infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Hereford
latitude= 52.0565
longitude= -2.7160
civil_parish= Hereford
population = 50,400 [cite web | url= | format= PDF | work= Hereford City Council | title= Area profile: Hereford city | accessdate=2007-12-10]
unitary_england= Herefordshire
region= West Midlands
lieutenancy_england= Herefordshire
constituency_westminster= Hereford
post_town= HEREFORD
postcode_area= HR
postcode_district= HR1
dial_code= 01432
os_grid_reference= SO515405
london_distance= 135.7m

static_image_caption=Hereford Cathedral and Wye Bridge

Hereford (Audio|En-uk-Hereford.ogg|pronunciation; IPAEng|ˈhɛrɨfəd) is a city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately convert|16|mi|km east of the border with Wales, convert|21|mi|km southwest of Worcester, and convert|23|mi|km northwest of Gloucester. With a population of 50,400 people, 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 crosing through 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 for Hereford is "Henffordd" (or "Henfordd").

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 Chained Library.

An early town charter from 1189 granted by Richard I of England describes it as 'Hereford in Wales'.cite web | url= | title= The Royal Charters of the City of Hereford | work= Hereford City Council | accessdate= 2007-12-10] Hereford has been recognised as a city since time immemorial, with the status being reconfirmed as recently as October 2000. [Beckett, J V (2005). "City status in the British Isles, 1830–2002", Historical urban studies. Aldershot: Ashgate.]

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 famous Hereford breed. The city was the home of the British Special Air Service (SAS) for many years, although the Regiment relocated to nearby Credenhill in the late 1990s

Hereford railway station opened in 1854 on the Welsh Marches Line.


Hereford was founded in around AD 700 and became the Saxon capital of West Mercia. The present Hereford Cathedral dates from the 12th century. Former Bishops of Hereford include Saint Thomas de Cantilupe and Lord High Treasurer of England Thomas Charlton.

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 that rivalled that of Windsor in size and scale and this was the 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 1700s and landscaped into Castle Green.

After the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses, the defeated Lancastrian leader Owen Tudor (father 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 executed himself, under a flag of truce, by Owen's son Jasper.

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 the 16th 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 in one other municipal authority - the City of London.

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 claim her as their own), and a street 'Gwynn Street' is named after her. Another famous actor born in Hereford is David Garrick (1717-1779).

Hereford is also home to the oldest inhabited building in Britain,Fact|date=February 2007 the Bishop's Palace, built in 1204 and continually used to the present day.

There have been plans for many years for a north-south bypass and currently the plan is for a nine-mile dual carriageway, however HM Government refuses to grant permission or supply funds.

In 2005, Hereford was granted Fairtrade City status. [cite web | url= | work= BBC News | title= Fairtrade status given in county | date= 6 March 2005 | accessdate= 2007-12-10]


The main local government body covering Hereford is Herefordshire Council. Hereford has a "City Council" but this is actually a parish council with city status, and has only limited powers.

Historically Hereford has been the county town of Herefordshire. In 1974 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. [Vision of Britain - [ Hereford MB] ] On 1 April 1998, the County of Hereford and Worcester was abolished, and Herefordshire and 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 in 2000. Hereford is one of only seven civil parishes in England which have city status.

The current member of the House of Commons for Hereford constituency is Paul Keetch.


Major employers include:
*Bulmers - Cider and alcoholic beverages producer []
*Special Metals Wiggin Ltd - Manufacturers of nickel alloys [cite web|url=|title=Special Metals Wiggin Ltd||accessdate=2008-08-16]
*Cargill Meats Europe - Manufacturers and suppliers of food products for retailers and foodservice operators [cite web|url=|title=Cargill Meats Europe||accessdate=2008-08-16]
*Painter Brothers - Manufacturers of galvanized steel towers including The Skylon [cite web|url=|title=Painter Brothers||accessdate=2008-08-16]


A major regeneration project is planned in Hereford city centre, known as the Edgar Street Grid. This covers an area of around 100 acres just north of the old city walls. Work is expected to start in 2010, and should take around 15 years to complete.


