Hertford (/ˈhɑːrtfərd/ HART-fərd, locally /ˈhɑːrfərd/
HAR-fərd) is the county town of Hertfordshire, England, and is also a
civil parish in the East
Hertfordshire district of the county. Forming
a civil parish, the 2011 census put the population of
6 Sport and leisure
9.3 Bus and coach
12 Town twinning
14 External links
The earliest reference to the town appears in the Ecclesiastical
History of the English People, written by
Bede in 731 AD, which refers
to "Herutford". "Herut" is the
Old English spelling of "hart", meaning
a fully mature stag; thus the meaning of the name is a ford where
harts are found. The
Domesday Book of 1086 gives a spelling of
Hertford has been the county town of
when it was governed by the king's reeves. By the 13th century, the
reeves had been replaced by a bailiff, elected by the burgesses.
Charters of 1554 and 1589 established a common council of eleven chief
burgesses and a bailiff. Another charter of 1605 changed the bailiff's
title to mayor. In 1835,
Hertford became a Municipal Corporation; the
ratepayers elected twelve councillors, who chose four aldermen,
aldermen and councillors composing the council. This body elected the
Hertford has been within the East
of Hertfordshire.The headquarters of
Hertfordshire County Council is
at County Hall in Hertford. East Herts District Council's offices
almost adjoin County Hall, and there is also a
Hertford Town Council
Hertford Castle (see "Landmarks", below).
Hertford is at the confluence of four river valleys: the Rib, Beane
and Mimram join the
River Lea at
Hertford to flow south toward the
Thames as the Lee Navigation, after
Hertford Castle Weir.The shared
valley of the Lea and the Beane is called
Hartham Common and this
provides a large park to one side of the town centre running towards
Ware and lying below the ridge upon which
Bengeo is situated.
The town centre still has its medieval layout with many timber-framed
buildings hidden under later frontages, particularly in St Andrew
Hertford suffers from traffic problems despite the existence
of the 1960s A414 bypass called Gascoyne Way which passes close to the
town centre. Plans have long existed to connect the A10 with the A414,
by-passing the town completely. Nevertheless, the town retains very
much a country-town feel, despite lying only 19.2 miles (30.9 km)
north of Central London. This is aided by its proximity to larger
towns such as Harlow,
Bishop's Stortford and
Stevenage where modern
development has been focused.
Suburbs and estates
Possibly the first mention of the town was in 673 A.D.: the first
synod of a number of the bishops in
England was held either in
Hertford or at Hartford, Cambridgeshire. It was called by Theodore
of Tarsus; decisions included the calculation of the date of
Easter. In 912 AD,
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder built two burhs (earthwork
fortifications) close by the ford over the
River Lea as a defence
against Danish incursions. By the time of the Domesday Book, Hertford
had two churches, two markets and three mills. The Normans began work
Hertford Castle, and
Hertford Priory was founded by Ralph de
Limesy. King Henry II rebuilt the castle in stone, but in 1216,
during the First Barons' War, it was besieged and captured after 25
days by Prince Louis of France. The castle was regularly visited by
English royalty and in 1358, Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II, died
there. The priory was dissolved in 1536 and subsequently demolished
and in 1563, the Parliament of
England met at the castle because of an
outbreak of plague in London.
Hertford grew and prospered as a market
and county town; communication was improved by the construction of the
Lea Navigation Canal in 1767 and the arrival of the railway in
1843. The Port Hill drill hall was completed in 1898 and Yeomanry
House was brought into military use in 1910.
Hertfordshire County Hall in Hertford
A fair amount of employment in the town is centred on County Hall
Hertfordshire County Council), Wallfields (East Hertfordshire
District Council) and
McMullens Brewery, one of a dwindling number of
independent pre-1970 family brewers in the United Kingdom. Many
residents commute to work in London.
Hertford differs from neighbouring towns as it lacks a modern shopping
development (mall). However, it has most of the usual supermarkets. A
Tesco store occupies part of the former
Christ's Hospital Bluecoat
Girls School, which closed down in 1985.
Sainsburys opened a new store
on part of the
McMullens Brewery site in June 2012. A Waitrose
occupied a reasonably large store in the Bircherley Green Shopping
area that closed on 12 September 2017. The local branch of Woolworths
closed for good on 27 December 2008, after the collapse of that store
chain. There are fewer of the usual chain shops found in most high
streets and this makes
Hertford stand out from other "clone towns".
There are a high number of independent shops in the town, with a
variety of boutiques and salons.
Sport and leisure
Hertford has a leisure centre on Hartham Common.
There is a
Non-League football club
Hertford Town F.C., which plays at
Hertford Town Youth FC, a FA Charter Standard
AwardFA Charter Standard Football Club, play at County Hall Playing
Fields, situated next to the headquarters of
Council at County Hall in Hertford. Other clubs surrounding the
town include Bury Rangers,
Hertford Heath Youth FC and
Football Club (an award-winning FA Charter Standard Community
Hertford Cricket Club is an English amateur cricket club, located in
Hertford, the county town of Hertfordshire.
