan (924–39), and it
was to Hereford, then a border town, that
Athelstan summoned the
leading Welsh princes.
Hereford Cathedral dates from the early 12th century, as
does the first bridge across the Wye. Former Bishops of Hereford
include Saint Thomas de Cantilupe and Lord High Treasurer of England
The city gave its name to two suburbs of Paris, France: Maisons-Alfort
(population 54,600) and
Alfortville (population 36,232), due to a
manor built there by Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford, in the
middle of the 13th century.
Hereford, a base for successive holders of the title Earl of Hereford,
was once the site of a castle,
Hereford Castle, which rivalled that of
Windsor in size and scale. This was a base for repelling Welsh attacks
and a secure stronghold for English kings such as King Henry IV when
on campaign in the
Welsh Marches against Owain Glyndŵr. The castle
was dismantled in the 18th century and landscaped into
Battle of Mortimer's Cross
Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, during the Wars of the
Roses, the defeated Lancastrian leader
Owen Tudor (grandfather of the
future Henry VII of England) was taken to
Hereford by Sir Roger
Vaughan and executed in High Town. A plaque now marks the spot of the
execution. Vaughan was later himself executed, under a flag of truce,
by Owen's son Jasper.
The Old House, High Town. This timber-framed Jacobean building, built
in 1621, is now a museum.
During the civil war the city changed hands several times. On 30
September 1642 Parliamentarians led by Sir Robert Harley and Henry
Grey, 1st Earl of Stamford occupied the city without opposition. In
December they withdrew to
Gloucester because of the presence in the
area of a Royalist army under Lord Herbert. The city was again
occupied briefly from 23 April to 18 May 1643 by Parliamentarians
commanded by Sir
William Waller but it was in 1645 that the city saw
most action. On 31 July 1645 a Scottish army of 14,000 under Alexander
Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven besieged the city but met stiff resistance
from its garrison and inhabitants. They withdrew on 1 September when
they received news that a force led by King Charles was approaching.
The city was finally taken for Parliament on 18 December 1645 by
Colonel Birch and Colonel Morgan. King Charles showed his gratitude to
the city of
Hereford on 16 September 1645 by augmenting the city's
coat of arms with the three lions of Richard I of England, ten
Scottish Saltires signifying the ten defeated Scottish regiments, a
very rare lion crest on top of the coat of arms signifying "defender
of the faith" and the even rarer gold-barred peer's helm, found only
on the arms of one other municipal authority: those of the City of
Nell Gwynne, actress and mistress of King Charles II, is said to have
been born in
Hereford in 1650 (although other towns and cities,
notably Oxford, also claim her as their own); Gwynn Street is named
after her. Another famous actor born in
Hereford is David Garrick
The Bishop's Palace next to the Cathedral was built in 1204 and
continually used to the present day.
Hereford Cathedral School
is also one of the oldest schools in England. The Harold Street
Barracks were completed in 1856.
During World War I, in 1916, a fire at the Garrick Theatre killed
eight young girls who had been performing at a charity concert.
Hereford Town Hall (opened 1904)
The main local government body covering
Hereford is Herefordshire
Hereford has a "City Council" but this is actually a parish
council with city status, and has only limited powers.
Hereford has been the county town of Herefordshire. In
Herefordshire was merged with
Worcestershire to become part of
the county of
Hereford and Worcester, and
Hereford became a district
of the new county.
Hereford had formed a historic borough and was
reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. On 1 April 1998
the County of
Worcester was abolished, and Herefordshire
Worcestershire were re-established as separate counties, although
with slightly altered borders.
However the new
Herefordshire was a unitary authority without any
districts, and so
Hereford lost its district status (although,
confusingly, the authority's full legal name is the County of
Herefordshire District Council).
Charter Trustees were appointed to
preserve mayoral traditions until a civil parish council could be set
up, which happened in 2000.
Hereford is one of only eight civil
England which have city status.
Hereford was the name of a parliamentary constituency centring on the
city, from 1295 to 2010, when it was renamed as
Hereford and South
Herefordshire. The current member of the House of Commons for Hereford
Jesse Norman of the Conservative Party.
As with all of the UK,
Hereford experiences a maritime climate, with
limited seasonal temperature ranges, and generally moderate rainfall
throughout the year. The nearest
Met Office weather station for which
30-year averages are available is
Credenhill weather station, about 4
miles (6 km) north east of the city centre. Before 2001, the
weather station at Preston Wynne (7 miles, 11 km to the
north-east) provided the data.