Hereford is home of Hereford United Football Club, best known for beating Newcastle in the FA Cup in 1972. They had a spell in the Football League from 1972 to 1997 reaching the second tier of English football in 1976, and were relegated to non-League status in 1997 before returning to beat Halifax Town A.F.C. 3-2 in the Nationwide Conference play-off final in 2005-06 to book a return to the Football League. They were again promoted, this time automatically, during the 2007-08 season.

Hereford also has successful [ rugby] and cricket teams.

Hereford has a thriving nine pin skittle league, formed on 24 October 1902 and today consisting of five divisions.

The Hereford Rowing Club uses the River Wye; it is a popular club with a strong junior group. The stretch of river is also used by universities and for other water sports.


Herefordshire is home to many colleges including five colleges in the city:
*Herefordshire College of Art - a publicly funded art school.
*Herefordshire College of Technology - the only higher education facility in the county, which recently acquired an off-campus facility.
*Hereford Sixth Form College - the Sixth Form college for the county.These three colleges are collectively known as the "Folly Lane colleges" and in late 2005 secured £28.4 million from the Learning and Skills Council to fund a new Learning Village, which would secure Further Education for the long term in a county that has no university. Herefordshire Council announced preliminary work would begin in early 2006, [BBC News (2005-12-12) [ "£28 m funding for city's colleges"] . Retrieved on 2007-04-20] though it was not until late November that the first phase began. [Anonymous (2006-11-23) [ "The sky’s the limit as work starts on learning village"] , "Hereford Times". Retrieved on 2007-04-20] A £2 million music and teaching block was opened at the Sixth Form College in April 2006.

Herefordshire is one of only three English counties not to have a university.

Other colleges are;
*The 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.
* [ Holme Lacy College] - an agricultural centre and part of the Pershore Group.
*National School of Blacksmithing-The oldest established Blacksmithing college in the UK, also the largest facility for training smiths in Europe.

It is also home to many schools including:
* [ Kingstone High School and Specialist Language College] .
* [ Aylestone School] - 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. Specializes in Business and Enterprise.

*The 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. A Technology College with a second specialism in Languages.

*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.
*Hereford Cathedral Junior School - A co-educational independent school. Hereford Cathedral Junior School is, with 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.
* [ Whitecross High School & Sports College] - 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 & Fitness.
* [ Wyebridge Sports College] for pupils aged between 11 and 16 was formed in 2006, it was formerly known as Haywood High School. It has been, like Whitecross High School, re-classified as a 'Sports College'. On September 1, 2009, it will cease to exist and all pupils will be transferred to the rolls of the newly created [ Hereford Academy] , which will be located on the Wyebridge site and sponsored by the Diocese of Hereford.

ociety and culture

The annual Three Choirs Festival, originating in the eighteenth century and one of the oldest music festivals in Europe, is held in Hereford every third year, the other venues being Gloucester and Worcester. The city's main theatre and cultural venue is the Courtyard Centre for the Arts which was opened in 1998, replacing the New Hereford Theatre. There is also a single screen Odeon cinema in Commercial Road, although the nearest multiplex facility is some distance away in Worcester.

The world famous composer Sir Edward Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn 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.

H.Art, or Herefordshire Art Week, is an annual county-wide exhibition held in September, displaying the work of local artists.

The original lineup of The Pretenders, with the exception of lead singer Chrissie Hynde, were from Hereford, as were the rock band Mott the Hoople. Actor and director Frank Oz was born in Hereford, and lived there for the first five years of his life.

The troops of the fictional commando squad Rainbow were based at RAF Hereford, as detailed in the novel Rainbow Six.

The Local radio stations are Wyvern FM which broadcasts on 97.6FM, Sunshine Radio on 106.2 FM and 954 kHz Am, and BBC Hereford and Worcester which broadcasts on 94.7FM.

Hereford is briefly mentioned in Ronin as a ploy by Sam (Robert De Niro) to expose Spence (Sean Bean) as a liar.

Grant Nicholas of the rock band 'Feeder' supposedly brought his first guitar from a shop in Hereford as a present for passing some exams from his parents.

Twin towns

Hereford is twinned with:
*flagicon|Germany Dillenburg, Germany
*flagicon|France Vierzon, France


External links

* [ The Hereford Times] Local paid for weekly newspaper for Hereford and surrounding areas
* [ Hereford City Council]
* [ Critique of Hereford in the Telegraph]

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