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Bishop's Stortford is a market town in east Hertfordshiremarker, Englandmarker, on the county boundary with Essex. It is situated just west of the M11 motorway, is the closest town to London Stansted Airportmarker , and is part of the London commuter belt. Bishop's Stortford is 29 miles north east of Charing Crossmarker in Central London. In the 2006 edition of the Channel 4 "Best and Worst Places to Live in the UK", East Hertfordshiremarker was the seventh best district to live in. The town has a population of about 35,000 (United Kingdom Census 2001) and is administered by the East Hertfordshiremarker district council.Bee

History

There was nothing of historical significance in the Bishop's Stortford area until it became a small Roman settlement on the Roman road of Stane Street between St Albansmarker and Colchestermarker. After the Roman Empire broke down, the small town was abandoned in the 5th century.

A new Saxon settlement grew up on the site. At that time, the settlement was known as Esterteferd , probably because a family called Estere owned or controlled the river ford around which the settlement was based. Over time, this became Stortford. In 1060, William, Bishop of London bought the Stortford manor and estate for eight pounds, and the town has been known as Bishop's Stortford ever since.

At the time of the Domesday book the town had a population of around 120 inhabitants. The Normans built a motte and bailey wooden castle in the town, but by the Tudor period it was in ruins (the mound still remains). Development of the town increased with the presence of a river and the roads. A weekly market was set up for farmers to sell their goods

Despite outbreaks of the plague in the 16th century and 17th century, the town continued to grow with an approximate population of 1,200 by this point

Unusually, the River Stortmarker is named after the town, and not the town after the river. When early cartographers came to the town in the early 1600s, they reasoned that the town must have been named for the ford over the Stort and assumed the river was called the Stort. It has been ever since. Until then, there was no official name for the river.

After 1769, the River Stort was made navigable, and the town was made a stagecoach stop on the Mail coach road between Cambridgemarker and Londonmarker.

Looking down Windhill towards the town centre from St Mary's Catholic School
The Corn Exchange


By 1801, Bishop's Stortford had become a market town and a corn exchange had been established while the main industry was malting. In 1842 the railway came to Bishop's Stortford; another introduction of the Victorian era was the opening of a hospital, in 1895.

At the beginning of the 20th century, in 1901, the population was over 7,000. By 1951, Bishop's Stortford had expanded further, to 13,000. During World War II, Bishop's Stortford was the evacuation centre for many Britons, including the entire Clapton Girls Technology Collegemarker. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Bishop's Stortford has seen further growth since it became a commuter town. The M11 motorway, nearby Stansted Airportmarker, and the train links to London and Cambridge have contributed to the town having a population of around 35,000, as of the 2001 national census, but future growth is expected to increase the population to 45,000.

Bishop's Stortford has six outer suburbs: Thorley, Thorley Park, Havers, Bishops Park, St Michael's Mead and Snowley. Little Hallingbury and Takeley, too, are within the ambit of Bishop's Stortford; they are, however, in Essex rather than Hertfordshiremarker.

Arson and threats in 1825

In March and April 1825, a number of buildings in Bishop's Stortford were set alight and caused great alarm in the town. A committee was formed and a £500 reward offered for information on the arsonist. Soon a number of threatening letters were received, warning in part that "Stortford shall be laid in ashes". Thomas Rees was arrested and found guilty on the charge of sending the letters, but not of arson. He was transported to Australia as a convict.

Harry Roberts

Harry Roberts was arrested in a wooded area at nearby Thorley whilst on the run from the Police following the shooting of three policemen in Londonmarker in 1966. He was taken to Bishop's Stortford police station where he was charged and later moved to Londonmarker. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Shootings in 2007

On 28 August 2007, two men and a teenager were shot dead at Plaw Hatch Close in Bishop's Stortford. Two women were seriously injured in the attack that was around 9:35 pm. The men killed were named as Keith Cowell, 52, and his son Matthew, 17, who died alongside 33-year-old Tony Dulieu of Billericay. Keith Cowell's wife, Nicole, had left for work at Stansted Airport 10 minutes before the attack. A three-year-old girl called 'Angel' was thought to have been in the house at the time of the shooting. Chief Superintendent Al Thomas of the Hertfordshire Police said, "We share the concern and sense of shock within the community. Early information suggests this was a targeted incident and not a random attack." Police presence was dramatically increased after the incident in and around the town. However, crime rates in the town are well below the national average.

Demographics

  • Population: 38,078
  • Median age: 36
  • Retirees: 15.93%
  • Unemployed: 1.63%
  • Educated to Degree level: 25.83%
  • Full-time students: 2.27% (864)
  • Total migrants: 12.68% (4,829)
  • Average distance travelled to fixed place of work: 19.18 km


Redevelopment

The town centre is undergoing many changes, with the demolition of the old multi-storey car park and surrounding area to make way for a new town centre area and the building of new city-type apartments and penthouses on the riverside and around the town centre. Jackson Square (a modern shopping complex) was rebuilt and an extension added with many cafes, bars and shops. The developments are almost finished. Also, the Havers (an outer part of Bishop's Stortford) is being redeveloped with new houses and flats. There are many plans for further expansion and development of the town due to its continued growth and the expected enlargement of Stansted Airportmarker.

