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Parliament Square, Hertford Town Centre
Hertford is located in Hertfordshire
Population 26,783  (2011 Census, parish)
OS grid reference TL325125
• London 19.2 mi (30.9 km) S
Civil parish
  • Hertford
  • East Hertfordshire
Shire county
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
51°47′48″N 0°04′38″W / 51.79662°N 0.07735°W / 51.79662; -0.07735

Hertford ( HART-fərd) is the county town of Hertfordshire, England, and is also a civil parish in the East Hertfordshire district of the county. The parish had a population of 26,783 at the 2011 census.

The town grew around a ford on the River Lea, near its confluences with the rivers Mimram, Beane, and Rib. The Lea is navigable from the Thames up to Hertford. Fortified settlements were established on each side of the ford at Hertford in 913 AD. The county of Hertfordshire was established at a similar time, being named after and administered from Hertford. Hertford Castle was built shortly after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and remained a royal residence until the early seventeenth century.

Hertfordshire County Council and East Hertfordshire District Council both have their main offices in the town and are major local employers, as is McMullen's Brewery, which has been based in the town since 1827. The town is also popular with commuters, being only 20 miles (32 km) north of central London and connected to it by two railway lines.


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 "Hertforde".


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 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 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.

Hartham Common


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 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 on 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.

Sport and leisure

Hertford has a leisure centre and swimming pool, skatepark, bowling green and tennis courts on Hartham Common.


There is a Non-League football club Hertford Town F.C., which plays at Hertingfordbury Park. Hertford Town Youth FC, a FA Charter Standard Football Club, play at County Hall Playing Fields, situated next to the headquarters of Hertfordshire County Council at County Hall in Hertford. Other clubs surrounding the town include Bury Rangers, Hertford Heath Youth FC and Bengeo Tigers Football Club (an award-winning FA Charter Standard Community Football Club.)


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. Currently the club runs five teams and all the teams play in the local league.


Quaker Sculpture - - 129737
The statue of Samuel Stone
  • Samuel Stone, Puritan minister who established the American town of Hartford, 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 Hertford Theatre.
  • Jane Wenham was tried at the Hertford 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 Pardon.
  • 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 before leaving after his GCSE exams in 2004. Other famous pupils at Richard Hale School are listed on that school's page.
  • Dani Filth, singer of Cradle of Filth was born in Hertford, but grew up in Ipswich.
  • Singer George Ezra was born and grew up in Hertford, attending Simon Balle School.
  • International rugby union players Robbie Morris & Jamie George.


  • 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, 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 architectural interest.
  • In Railway Street can be found the oldest purpose-built Quaker Meeting House in the world, in use since 1670.
Quaker Meeting House - Hertford England
Hertford 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 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.
  • Built in 1779, the Shire Hall was designed by Robert Adam. 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.
PrinceAlbertCottage Hertford
The Prince Albert Cottage



Hertford East railway station - - 208092
Hertford East railway station

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

  • Hertford East (on the Hertford East Branch Line) provides a half-hourly service to London Liverpool Street (taking 52 minutes), via Tottenham Hale (which takes 35 minutes). The line is operated by Greater Anglia.
  • Hertford North (on the Hertford Loop Line) has a service every 20 minutes off-peak to London Moorgate station, via Finsbury Park , (it takes 37 minutes to Finsbury Park station) (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 Northern. This service uses Class 717 trains.


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(M), 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 Intalink.


During the months of April to September a scheduled Waterbus operates between Bircheley Green Shopping centre, Hertford and Ware priory.

Town twinning


County Hall Hertford - - 83636
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. Sainsbury's 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.


Schools in Hertford include the Sele School, Richard Hale School and Simon Balle All-through 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 School.

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

Pinewood and Middleton Schools are special needs schools that are available in neighbouring Ware.

Former schools include The Pines JMI school which was built on the Pinehurst estate in 1977 and closed in 2003.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Hertford para niños

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