Since 2001, extremes at
Credenhill have ranged from
33.6 °C (92.5 °F) during July 2006, to as low as
−15.8 °C (3.6 °F) during December 2010.
Railways in Hereford
Welsh Marches line (S&HR)
Cotswold Line (OW&WR)
Hereford, Hay & Brecon Rly
Hereford Barrs Court
Welsh Marches line (NA&HR)
Hereford, Ross &
There have been plans for many years for a north–south bypass
and currently the plan is for a nine-mile (14 km) dual
carriageway; however, HM Government as yet has refused to grant
permission or supply funds. However, as of April 2017, [Herefordshire
Council] are doing work on a new
Hereford Link Road. Until then the
A49 Trunk Road, A465, and A438 continue to run through the city
Hereford has been named as the UK's second slowest city with
vehicles averaging speeds of 14.09mph.
Hereford is served by a 4-platform railway station on the Welsh
Marches Line which opened in 1854. Services regularly connect to
Worcester, Birmingham, London, Manchester,
Cardiff and other
settlements in Wales. The station is currently operated by Arriva
Trains Wales. A second station,
Hereford Barton, was closed and later
redeveloped. A new station is proposed for construction in the
Enterprise zone in Rotherwas, south of the River
In 1999, the British Army
Special Air Service
Special Air Service (SAS) moved from their
Stirling Lines in
Hereford since 1960 to a former Royal Air
Force base RAF
Credenhill that had been redeveloped and
was designated as
Stirling Lines in 2000. The clock tower on which the
names of deceased SAS soldiers are inscribed was re-located. In
the 1998 spy action film Ronin, Sam asks Spence "What's the colour of
the boathouse at Hereford?" after he said he had been in the SAS.
Hereford – Pedestrianised shopping area
The main public service employers in
Hereford was granted
Fairtrade City status.
Major employers in the city include:
Bulmers, now owned by
Cider and alcoholic beverages
producer. Brands include Woodpecker Cider, Strongbow and Bulmers
Special Metals Wiggin Ltd – Manufacturers of nickel alloys
Cargill Meats Europe (formerly Sun Valley) – Manufacturers and
suppliers of food products for retailers and foodservice operators
Painter Brothers – Manufacturers of galvanized steel towers
including The Skylon
Other major companies based in
Spinning Dog Brewery – Brewers of traditional beers in
Wye Valley Brewery
Wye Valley Brewery – Producers of such beers as Butty Bach and
Hereford Pale Ale (HPA) and other real ales.
Cider – Award-winning cider and perry producer based just
Herefordshire is a global centre for cider production as it supports
many acres of orchards, so many breweries and associated organisations
exist here, along with other heavy and light industries. Within
the city, many are based at the Rotherwas Industrial Estate.
Many of the schools in
Hereford have been rebuilt and improved.
Herefordshire and Ludlow College has also been rebuilt to a
21st-century standard. A new NMITE (New Model in Technology and
Engineering) university is also planned, which will teach STEM
subjects and is stated to open in 2016. There has also been a number
of improvements at
Hereford Sixth Form College, where a new business
block extension was completed in 2013 and a new reception area was
completed in 2015.
Hereford benefitted from the PFI reconstruction schemes for NHS
hospitals, with the former County Hospital site having £60 million
spent on a brand new, one-site hospital to replace the former 3
hospitals: the General, the Eye Hospital, and the County Hospital. The
Hereford County Hospital
Hereford County Hospital was the single largest investment in
Herefordshire at that point. In 2015, further funds for more
improvements at the hospital were granted.
Current and future projects
A major regeneration project is taking place in
Hereford city centre,
formerly known as the
Edgar Street Grid. This covers an area of around
100 acres (0.40 km2) just north of the old city walls. Work
started on 8 October 2012, and should take around 15 years to
complete the whole project. The regeneration includes the rebuilding
of the canal basin at the end of the currently disused Herefordshire
and Gloucestershire Canal. The £80 million phase 1 includes a
supermarket, department store, multiplex cinema, shops, restaurants,
and other facilities and opened in late Spring 2014.
