Herefordshire or Hereford, an inland county of England, contiguous to Wales. It is bounded on the NW by Radnorshire, on the N by Salop, on the NE by Worcestershire, on the E by Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, on the SE by Gloucestershire, on the S by Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, on the W by Brecknockshire and Radnorshire. Its outline has considerable curves and saliencies, yet may be described as proximately circular. Its greatest length, from N to S, is 38 miles, its greatest breadth; from E to W, is 35 miles; its circumference is about 180 miles, and its area is 537,363 acres. Its northern boundary is traced at intervals by the river Teme, and its southern boundary is traced by the rivers Wye and Monnow. Its eastern border is marked to a considerable extent by the Malvern Hills, its western border by the Black Mountains, and its interior is a rich diversity of hill and valley, closely resembling some parts of Kent, well wooded, beautiful, and picturesque. The chief streams, besides the Teme, the Wye, and the Monnow, are the Lugg, the Arrow, the Frome, the two Leadons, the Garron, and the Dore. The streams with their flanks are generally charming, and the Wye, which not only traces part of the boundary but also traverses very much of the interior, is pre-eminently lovely. A tract in the NW, contiguous to Wales and to Salop, and a tract in the E, between the rivers Frome and Wye, consist of upper Silurian rocks, and nearly all the rest of the county is old red sandstone. Iron was worked by the Romans, limestone is found at Ledbury, Aymestry, and Woolhope, and small quantities of fuller's earth, pipe-clay, and ochre occur in some places. The county formed a considerable part of Siluria.
The soil in general is a mixture of clay and marl, with occasional beds of gravel, and is peculiarly adapted to the growth of orchard and timber trees. Estates and farms are large. Orchards are everywhere numerous; have been cultivated since the time of Charles I.; occupy in some instances from 30 to 40 acres each; contain about twenty choice varieties of apple for cider, and about seven of pear for perry; and yield on the average from 300 to 375 bushels of fruit per acre. The oxen are a very fine breed, of large size and red-brown colour, with white faces and soft coats. They were introduced about the middle of the 17th century by Lord Scudamore. The sheep are a cross between the Ryeland and the Leicester. The horses are of medium goodness, and many draught ones are reared. Manufactures are on a very small scale, and consist chiefly in gloves, hats, and woollens. The railway system of the county is very complete, and practically converges at Hereford. A G.W. line runs SW from Hereford through Pontrilas and Abergavenny. A second line runs SE to Ross, whence one branch goes SW to Monmouth, while another goes E to Gloucester. A third line runs E to Dedbury, where it branches off NE to Malvem, and SE to Gloucester. Due N from Hereford the G.W. and L. & N.W. Joint line runs through Leominster to Shrewsbury, while a branch of the G.W.R. from Worcester crosses it at Leominster, and runs W to New Radnor, with branches to Presteign and Eardisley. The M.R. has a line running W from Hereford through Hay into Brecknockshire, and Hay is connected with Pontrilas by the Golden Valley line.
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Archives and Libraries
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
List of Registration Districts in Herefordshire from 1837 to 1974.
Directories & Gazetteers
The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Herefordshire online, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, etc.
A listing of the Hundreds in Herefordshire, with the parishes contained in them.
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Herefordshire is available to browse.
Old map of Herefordshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)
Old map of Herefordshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Herefordshire newspapers online:
Parishes and places
The towns and parishes have now been moved to a separate page.
The population of Herefordshire in 1801 was 88,436; in 1811, 93,526; 1821, 102,692; 1831, 110,617; 1841, 113,272; 1851, 115,489; 1861, 123,712; 1871, 125,370; 1881, 121,062; in 1891, 115,949, and in 1901, 114,125. The population in 1911 was 114,269, viz.: males, 55,168; females, 59,101.