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Herefordshire, England

Historical Description

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.

According to the census returns issued in 1893 the chief occupations of the people of the county were:—Professional, 2073 males and 1338 females; domestic, 512 males and 8948 females; commercial, 2963 males and 85 females; agricultural, 15,477 males and 717 females; fishing, 16 males; industrial, 13,312 males and 3061 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 7669 males and 31,108 females; or a total in the county of 42,022 males and 43,257 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows:—Agricultural labourers, 8726; general labourers, 3144; and farmers, 2995. The chief occupations of women were—domestic service, with a total of 7217; millinery and dressmaking, 1371. There were also in the county 124 blind persons, 99 deaf, 73 deaf and dumb, and 566 mentally deranged.

The boundaries of the ancient or geographical county, and those of the administrative county of Hereford, are co-extensive, and the area of the county is 537,363 statute acres; population, 115,949. The administrative county contains 255 entire civil parishes and parts of 3 others. The ancient county contains 200 entire ecclesiastical districts or parishes, and parts of 20 others, which are almost entirely in the diocese of Hereford. The administrative county includes the two municipal boroughs of Hereford and Leominster. The market-towns are Hereford, Leominster, Ledbury, Ross, Bromyard, and Kington. The chief seats are Eastnor Castle, Brampton Bryan, Kentchurch, Berrington, Foxley, Garnons, Holm Lacy, Knill Court, Moccas, Walfrelow, Winsley, Harewood, Allansmere, Bromesberrow, Brockhampton, Croft Castle, Coombe, Downton, Elton Hall, Gaines, Garnstone, Goodrich Court, Haffield House, Hampton Court, Holm House, Hope End, Longworth Castle, Lower Moor, Ludford, Much Marcle, Mynde Park, Newhill Court, Rotherwas, Rudhall, Sellersbrook, Shobden Court, Stoke Edith, Sufton, