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Hertfordshire ( or ), abbreviated Herts, is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of Englandmarker. The county town is Hertfordmarker.

The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater Londonmarker, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire (the unitary authorities of Lutonmarker and Central Bedfordshire), Cambridgeshire and Essex. Hertfordshire is well known as being the birthplace of Pope Adrian IV, the only pope ever from the British Isles.


Hertfordshire was originally the area assigned to a fortress constructed at Hertfordmarker under the rule of Edward the Elder in 913.The name Hertford is derived from the Anglo-Saxon heort ford, meaning deer crossing (of a watercourse).The name Hertfordshire first appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011.Deer feature prominently in many county emblems.

There is evidence of human beings living in Hertfordshire since the Middle Stone Age. It was first farmed during the Neolithic period and permanent habitation appeared at the beginning of the Bronze Age. This was followed by tribes settling in the area during the Iron Age.

Following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, Hertfordshire adapted quickly to the Roman way of life; one of the new towns, Verulamiummarker, became the third largest town in Roman Britain. After the Romans left Britain, the Anglo-Saxons occupied the area, creating their own towns, including the county town of Hertfordmarker.

The Norman conquest in 1066 reached its climax at Berkhamstedmarker where William the Conqueror accepted the final Saxon surrender. After the Norman conquest, Hertfordshire was used for some of the new Norman castles at Bishop's Stortfordmarker and at the royal residence of Berkhamstedmarker.

The Domesday Book recorded the county as having nine hundred. Tringmarker and Danais became one, Dacorum, from (Danis Corum or Danish rule harking back to a Viking not Saxon past). The other seven were Braughingmarker, Broadwater, Cashio, Edwinstree, Hertford, Hitchin and Odsey.

As Londonmarker grew, Hertfordshire became conveniently close to the English capital; much of the area was owned by the nobility and aristocracy, this patronage helped to boost the local economy. However, the greatest boost to Hertfordshire came during the Industrial Revolution, after which the population rose dramatically. In 1903, Letchworthmarker became the world's first garden city and Stevenagemarker became the first town to redevelop under the New Towns Act 1946.

From the 1920s until the late 1980s, the town of Borehamwoodmarker was home to one of the major British film studio complexes, including the MGM-British Studios. Many well-known films were made here including the first three Star Wars movies (IV, V, & VI). The studios generally used the name of Elstreemarker (the adjoining village).

In early December 2005 the 2005 Hemel Hempstead fuel depot explosionsmarker occurred at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminalmarker.

In 2012, the town of Waltham Crossmarker, within the borough of Broxbourne, will host the canoe and kayak slalommarker events of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

Following a proposal put forward by The Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust, town-planner Andrés Duany has suggested that designated "Garden Villages" could be built within Hertfordshire to relieve some of the pressure for new homes, with perhaps a third Garden City to follow.


Hertfordshire is located immediately to the north of Greater Londonmarker and is part of the East of England Government Office Region. Much of the county is part of the London commuter belt. To the east of Hertfordshire is Essex, to the west is Buckinghamshire and to the north are Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

The county's boundaries were fixed by the Counties Act 1844 which eliminated exclaves. They were amended when, in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, East Barnet Urban Districtmarker and Barnet Urban Districtmarker were abolished and their area was transferred to Greater Londonmarker to form part of the present-day London Borough of Barnetmarker. At the same time the Potters Bar Urban Districtmarker of Middlesexmarker was transferred to Hertfordshire.

The highest point in the county is 803 feet (245 m) above sea level, a quarter mile (400 m) from the village of Hastoemarker near Tringmarker.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Pasqueflower as Hertfordshire's county flower.


The rocks of Hertfordshire belong to the great shallow syncline known as the London Basin. The beds dip in a south-easterly direction towards the syncline's lowest point roughly under the River Thames. The most important formations are the Cretaceous Chalk, exposed as the high ground in the north and west of the county, forming the Chiltern Hillsmarker and the younger Palaeocene, Reading Beds and Eocene, London Clay which occupy the remaining southern part. The eastern half of the county was covered by glaciers during the Ice Age and has a superficial layer of glacial boulder clays.

Natural resources and environment

Despite the spread of built areas, much of the county is given over to agriculture. One product, now largely defunct, was water-cress, based in Hemel Hempsteadmarker and Berkhamstedmarker supported by reliable, clean chalk rivers.

