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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 51°47′42″N 0°04′41″W / 51.795°N 0.078°W / 51.795; -0.078

Parliament Square, Hertford Town Centre
Hertford is located in Hertfordshire

 Hertford shown within Hertfordshire
Population 24,180  (2001 Census)
OS grid reference TL325125
    - London  19.2 mi (30.9 km) S 
District East Hertfordshire
Shire county Hertfordshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HERTFORD
Postcode district SG13, SG14
Dialling code 01992
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Hertford and Stortford
List of places: UK • England • Hertfordshire

Hertford (pronounced /ˈhɑrtfərd/ or /ˈhɑrfərd/) is the county town of Hertfordshire, England, and is in the East Hertfordshire district of the county. In 2006 East Hertfordshire was ranked within the top 10 places to live in the UK following a survey commissioned by the Channel 4 TV station. Forming a civil parish, the 2001 census put the population of Hertford at about 24,180.[1] Recent estimates are that it is now around 28,000. The name is Anglo Saxon and means the ford frequented by harts or stags. The town of Meryton in the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice is thought to have been based on Hertford.[2]



The Council of Hertford met in the year 673 at the instigation of Archbishop Theodore of Tarsus. The site of the synod is not known.[3] It was at this meeting that the Roman and Celtic churches came to an agreement on the date to celebrate Easter.

Since 1974, Hertford has been within the East Hertfordshire district of Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire County Council's main base is at County Hall in Hertford. East Herts District Council's offices almost adjoin County Hall, and there is also a Hertford Town Council based at 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 follows the medieval layout with many timber-framed buildings hidden under later frontages, particularly in St Andrew Street. 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 for 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

Nearby Hertford


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 brewers in the United Kingdom. Many residents commute to work in London.

In comparison with neighbouring towns Hertford has suffered from the absence of 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 plans to build a new store on part of the McMullens Brewery site. The local branch of Woolworths closed for good on 27 December 2008, after the collapse of that store chain. There are very few of the usual chain shops found in most high streets and this makes Hertford stand out from other "clone towns". There is a high number of independent shops in the town with a variety of boutiques and salons.


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. The radical politician John Wilkes was educated in Hertford. Samuel Stone was a 17th century Puritan Minister who established the American town of Hartford, Connecticut (with Thomas Hooker). He was born in July 1602, and lived in Fore Street, Hertford. He was baptised at All Saints Church. Much more recently, the band Deep Purple formed in Hertford in 1968. Harry Potter film star Rupert Grint 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 before leaving after his GCSE exams in 2004. Other famous students at Richard Hale School are listed on that school's page.


  • In the town are the remains of the original Hertford Castle, 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 Hertford Town Council. The Motte, from the original 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. In the northern suburb of Bengeo lies St Leonard's, a two-celled Norman church of considerable architectural interest.
  • In Railway Street can be found the oldest purpose-built Quaker Meeting House in the world, in use since 1670.
  • The Parliament of England temporarily moved to Hertford during the Great Plague of London. This is why the main square in the town, Parliament Square, is so named, although it is a twentieth century creation.
  • The home of Alfred Russel Wallace (see above), now named Wallace House, can be found at 11 St. Andrew St. and is marked with a plaque.[4]
  • Built in 1779 the Shire Hall was designed by Robert Adam.[5] The ground floor houses Court Rooms.
  • The 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 entertainment venue.[6]
  • In Cowbridge there is a Prince Albert Cottage.[7] The first of these cottages were 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 and financing.




Hertford serves as a commuter town for London, and has two stations :


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 A1, St Albans and the M1. Hertford also lies just west of the A10 and the Kingsmead Viaduct which links it south to London and the M25 and north to Royston and Cambridge.

Bus and coach

For all bus and coach timetables see here.


There are numerous schools in Hertford: these include the The Sele School, Richard Hale School and Simon Balle School at secondary level, with primaries of Hollybush JMI, Millmead Community School, Bengeo County Primary School, Morgans JMI, Abel Smith School,Wheatcroft School,St Andrew's School and St. Josephs RC School.

Private schools include St. Joseph's In The Park, Duncombe School (a preparatory school in Bengeo) and Haileybury College in Hertford Heath.


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,[8] and around 35 restaurants, takeaways and snack bars.[9] Hertford also hosts swimming pool and gym facilities, and has also recently acquired a small skatepark, based in Hartham Common.


Town twinning


  1. ^ "Office for National Statistics, 2001 Census, Key Statistics for HCC settlements. Usual resident population (numbers)". 
  2. ^ Deirdre Le Faye, Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels, 2003, ISBN 0711222789, p. 179: "... and it can be deduced later on that Meryton is, in fact, Hertford ..."
  3. ^ History of Hertford, F. M. Page, Hertford Town Council, Hertford, 1959 (2nd edition, 1993), ISBN 0-952-2390-0-0, page 16
  4. ^ Wallace’s House
  5. ^ Shire Hall, Hertford
  6. ^ The Corn Exchange
  7. ^ Victoria and Albert Museum information on Prince Albert Cottages
  8. ^ Hertford.Net pub list
  9. ^ Hertford.Net restaurant list
  10. ^ Guardian article on Hertford and the Holy Grail
  11. ^ news June 2006,

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Hertford (disambiguation).

Hertford is the country town of Hertfordshire in England and has a population of around 25,000. It lies 20 miles directly north of London.

Get in

Despite its relatively small size, Hertford is blessed with two railway stations. Hertford East has regular services from London's Liverpool Street station, while Hertford North connects up with Moorgate in the "City" of London as well as with the main King's Cross station. Journey time around 45 minutes.

By road, it is just 45 minutes from Stansted Airport and can be reached from London Gatwick and London Heathrow via the M25 London ring road.

Get around

Hertford has a small town centre and everything can be seen by walking around.


Points of interest include:

  • Hertford Castle, which goes back to 900, although there is little remaining. The existing building is now government offices.
  • The Quaker Meeting House, the oldest purpose-built one in the world (in Railway Street), in use since 1670.
  • The home of Alfred Russel Wallace, who proposed the theory of natural selection more or less at the same time as Charles Darwin, can be found at 11 St. Andrew St. and is marked with a plaque.
  • The Shire Hall which was built in 1779 and designed by the noted architect, Robert Adam.
  • Walk along the rivers. Hertford is at the confluence of four rivers, with the Rivers Beane, Mimram and Rib flowing into the River Lea and forming a navigable canal at Hertford.


Hertford is a noted centre for shops selling antiques.

  • Loch Fyne, 130 Fore Street, 01992 585440. 12:00 - 22:00. In the center of town. Part of a chain of 49 restaurants in the UK, offering kippers, kiln-roasted salmon fillet, oysters, well-aged rib-eye steak and smoked venison, to name but a few. £25.  edit


The town is well supplied with public houses.

  • Master's House, 88-96 Fore Street, 01992 660 660 (, fax: 01992 510931), [1]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 11.00. 14 individually decorated rooms right in the centre of town. Fair restaurant with extensive wine list. £90-150.  edit
  • White Horse Hotel, Hertingfordbury Road, Hertingfordbury (One mile west of Hertford, turn left at the roundabout), 01992 586 791 (fax: 01992 550 809), [2]. 42 room hotel of the Aquarius chain in a quiet village close to Hertford. £55 per room and up.  edit

Get out

The surrounding villages are very attractive and very affluent as the area forms part of London's commuter belt.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun


  1. The county town of Hertfordshire


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