Bishop's Stortford is useful for a large number of Hertsmarker and Essex villages in its area, as most of the nearby towns (excluding Harlowmarker) are small and Bishop's Stortford serves as a centre for meeting, shopping, and entertainment.

Rhodes Arts Complex

The Rhodes Arts Complex is a state-of-the-art venue which incorporates a theatre, cinema, dance studio and conference facilities. Situated within the complex, in the house where Cecil Rhodesmarker was born, is the Bishop's Stortford Museum. It has a local history collection, a unique collection relating to Rhodes and the British Empire in Africa as well as its temporary exhibition gallery.

Bishop's Stortford Museum

Politics

The town is generally seen as a conservative area, and this can be backed up by the fact that in the 2005 national elections Mark Prisk was elected for the Conservative Party with a majority of the votes cast (50.5%). Bishop's Stortford's constituency, Hertford and Stortford, covers many other settlements including Hertfordmarker. A recent addition to the Conservatives' new shadow cabinet, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Caroline Spelman, is also from the town.

The most controversial political issue for the town relates to the expansion of Stansted Airport. The most controversial political issue for the town relates to the expansion of Stansted Airport. A long-standing protest group called Stop Stansted Expansion vehemently opposes unsustainable growth at the airport and is wholly against plans for a second runway.

The town also has a Youth Council that meets once a month. It is made up of students from the local schools, and many local and youth issues are discussed.

Economy

Bishop's Stortford is a particularly affluent area and this is partly due to the town's status as a commuter town for the (mainly financial) workers in Londonmarker. The town is also home to many people working in the tourist industry, including hotels, catering and airline staff, because it is the closest large town to Stansted Airport. In total, about 85% work in the services sector (2001 census). Bishop's Stortford is served by a variety of shops, both high street chains and long-established family firms. The main retail streets are South, Potter, North and Hockerill Streets. There is a modern shopping complex called Jackson Square. Market days are Thursday and Saturday, which comprise of a bag and luggage, flower, card and clothing stalls.

national kitchen chain in-toto kitchens located at the chantry, hadham road, cm23 2qr 01279-465010

Transport and services

Bishop's Stortford owes its continued growth to developments in transport. It is well serviced by all forms of transport:



Bishop's Stortford stationmarker is on the London Liverpool Streetmarker to Cambridgemarker main line operated by National Express East Anglia. The Stansted Express services take around 25 minutes to reach Tottenham Halemarker and 40 minutes to reach London Liverpool Streetmarker and allow Bishop's Stortford to be part of the London Commuter Belt. Epping tube stationmarker is about 12 miles away from Bishop's Stortford which means some residents use the London Underground station rather than the main line station at Bishop's Stortford.

Bishop's Stortford is close to junction 8 of the M11 motorway, which runs from London and the M25marker north to Cambridge, and the town is a frequent stop-off point for travellers using the nearby Stansted airport. To the north of the town is the A120, which meets the A10marker at Buntingfordmarker to the west and the A12marker at Colchestermarker to the east.

Stansted Airportmarker is on the town's doorstep, with easy transport via rail or bus between there and the town. This airport is mainly used for flights to Europe and is the third largest airport serving London.

The town has many bus routes, including the 308 main bus route for travel within Bishop's Stortford and to Stansted Airport. Other, longer routes like the 510 (Stansted Airport - Harlowmarker) link Bishop's Stortford with other nearby towns, and several services exist to connect the plethora of nearby villages to the town.

Recently plans have been announced to create an Ultra Light Railway in the town, the new system will be called Bishop's Stortford Ultra Light Railway if it is confirmed. The plans have already recieved backing from the towns MP, Mark Prisk, and the current Mayor, Colin Woodward.

There is also a park and ride system to the town centre.

Notable people

Cecil Rhodes






Twin towns

Bishop's Stortford is twinned with the following towns:

Education

Hertfordshire County Council is responsible for education. Bishop's Stortford follows the English schools model of primary school, secondary school, and further education college. There are 13 primary and 5 secondary schools (two of which are single sex). The town does not have any further education colleges for post-16 education, as all schools in Hertfordshire have sixth forms.

There is also an independent school, the Bishop's Stortford Collegemarker, which covers the whole educational spectrum from ages 4 to 18.

Many of the secondary schools in the Bishop's Stortford area have gained special college status, variously for technology, sciences, languages, music or performing arts. Secondary schools include St Mary's Roman Catholic School, Birchwood High School, Hockerill Anglo-European Collegemarker, The Bishop's Stortford High Schoolmarker (commonly referred to as the 'Boys High')[45262] and The Hertfordshire and Essex High Schoolmarker. The latter two schools are single-sex schools, for boys and girls respectively, although both have mixed-sex sixth-forms.