Cricket records for a
Hertford club go back a far as 1825, however the club in its present
form has been in existence since 1860. The club plays its matches at
Balls park, Hertford.
Deep Purple formed in
Hertford in 1968.
Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace who proposed a theory of natural selection at
the same time as
Charles Darwin lived in
Hertford between the ages of
five and thirteen and attended
Hertford Grammar School.
John Wilkes, the radical politician, was educated in Hertford.
Alfred Alexander Burt
Alfred Alexander Burt VC, soldier in the Hertfordshire
Regiment who was born and lived in Hertford. He was awarded the
Victoria Cross for his valour on 27 September 1915 during the Battle
Captain W E Johns, Writer of the
Biggles books was born in Bengeo,
Hertford Grammar School and lived in Hertford.
The statue of Samuel Stone
Samuel Stone, Puritan minister who established the American town of
Connecticut with Thomas Hooker. He lived in Fore Street,
Hertford and was baptised at All Saints Church. There is a statue
commemorating him, close to the
Jane Wenham was tried at the
Assizes for witchcraft in 1712.
The jury found her guilty, one of the last in
England to be convicted
of this offence. Judge Powell had no choice but to condemn her to
death, but through his influence she was later given a Royal
Jack Trevor Story, the author of "The Trouble with Harry" and other
works, was born in
Hertford in 1917.
Rupert Grint, the Harry Potter film star, comes from Hertford, and
although he now lives outside the county town, he lived within
Hertford when filming began on the Harry Potter series. He attended
Richard Hale School
Richard Hale School before leaving after his GCSE exams in 2004. Other
famous pupils at
Richard Hale School
Richard Hale School are listed on that school's page.
Thomas Cowley/Colley, who was an Irish Gentry.
Dani Filth, singer of
Cradle of Filth
Cradle of Filth was born in Hertford, but grew
up in Ipswich.
George Ezra was born and grew up in Hertford, attending Simon
International rugby union players
Robbie Morris & Jamie George.
Church of Saint Leonard, Bengeo
In the town are the remains of the original
principally a motte. The castle's gatehouse, the central part of which
dates to a rebuild by Edward IV in 1463, is the home to
Council. The Motte, from the original
Motte and Bailey
Motte and Bailey castle in
Hertford, can be found just behind Castle Hall, a short distance from
the modern castle.
There are several churches in the town, All Saints', and St Andrew's,
are late and mid 19th century respectively, although both stand on the
sites of medieval places of worship. In the northern suburb of
Bengeo lies St Leonard's, a two-celled Norman church of considerable
In Railway Street can be found the oldest purpose-built
House in the world, in use since 1670.
Quaker Meeting House
The Parliament of
England temporarily moved to
Hertford during a
plague outbreak in
London in 1563. This is why the main square in
the town, Parliament Square, is so named, although it is a
The home of
Alfred Russel Wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace (see above), now named Wallace
House, can be found at 11 St. Andrew St. and is marked with a
Built in 1779, the Shire Hall was designed by Robert Adam. The
ground floor houses Court Rooms.
Hertford Corn Exchange was built on the site of a former gaol.
After years in the doldrums it has now reverted to being a live
The Prince Albert Cottage
In Cowbridge, there is a Prince Albert Cottage. The first of these
cottages was originally built in Hyde Park by the Society for
Improving the Condition of the Labouring Classes in 1851 at the time
of the Great Exhibition. Prince Albert was involved in their design
Hertford Museum is housed in a 17th-century historic town house, with
a Jacobean-style knot garden.
A stained-glass window in St Andrew's Church is part of a fringe
theory that links
Hertford to the
Knights Templar and the Holy
Hertford East railway station
Hertford serves as a commuter town for London, and has two
Hertford East (on the
Hertford East Branch Line) provides a
half-hourly service to
London Liverpool Street (taking 52 minutes),
via Tottenham Hale. The line is operated by Greater Anglia.
Hertford North (on the
Hertford Loop Line) has a service every 20
minutes off-peak to
Moorgate station (taking 50 minutes), via
Finsbury Park (change for King's Cross) and hourly northwards to
Stevenage (for onward connections via the East Coast Main Line) and
Letchworth (change for Cambridge). Services are operated by Great
The A414 main road now bypasses the town centre to the south and runs
east to Harlow, the M11 and
Chelmsford and runs west to Hatfield, the
St Albans and the M1.
Hertford also lies just west of the A10 and
Kingsmead Viaduct which links it south to
London and the M25 and
north to Royston and Cambridge.
Bus and coach
The town's bus services are run by a number of companies, most running
from the bus station on Bircherley Green, destinations include
Bishop's Stortford, Royston,
Stevenage and Waltham Cross. Many of
these routes receive subsidies from
Hertfordshire County Council.
