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Hereford ( ) is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshiremarker, Englandmarker. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Walesmarker, southwest of Worcestermarker, and northwest of Gloucestermarker. 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 crossing 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 Caerffawydd, meaning "Beach Fortress").

Hereford Cathedralmarker 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'. Hereford has been recognised as a city since time immemorial, with the status being reconfirmed as recently as October 2000.

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 Servicemarker (SAS) for many years, although the Regiment relocated to nearby Credenhillmarker in the late 1990s.

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

History

Hereford Cathedral, from Church Street
Hereford was founded in around AD 700 and became the Saxon capital of West Merciamarker. The present Hereford Cathedralmarker 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 Parismarker, Francemarker: 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 Castlemarker, which rivalled that of Windsormarker in size and scale. This was a 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 Crossmarker in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses, the defeated Lancastrian leader Owen Tudor (grandfather 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 himself executed, 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 Gloucestermarker 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 Scottishmarker 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 16 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 on the arms of one other municipal authority: those of the City of Londonmarker.

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 Oxfordmarker, also claim her as their own); 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, 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 (14 km) dual carriageway; however, HM Government as yet has refused to grant permission or supply funds.

In 2005 Hereford was granted Fairtrade City status.

Governance

The main local government body covering Hereford is Herefordshire Councilmarker. 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 Herefordshiremarker. 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. 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, which happened in in 2000. Hereford is one of only seven civil parishes in England which have city status.

The current member of the House of Commonsmarker for Hereford constituencymarker is Paul Keetch.

Economy

High Town, Hereford - Pedestrianised shopping area
Major employers include:
  • Bulmers - Cider and alcoholic beverages producer
  • Special Metals Wiggin Ltd - Manufacturers of nickel alloys
  • Cargill Meats Europe - Manufacturers and suppliers of food products for retailers and foodservice operators
  • Painter Brothers - Manufacturers of galvanized steel towers including The Skylonmarker


Other major companies based in Hereford include:
  • Spinning Dog Brewery - Brewers of traditional beers in Hereford City
  • Wye Valley Brewery - Producers of such beers as Butty Bach and Hereford Pale Ale (HPA) and other real ales.
  • Weston's Cider - Award-winning cider and perry producer based just outside Hereford
  • M and M Direct - Major sportswear and fashion retailer based just north of Hereford
  • Taylor Lane Timber Frame - leading name in the UK timber frame industry for over 25 years
  • Dunkerton's Cider - Located north of Hereford with a good range of ciders.


Regeneration

A major regeneration project is planned in Hereford city centre, known as the Edgar Street Grid. This covers an area of around just north of the old city walls. Work is expected to start in 2010, and should take around 15 years to complete.A proposed bypass has been drawn to circulate the city, which suffers from rush hour traffic, so far only the A49 to Rotherwas Industrial Estate has been completed.Many of the schools have been rebuilt and improved, so exam results have improved even in the disadvantaged areas of the city.Lots of new homes have been built on old waste ground but are chiefly upmarket.The Herefordshire College of Technology has also been rebuilt to a 21st century standard.

Sport

Hereford is home of Hereford United Football Club, best known for beating Newcastle in the FA Cup in January 1972, when they were still a non-league side and Newcastle were in the top division of English football. 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, projecting them to this level of football for the first time since the late 1970s.

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. The Wye is the third largest river in Britain.

Education

Herefordshire is home to many colleges including five colleges in the city: 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, though it was not until late November that the first phase began. 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 Blindmarker - 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 was part of the Pershore Group, but now belongs to Herefordshire College of Technology.
  • 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:



Society 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 Gloucestermarker and Worcestermarker. The city's main theatre and cultural venue is the Courtyard Centre for the Artsmarker 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.

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.

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, though mispronounced, in Ronin as a ploy by Sam (Robert De Niro) to expose Spence (Sean Bean) as a liar.

Frank Oz, puppeteer for The Muppets was born in Hereford and lived there for the first five years of his life.

Twin towns

Hereford is twinned with:

References

External links




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