In July 2008, Herts and Essex High School and Bishop's Stortford High School submitted a planning application to merge to a single site funded by the building of new residential estates on their existing land. This met with vigorous opposition, most notably from the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation. Over 930 letters of objection were received and eventually the plan collapsed in September 2009 just prior to the planning hearing when the schools withdrew their application.

Education Charity Inclusion Trust is based in Bishop's Stortford.

Leisure and entertainment

Sports

Bishop's Stortford has many sports facilities, including the Grange Paddocks Swimming Pool & Gym, and various leagues are based in the town. Sporting facilities consist of the Bishop's Stortford Rugby Club, the cricket club, the hockey club, the tennis club, the squash club, the swimming club and the Bishop's Stortford Golf Club. In the town centre there is also a Cannons Health Club (now Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing), this is situated by the cinema.

Bishop's Stortford Running Club (BSRC) supports road running and cross-country running, organising four training sessions a week (two coached), and also has an active multi-sports section for those interested in triathlon, duathlon and adventure racing.

Bishop's Stortford also boasts two association football clubs - Bishop's Stortford F.C., who play in the Conference South, and Bishop's Stortford Swifts, who play in the Essex Olympian Football League.

In nearby Thorley, there is also a cricket club: Thorley CC.

Youth organisations

The town is home to various youth organisations and youth groups, including an Army Cadet Force detachment and an Air Training Corps Squadron. The ACF detachment is located at the Northgate Activities Centre and parades on Monday nights from 17:15 to 21:30. The Air Cadet unit, 1096 (Bishop's Storford) Squadron is based in Waytemore Road (CM23 3GR) and parades on Monday and Thursday evenings and caters for cadets aged between 13-18.

Live music

The Rhodes Arts Complex benefited from a lottery grant in 2006 and is now the town's biggest venue for live music and theatre.

Another live music venue in Bishop's Stortford, supporting rock, blues and folk bands is The Half Moon at the top end of North Street. It is a traditional and somewhat untouched pub that has a small back-room with stage. The Half Moon is also home to Club Blub, a monthly live showcase for both established acts and new bands. Among the notable appearances at Club Blub have been Billy Lunn of UK indie act The Subways.

In early 2007, Cluzion Music was set up to host a monthly Jazz Club in Bishop's Stortford. The Cluzion Jazz Club is hosted by local Jazz Pianist Peter Lemer and is held at the Hume Theatre at St. Mary's, Windhill on the last Saturday of the month.

Bishops's Stortford is where the youth choir Cantate is based. The choir holds concerts in the surrounding area, including many in the town itself.

Pubs

Being a market town, Bishop's Stortford has many large public houses within the town centre, most notably The Boars Head in the High Street (rumoured to date back to the early 1400s, which was once visited by the famous diarist Samuel Pepys) and offers hostel accommodation, live sporting events on widescreen TV and food served all day.

Other

Located in the town centre is Anchor Street Entertainment, a multiplex which hosts an Empire cinema, a bowling alley with a bar and arcade, and a Nuffield House Health Club.

The Lemon Tree restaurant in Water Lane is listed in both The Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide. In late 2006, town centre restaurant Host opened a private members' bar above their restaurant in the Corn Exchange building.

Nightlife spots in Bishop's Stortford include a Chicago Rock Cafe, nightclubs such as H20 and JR's and an over 22's club called The Attic. There is also The Terrace wine bar open during the summer months with food and live music.

There is also a concrete skateboard park and metal halfpipe located in the town park opposite Waitrose. It is easily reachable from Bishop's Stortford railway station.

The Water Lane Theatre Group, an amateur drama group, has been based in the town since 1951.

Geography

Climate graph of Bishop's Stortford.
Being in South East England, the town enjoys a warmer climate than most of the United Kingdommarker and has some of the hottest summers in Britain; it is also one of the driest places in the country. Temperatures may sometimes reach the mid-30s Celsius in the summer. Snow is often seen in the winter months because the town is near to the east coast, where cold, moist air is brought in from the North Seamarker and cold fronts from northern Europe. In recent years there has been up to three inches of snow early in the year which has resulted in minor disruption to transport and caused some schools to close for several days. However, the snow tends not to persist in any noticeable quantity.

Water for the town is supplied by Three Valleys Water. The water is classed as very hard with over 345 mg/l ofminerals and 0.225 mg/l of fluoride.

Location Grid




External links

  • Activ Stortford Your complete online guide to Bishop's Stortford
  • [http://www.stortfordcf.org.uk/index.aspx Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation - Representing all the residents'
http/www.intoto.co.ukassociations in Bishop's Stortford]

References

  1. http://www.stortfordhistory.co.uk/guide1/devoils_lane.html
  2. http://www.stortfordcf.org.uk/Letters/SchoolsFormalObjection.aspx
  3. http://80.168.51.108/media/word/s/s/3081117OP_APP_A_-_Summary_of_Reps_-_Final.doc
  4. “Schools withdraw plan to move to Green Belt”, Bishop's Stortford Observer, Dec 4 2008



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