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High Street, Buntingford.jpg
Buntingford is located in Hertfordshire
Population 5,378 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference TL363292
Civil parish
  • Buntingford
  • East Hertfordshire
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SG9
Dialling code 01763
Police Hertfordshire
Fire Hertfordshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
  • North East Hertfordshire
List of places
51°56′40″N 0°00′58″W / 51.9445°N 0.0160°W / 51.9445; -0.0160

Buntingford is a market town and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire and county of Hertfordshire in England. It lies next to the River Rib and is located on the historic Roman road, Ermine Street. As a result of its location, it grew mainly as a staging post with many coaching inns and has an 18th-century one-cell prison known as The Cage, by the ford at the end of Church Street. It has a population of 5,378, as of the 2011 UK Census.


Buntingford was traditionally located within the parish of Layston - St Bartholomew's Church (Layston) is now derelict and lies about half a mile to the north-east of the town. St Peter's Church, formerly a relief chapel, is the Anglican church in Buntingford and is an almost unique brick building from the age of the 17th-century Puritans. St Richard's serves the Roman Catholic community. There is also a United Reformed Church in Baldock Road. Queen Elizabeth I stayed at Buntingford in a building now called the Bell House Gallery, on a coach journey to Cambridge. Just up the High Street, The Angel Inn (now a dental surgery) was a staging post catering for coaches travelling from London to Cambridge.

The name of the town is believed to originate from the Saxon chieftain or tribe Bunta; it does not refer to the bird Bunting, or the festive flag-like decorations.


Market day is Monday, and early closing Wednesday. The Buntingford Carnival is held every other year. There is also a classic car event held in the town each year, usually in the early autumn.

The town has a number of public houses - The Brambles (formerly The Chequers), The Fox and Duck, The Black Bull, The Crown and The Jolly Sailors.

The 'World Sausage Tossing Championship' has taken place at The Countryman Inn, in Chipping near Buntingford, every August since 2014.


Buntingford railway station, opened in 1863, was closed in 1964, under the Beeching cuts. This was the terminus for the Buntingford Branch Line. Recently it has been redeveloped into housing.

Twin towns

  • France Luynes, France
  • Spain Ólvega, Spain


Buntingford is home to various independent shops, restaurants and pubs mainly located in the town's high street. Buntingford has a Co-op food supermarket and a Sainsbury's Local. Just outside the town are two BP fuel stations at each end of the bypass. The town was previously home to the Sainsbury's Anglia Distribution Centre, but this was vacated and eventually knocked down for housing in 2014. The site had previously been used as a Royal Army Ordnance Corps munitions factory, known locally as "the Dump". Team BMR and Triple Eight Racing, two major UK auto racing teams, are based in the town.


Buntingford is one of two towns in Hertfordshire using a three-tier school system (the other being Royston). In this system, children are educated in first schools until they enter middle school in Year Five, after which they join upper school in Year Nine, remaining there until the completion of sixth form. This system was enacted in Buntingford in 1969 by order of the county council.

First and middle schools

There is currently one middle school and two first schools, with a third opening in September 2022:

  • Layston Church of England First School is a mixed Church of England first school with voluntary controlled status, situated at The Causeway, Buntingford. It is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of St Albans and was preceded by two schools: Buntingford National School for Boys and Adams' Memorial School for Girls & Infants, opening in 1845 and 1879 respectively. Layston has had an Ofsted grading of outstanding since 2009 and has a pupil population of 149, with a capacity for 150.
  • Millfield First and Nursery School is a mixed community first school with nursery education, situated at Monks Walk, Buntingford. The school has had an Ofsted grading of outstanding since 2009 and has a pupil population of 341, with a capacity for 352. Animals, including a dog, are included in the school's staff team.
  • Buntingford First School (BFS) is a new mixed first school with academy status that is planned to open on the grounds of Edwinstree C of E Middle School in September 2022, before moving to its own building at London Road, Buntingford, in Easter 2023. The school is part of the Scholars Education Trust and is expected to be Hertfordshire's first net zero school. It will have a pupil capacity of 300.
  • Buntingford's only middle school is Edwinstree Church of England Middle School. It is a mixed Church of England voluntary controlled school situated at Norfolk Road, Buntingford, under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of St Albans. Edwinstree has had an Ofsted grading of good since 2018, previously being graded as requiring improvement since 2016 and, before that, outstanding since 2008. It has a pupil population of 477, with a capacity for 480.

Secondary education

Freman College, Buntingford - - 471675
Freman College pictured in 2007

Buntingford currently has one upper school, Freman College (formerly Ward Freman School). The school is a mixed upper school and sixth form with academy status, situated at Bowling Green Lane, Buntingford, under the control of its own single-academy trust. It was established in either 1970 or 1971 as an 11 to 16 comprehensive school, replacing the Buntingford Secondary Modern School which was established between both world wars. It was named after Bishop Seth Ward and Elizabeth Freman of the Freman family as both were benefactors of Buntingford's old grammar school that closed in 1900. Previously a foundation school, Freman converted to academy status in 2011, being one of the first schools to do so. It has had an Ofsted grading of good since 2006 and has a student population of 961, with a capacity for 903.

A grade II listed house situated at Layston Court 20, High Street, was formerly used as the building and master's house for Buntingford Grammar School until 1877. Buntingford Grammar School was Buntingford's first secondary school, having been built by its endower, Elizabeth Freman, between 1630 and 1633 for 25 schoolboys and a master. It was a two-storey building, with the attic being added at a later date sometime before 1830. The school was endowed again in 1684 by former pupil Seth Ward, who had become the Bishop of Salisbury, and Lady Jane Barkham. After its disuse in 1877, the building was modified into a house. The Town Council took ownership of the rest of the school's site and have preserved it as a park. The school itself survived elsewhere until 1900.

Notable people


  • Twin first-class cricketers Herbert and Charles Pigg (1856–1913 and 1929 respectively) were born in Buntingford.
  • Professional footballer Nathan Tella (born 1999) went to Edwinstree C of E Middle School and Freman College.


  • Archbishop of Westminster Arthur Hinsley (1865–1943) died at his country retreat, the Hare Street House, which is located between Buntingford and Great Hormead.
  • Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol James Henry Monk (1784–1856) was born in Buntingford.
  • Bishop of Salisbury Seth Ward (1617–1689) was a pupil and benefactor of Buntingford Grammar School and gave his name to Ward Freman School.


  • Liberal Democrat and former Conservative politician Sam Gyimah (born 1976) did his GCSEs and A-Levels at Freman College.
  • Liberal Party politician Walter Wren (1833–1872) was born in Buntingford and went to school there.
  • Local politician Harold Herbert Williams (1880–1964) lived in Buntingford.
  • Alderman and merchant John Watts (1554–1616) was born in Buntingford.


  • The music hall and pantomime performer Ouida MacDermott (1889–1980) lived and died at Nevetts Old People's Home in Buntingford.
  • Television presenter and dating agent Anna Williamson (born 1981) went to Freman College.
  • Sculptor Reginald Butler (1913–1981) was born in Buntingford.
  • Inventor and engineer William Stanley (1829–1909) lived in Buntingford.
  • British Indian Army officer and engineer Sir Frederick Abbott (1805–1892) was born in Buntingford.
  • South Australian magistrate and newspaper editor Jefferson Stow (1830–1908) was born in Buntingford.

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