The Butter Market is also due for refurbishment and proposals are
A proposed bypass has been drawn up to circulate the city, which
suffers from rush hour traffic, with potential routes either to the
east or west of the city. Both routes would connect with the Rotherwas
Access Road which was recently completed, connecting the Rotherwas
Industrial Estate to the A49. Rotherwas itself has recently been
Enterprise Zone status by the government which is expected
to boost the economy and bring in thousands of new jobs.
A second railway station for
Hereford has been discussed, which would
be situated in Rotherwas as part of the Enterprise Zone.
Hereford is due to receive half of the 20,600 new homes expected to be
built in the county by 2026 as part of the Regional Spatial
Edgar Street ground.
Hereford is the home of the football club,
Hereford FC and they play
Edgar Street in the
Southern Football League
Southern Football League Premier Division. They
are a phoenix club that was set up in the wake of the demise of
Hereford United Football Club in 2014. United were best known for
beating Newcastle 2-1 in an
FA Cup replay in January 1972, when they
were still a non-league side and Newcastle were in the top division of
English football. Other notable city clubs include Westfields and
Hereford Rugby Club announced plans in 2012 for a major £6 million
move to a new home.
Hereford Hockey Club is based at the
Hereford City Sports Club, with
teams entered into leagues in the West Hockey Association.
The city is also home to
Hereford Racecourse, a traditional National
Hunt course to the north of the city centre which hosted around twenty
meetings a year. The company who leased the site decided in 2012 that
the site was not viable. What many thought to be the last meeting was
held on 16 December 2012, however the course reopened for racing in
Many golf courses surround the city at Wormsley (
Burghill and Brockington. The racecourse surrounds a golf course in
Hereford's public leisure facilities are managed by a not-for-profit
trust called HALO Leisure, which runs the
Hereford Leisure Centre
(that includes huge sports halls, gymnasium, squash courts, and an
outdoor athletics facility), and the
Hereford Leisure Pool (which
includes a gymnasium, full size swimming pool, leisure pool, diving
pool, and learners pool).
Clubs and societies
Hereford Rowing Club (along with the Kayak Club) uses the River
Wye; it is a popular club with a junior group. The stretch of river is
also used for other water sports.
Hereford has a nine pin skittle
league, formed on 24 October 1902, and today consists of five
Hereford has other clubs and societies including the Railway Club,
Welsh Club, Military Club, Richmond Place Club and the Whitecross
Squash & Lawn
Hereford has several music clubs/societies such as
Orchestra, a group for those up to the age of 21 which anyone in and
Herefordshire area can audition for. The orchestra is
conducted by both Sir Richard Mynors and Hazel Davis.
Plans are now in progress to create a new university in Hereford.
Hereford is home to five colleges, including:
Hereford College of Arts – a publicly funded art school located on
Folly Lane, with a
Higher Education centre on College Road in the
former main buildings of the Royal National College for the Blind. The
St Davids co-operate to provide degree
Herefordshire and Ludlow College (HLC) formerly known as Hereford
College of Technology - The Folly Lane facility includes a university
centre for the University of Worcester.
National School of Blacksmithing is the oldest established
Blacksmithing college in the UK, also the largest facility for
training smiths in Europe. This is also part of
Hereford Sixth Form College
Royal National College for the Blind
Royal National College for the Blind – One of the top colleges
in Europe for blind and visually impaired students, and one of only
two in Britain. The college occupies the former
Hereford College of Education campus. The college often plays host to
major blind sporting competitions like the Blind World Cup 2010 and
Euro 2015 Blind Football Championships, and currently hosts the
England Blind Football squad training camps.
Holme Lacy College – An agricultural college that was part of the
Pershore Group of Colleges (now Warwickshire College), but currently
Herefordshire and Ludlow College (HLC).
Hereford's many secondary schools include:
Steiner Academy Hereford
Steiner Academy Hereford – The first
Rudolf Steiner school in
England to become an Academy.
Aylestone Business and Enterprise College- A co-educational
comprehensive school for pupils aged between 11 and 16, created in
1976 by merging two former grammar schools, the
Hereford High School
for Boys and the
Hereford High School for Girls. Specialises in
Business and Enterprise.
Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School
Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School – A co-educational
voluntary aided comprehensive school for pupils aged between 11 and
16, formed in 1973 from two former church secondary schools, the
Bluecoat foundation, dating back to 1710 and the Bishop’s School, a
secondary modern school founded in 1958. It is now a Technology
College with a second specialism in Languages.
