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Kington is a market town and civil parish in Herefordshiremarker, Englandmarker. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 2,597.


Kington is near the Wales-England border and, despite being on the western side of Offa's Dykemarker, has been Englishmarker for over a thousand years. The town is in the shadow of Hergest Ridgemarker, and on the River Arrowmarker, where it is crossed by the A44 road. It is 21 miles north-west from Herefordmarker. Nearby towns include Presteignemarker, Knighton and Leominstermarker. There are panoramic views all round the town of the open countryside and surrounding hills.

Early origins and history

Kington is to the west of Offa's Dyke so presumably this land was Welshmarker in the 8th century CE. The land was held by Anglo-Saxons in 1066, but devastated. After the Norman Conquest Kington then passed to the Crown on the downfall of Roger de Breteuil, 2nd Earl of Hereford in 1075. Soon after 1086 and before 1108 the King gave Kington to Henry Port, who founded a new Marcher barony in this part of the early Welsh Marches. Kington seems to have been a quiet barony and was associated with the office of sheriff of Hereford. In 1072, Adam Port, probably the great-grandson of Henry Port, rebelled and fled the country. He returned in 1074 with a Scottishmarker army, only to flee from the resulting Battle of Alnwickmarker to the great mirth of the Angevin court. With this his barony of Kington was taken by the Crown and became an appurtenance of the office of Sheriff of Hereford, finally being granted to William de Braose, 7th Baron Abergavenny in 1203 for £100. The castle then saw action in the Braose Wars against King John of England and was probably destroyed by royal forces in August 1216. Within a few years a new fortress was commenced at nearby Huntington Castlemarker and Kington Castlemarker was abandoned. All that remains of Kington Castle today is a great outcrop of rock topped by a few fragmentary earthworks. The old town clustered around the castle and Norman church on top of a defensive hill above the River Arrow. In the 13th century the new medieval town was formed at the foot of the hill and became primarily a wool-trading market town on an important drovers' road, and still thrives today.

Local attractions and family businesses

Kington is the home of Castle Hill Books, and the Kington Connected Community Company (KC3) project, the synthesis of private and public money designed to rejuvenate the local economy in the late 1990s with Apple Inc.marker, British Telecom, the DTI and the Rural Development Commission investing in Information Technology to see how a declining rural economy would utilise new technology. In 2006, KC3 closed its community resource and became solely commercial. The spirit of benefiting the community, however, was carried forward by a new group, setting up the Marches Access Point. The Marches Access Point is based in the Old Police Station and is available for use by the general public, providing IT training and courses.

Mike Oldfield lived at The Beacon, on Bradnor Hill near Kington, in the mid-1970s, the nearby Hergest Ridgemarker inspiring the album of the same name. Oldfield turned parts of the house into a recording studio, where he recorded his 1975 album Ommadawn.

The Sargeant family have provided links to the outside world since the 1920s, providing bus services to Hereford and Mid Wales, and providing many rural links for pensioners and for scholars. Sargeants Brothers is no longer run by the brothers, but their sons. The Sargeant family also own and run the Fleece Meadow Caravan and Camping site at the rear of Sargeants bus depot.

The butcher's shop in Kington was run by the Cresswell family until the late 1980s. Herbie Cresswell also ran the butchers shop in Madleymarker and was a keen trotter at the Mid Walesmarker harness racing association where he now has a Champion Cup in his name - The Herbie Cresswell Cup. The race is held at the Kington Show every summer. The Cresswell family also had butchers shops in Madley and Hereford. The Hussey family owned the local bakery for many generations in Kington. The bakery has now turned into a sports shop called Clubsport.

Kington has also been the host town for the Marin Rough Ride from 2003 until now.

Kington has links to Sir Francis Drake - his cousin Sir John Hawkins married and in her will, Lady Hawkins left £800 to the town to establish a school. The school is unique in having special permission from the Royal Navy to fly the Red Ensign.

Nearby attractions

Other meanings

Kington may have derived from King's-ton, being Anglo-Saxon for "King's Town", similar to other nearby towns such as Presteigne meaning "Priest's Town" and Knighton being "Knight's Town".

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