The town also lies on the 724 coach route (operated by Arriva the
Shires) which provides an hourly service from
Harlow through the town
and on to Hatfield,
Welwyn Garden City, St Albans,
Although bypassed by most National Express routes
Hertford (Mill Road)
is served by the 767 service which operates from
Stansted Airport via
Leicester and Luton Airport.
For all bus and coach timetables see Intalink.
During the months of April to September a scheduled
between Bircheley Green Shopping centre,
Hertford and Ware priory.
Waterbus runs on Saturdays and Sundays only except in August when
it also runs on Thursdays and Fridays.
The bus takes in the
Floodplain along the
River Lea and has a total
journey time between 75–90 minutes.
Waterbus is accessible to all and has two toilets one of which has
disabled access. Refreshments are available on the Boat and there is
also a licensed bar on board. The Boat can accommodate 60 passengers
on each journey and people with Pushchairs, Wheelchairss and well
behaved Dogs are welcome aboard.
Tickets for the
Waterbus can be purchased on the day depending on
availability. Tickets can also be purchased online.
There are numerous schools in Hertford: these include the Sele School,
Richard Hale School
Richard Hale School and
Simon Balle School
Simon Balle School at secondary level, with
primaries of Hollybush JMI, Millmead Community School, Bengeo
Primary School, Morgans Primary School & Nursery, Abel
Smith School (named after banker and MP Abel Smith (1788–1859)),
St Andrew's School and St. Josephs RC School and Wheatcroft
Private schools include St. Joseph's in the Park, Duncombe
School, (a preparatory school in Bengeo) and
Haileybury College in
Special needs schools include Pinewood and Myddleton.
Former schools include The Pines JMI school which was built on the
Pinehurst estate in 1977 and closed in 2003.
Hertford Theatre, previously known as Castle Hall, is a modern
theatre, cinema and art gallery complex at The Wash in the town
Hertford Corn Exchange is a building where
entertainment such as comedy and art exhibitions take place. Hertford
has many food, drink and entertainment establishments which have grown
in number considerably since the eighties and nineties. It attracts
people from nearby towns, and often the North
London suburbs. There
are approximately 25 pubs and clubs in the area, and around 35
restaurants, takeaways and snack bars.
Hertford also benefits from
public swimming pool and gym facilities and a small skatepark, all
situated on Hartham Common.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United Kingdom
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
^ "Town population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for
National Statistics. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
^ "2011 Census – Unrounded Total Resident Population Estimate by Sex
(count) – Large Settlements – Tabular Data View".
Hertfordshire Local Information System (HertsLIS).
Retrieved 1 June 2015.
^ Skeat, Reverend Professor Walter William (1904), The Place-names of
Hertfordshire, East Herts Archaeological Society (p. 27)
Domesday Book – Contents – Hertfordshire".
www.domesdaybook.co.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
^ Munby, Lionel M. (1977) The
Hertfordshire Landscape, p. 91. Hodder
and Stoughton, London. ISBN 0-340-04459-4
^ a b Hertford.net Archived 10 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Hertford.net Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "Hertford". The drill hall project. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
Hertford Town Youth Football Club". www.hertfordtownyouth.co.uk.
Retrieved 22 September 2017.
^  Hertford's
Victoria Cross winner', Retrieved: 20 September 2012
^ Hertford.net Archived 13 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
Hertford Timeline Archived 22 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Wallace's House[permanent dead link]
^ Shire Hall, Hertford
^ The Corn Exchange Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Victoria and Albert Museum information on Prince Albert Cottages
^ Guardian article on
Hertford and the Holy Grail
^ Intalink.org.uk Archived 6 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
Hertford & Ware Waterbus :: Discover Hertford".
hertford.net. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
Waterbus Cruise – Lee & Stort Boat Co Ltd".
www.leeandstortboats.co.uk. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
Hertford Theatre". www.hertfordtheatre.com/. Hertford
Theatre. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
^ Hertford.net Archived 16 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine., pub
^ Hertford.net Archived 2 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.,
^ a b Hertford.gov.uk
^ "British towns twinned with French towns [via WaybackMachine.com]".
Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July
2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hertford.
Hertford Town Council
Hertfordshire County Council[permanent dead link]
Ceremonial county of Hertfordshire
Boroughs or districts
Borough of Broxbourne
Borough of Dacorum
District of East Hertfordshire
Borough of Hertsmere
District of North Hertfordshire
City and District of St Albans
Borough of Stevenage
District of Three Rivers
Borough of Watford
Welwyn Garden City
See also: List of civil parishes in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire County Council
European Parliament constituency
Settlements by population
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
King George V Playing Fields
Civil parishes of Hertfordshire
Nettleden with Potten End
Brent Pelham and Meesden
Buckland and Chipping
Eastwick and Gilston
Stanstead St Margarets
Elstree and Borehamwood
Caldecote and Newnham
Clothall and Luffenhall
Rushden and Wallington
St Paul's Walden
Letchworth Garden City
Ayot St Lawrence
Ayot St Peter
Northaw and Cuffley
Welwyn Garden City
List of places in Hertfordshire