The Hereford Academy – A high school for pupils aged between 11 and
19. It was known as Haywood High School in the late seventies until
2006, when it was renamed as Wyebridge Sports College. As of 1
September 2009 it was renamed The '
Hereford Academy'. It has been,
like Whitecross High School, re-classified as a 'Sports College'. The
Academy's new building opened in September 2011, and the demolition of
the old school site, making way for new playing fields to be laid out,
was completed in Spring 2012.
Hereford Cathedral School – A co-educational independent school and
sixth form, and a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses'
Conference. The earliest existing records date from 1384 though it is
likely that a school was associated with the cathedral from its
foundation in the late 7th century. HCS, together with HCJS (see
below) educates the choristers for
Hereford Cathedral Choir.
St Marys RC High School – A Roman Catholic Comprehensive School for
boys and girls aged 11–16. The school primarily serves the Catholic
Herefordshire and is situated in a very attractive
rural location close to the River Lugg, a few miles to the east of the
Hereford in the village of Lugwardine.
Whitecross Hereford High School – A specialist Sports College, which
moved to a brand new PFI building in June 2006. The college for pupils
aged between 11 and 16 aims to use the new facility to provide the
best high school education for its pupils in the topic of Sports &
Primary schools in the city include
Hereford Cathedral Junior School,
a co-educational independent school.
Hereford Cathedral Junior School
Hereford Cathedral School, part of the ancient Hereford
Cathedral Foundation dating back to 676. The Junior School was founded
as an independent school in 1898. The City's other primary schools
are: Lord Scudamore Academy, St James C of E, St Francis Xavier R.C,
Trinity, Holmer C of E, Marlbrook, Riverside, St Martin's, Broadlands,
Riverside, Hampton Dene and St Paul's C of E.
Health and social care
In early 2008,
Herefordshire Council and NHS
Herefordshire became the
first local authority and
Primary Care Trust
Primary Care Trust to form a new kind of
The major hospital in
Hereford is the
Hereford County Hospital.
Ambulance services are provided by the West Midlands
NHS Trust. The Midlands Air
Ambulance charity provides air ambulance
services across Herefordshire.
A private national firm operates a hospital in Hereford, and the city
is well populated with council-funded, private and charity based
nursing, residential and other elderly care homes and facilities.
Society and culture
Farming has played a major part in the history of the county of
Herefordshire, and for many years the City of
Hereford was the
epicentre, playing host to the
Cattle Market; a major market site.
With the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak the market suffered with trade
reduced. Established by Act of Parliament, the market had to be
provided, and so a Bill was introduced in 2003 to move the site to
the outskirts of the city. The inner city site would then be available
for redevelopment, a process that has now finished.
Cattle Market opened its doors in August 2011 on the
site just outside the city and has already proved so successful
that trading and business is up on the previous site's record.
Classical composer Sir
Edward Elgar lived in
Hereford from 1904 to
1911. His association with the city is commemorated with this statue
on the Cathedral Close.
The annual Three Choirs Festival, originating in the 18th century and
one of the oldest music festivals in the British Isles, is held in
Hereford every third year, the other venues being
Edward Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn, Eign Hill, in Hereford
between 1904 and 1911, writing some of his most famous works during
that time. He is commemorated with a statue on the Cathedral Close.
One of his
Enigma Variations was inspired by a bulldog named Dan
falling into the
River Wye at Hereford, and the dog is similarly
honoured with a wooden statue beside the river. Not long after moving
into the city he was (despite not being a city council member) offered
but declined the office of mayor of the city. He also visited the city
as a conductor at the Three Choirs Festival, the last occasion in 1933
prior to his death.
Hereford is home to the
Hereford Police Male Voice Choir who competed
on the BBC TV show "Last Choir Standing", and the Railway Choir.
A charity music school is also based in Hereford.
The hymn tune ‘Hereford’ was written by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
(1810-1876). He was an organist at
Hereford Cathedral (1832-1835).
This tune is often sung to the words ‘O Thou who camest from
Herefordshire Art Week, is an annual county-wide exhibition
held in September, displaying the work of local artists. Many
places usually closed to the public are opened during this week, such
as the Bishop's Palace at the Cathedral.
Walenty Pytel has had studios in
1963 after training at
Hereford College of Art.