Some quarrying of sand and gravel occurs in the St. Albans area. In the past, clay has supplied local brick-making and still does in Bovingdonmarker, just south-west of Hemel Hempstead. The chalk that is the bedrock of much of the county provides an aquifer that feeds streams and is also exploited to provide water supplies for much of the county and beyond. Chalk has also been used as a building material and, once fired, the resultant lime was spread on agricultural land to improve fertility. The mining of chalk since the early 18th century has left unrecorded underground galleries that occasionally collapse unexpectedly and endanger buildings.

Fresh water is supplied to Londonmarker from Waremarker, using the New Rivermarker built by Hugh Myddleton and opened in 1613. Local rivers, although small, supported developing industries such as paper production at Nash Millsmarker.

Hertfordshire affords habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. One bird common in the shire is the Royston Crow, which is the eponymous name of the regional newspaper, the Royston Crow published in Roystonmarker.

Urban areas


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Hertfordshire at current basic prices published (pp.240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 11,742 96 3,292 8,354
2000 18,370 77 4,138 14,155
2003 20,937 82 4,348 16,507

Hertfordshire has headquarters of many large well-known UK companies. Hemel Hempsteadmarker is home to DSG International. Tescomarker are based in Cheshuntmarker. Pure Digital the DAB radio maker is based in Kings Langleymarker. JD Wetherspoon is in Watford. Comet and Skanska are in Rickmansworthmarker, whilst GlaxoSmithKline has plants in Waremarker and Stevenagemarker. Hatfield used to be connected with the aircraft industry, as it was where de Havilland developed the world's first commercial jet liner, the Comet. Now the site is a business park and new campus for the University of Hertfordshiremarker. This major new employment site is home to, among others, T-Mobile, Computacenter and Ocado. A subsidiary of BAE Systemsmarker, EADS and Finmeccanica in Stevenagemarker, MBDA, develops missiles. In the same town EADS Astrium produces satellites. The National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the trade association for all of the UK's community pharmacies, is based in St. Albansmarker.

The loss of aircraft manufacture at Hatfieldmarker is just one of a number of industrial losses as companies capitalise on land values and move to regions where land is cheaper and recruitment is easier. Examples include Scammell, (formerly of Watford), DRG (Hemel Hempstead) and Lucas (also Hemel). In general, the land thus freed has been used for housing or service industries.


Below is a list of places, large and small, to visit in Hertfordshire.


Hertfordshire lies across routes between Londonmarker and the North, the North-West and the Midlandsmarker and as a consequence it is well-served by road and rail routes and, in the past, by canals.

The county has always been traversed by some of the principal roads in England, originally the A1marker (Great North Road) to Yorkshiremarker and Scotlandmarker, A5 (Watling Streetmarker) to North Walesmarker, A6 to North West England and the A41 (Sparrows Herne turnpike) to the Midlandsmarker and now the M1, M11, A1marker and the M25marker.

Principal rail routes lie through Stevenagemarker to Yorkshiremarker and Scotlandmarker, and through Watfordmarker to the Midlandsmarker, north Walesmarker, the North West and Glasgowmarker. Lesser routes serve St. Albansmarker (and the East Midlands) and Roystonmarker (to Cambridgemarker and Norwichmarker). Commuter routes supplement the through routes and the London Underground extends to Watfordmarker.

Two international airports lie just outside the county Stanstedmarker and Lutonmarker. At Elstreemarker, there is a busy airfield for light aircraft.

The Grand Union Canalmarker passes west Hertfordshire, through Watfordmarker, Hemel Hempsteadmarker and Berkhamstedmarker.


Hertfordshire has 26 independent schools and 73 state secondary schools.The state secondary schools are entirely comprehensive, although 7 schools in the south and southwest of the county are partially selective (see Education in Watford).All state schools have sixth forms, and there are no sixth form colleges.The tertiary colleges, each with multiple campuses, are Hertford Regional College, North Hertfordshire Collegemarker, Oaklands Collegemarker and West Herts Collegemarker.The University of Hertfordshiremarker is a modern university based largely in Hatfieldmarker. It has more than 23,000 students.


Hertfordshire is the location of Jack Worthing's country house in Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest.

Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice is primarily set in Hertfordshire. Topographical scholars place the town of Meryton either as Hertfordmarker or Hemel Hempsteadmarker, based on how far Mr Collins travels on the post from Watfordmarker, in either an easterly or westerly direction. The former location places the Bennet family home Longbourn as the town of Waremarker.

The eponymous residence in E. M. Forster's novel, Howard's Endmarker was based on Rooks Nest House just outside Stevenagemarker. In the novel, Forster describes Hertfordshire as "England at its quietest".



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