There is a statue of a Bronze
Hereford bull designed by Brian
Alabaster ARBS in front of The Old House
The troops of the fictional commando squad Rainbow were based at RAF
Hereford, as detailed in the novel Rainbow Six.
The action of the fictional novels Shades of Grey and The last
Jasper Fforde take place in Hereford.
Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series of supernatural and mystery
novels is set in and around Hereford.
Comedy writer Aaron Gillies began writing using
Twitter while working
as a sound technician at The Courtyard.
The local radio stations are Free Radio (formerly known as Wyvern FM)
which broadcasts on 97.6-96.7-102.8 FM, Sunshine Radio on 106.2 FM,
Worcester which broadcasts on 94.7FM, Like Radio Like
Music, Like Radio. Digital Radio Station available on DAB, Online and
On The Go. The station covers Herefordshire, Worcestershire,
Gloucester, Cheltenham and Birmingham.
Hereford is briefly mentioned, though mispronounced, in Ronin as a
ploy by Sam (Robert De Niro) to expose Spence (Sean Bean) as a liar.
The City is mentioned in the video game
Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and in the
television show Peep Show.
Hereford Times is the weekly newspaper. The '
ceased publication on 11 June 2014. The
Hereford admag is a free
title, delivered to households across the city and surrounding rural
Local TV content is currently provided by
BBC Midlands Today
BBC Midlands Today and ITV
The city's main theatre and cultural venue is the Courtyard Centre for
the Arts which was opened in 1998, replacing the New
There is also a multi screen Odeon cinema in the Old Market precinct.
MFA Bowl (formerly known as TGS), home to a
Ten Pin Bowling
Ten Pin Bowling alley and
Mini Golf course is located near the railway station.
There is also a dedicated Skatepark on Holmer Road.
Hereford claims to be the birthplace of Nell Gwyn, 17th-century
actress and mistress of King Charles II of England.
John Kemble, Catholic priest and martyr, was born near Hereford.
David Garrick and Sarah Siddons, actors and actresses, are
all historical figures popularly associated with Hereford.
Major-General Stringer Lawrence, first commander-in-chief of British
troops in India, under whose command Robert Clive served, was born in
Gilbert Harding was born there when his father was master
of the local workhouse, as was contemporary actress Beryl Reid.
The original lineup of The Pretenders, with the exception of lead
singer Chrissie Hynde, were from Hereford, as were the rock band Mott
Frank Oz, puppeteer for
The Muppets and
Star Wars was born in
Hereford and lived there for the first five years of his life.
Connor Wickham was born in the city.
Ellie Goulding, pop singer and songwriter was born in Hereford.
Hereford is the current home of television personality, Wincey Willis.
William Spiggot declared before his execution to the
Ordinary's Accounts of
Newgate Prison in
London that he was the
son of an innkeeper from Hereford.
Tourism and attractions
Hereford Cathedral is home to the
Hereford Mappa Mundi, a map of the
known world from the late 13th century.
The Old House, Hereford
The Old House, Hereford is an historic black and white house in the
centre of High Town in
Hereford City. It is now a museum about life in
Jacobean era of the 1600s when it was built.
Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, housed in a Victorian Gothic
building and opened in 1874, presents artefacts, fine art, and
decorative art associated with the local area.
Cider Museum is in the City, with a shop, and an
interactive guide to producing the drink. It is a registered Charity
Trust founded in the early 1970s by people who wanted to record the
past, and also the disappearing traditional art of cider making that
had been practiced for generations on the farms in the "Cider
Counties". Situated in an old cider factory, it opened in 1980 and
1981.[which?] In the spring/summer a
Cider festival is held, started
in the mid-1980s, by the Friends of the Museum with the advice of Long
Ashton Research station near Bristol. It has a display of named cider
apples, and the apples are pressed in the old way. The Museum holds in
its Pomological Archive, a number of records pertaining to apples and
Violette Szabo Museum is located outside of
Hereford city in a
village called Wormelow.
Hereford Cathedral dates from 1079 and contains the Mappa Mundi, a
medieval map of the world dating from the 13th century which was
restored in the late 20th century. It also contains the world-famous
Holme Lacy House, now a hotel for a national chain, was built by John
Scudamore in the 1500s. It has played host to famous historical
figures in its time.
Several festivals are hosted in
Hereford including the
Beer on the Wye
Hereford Food Festival, and the Three Choirs Festival
France (since 1994)
Hereford United F.C.
Railways in Hereford
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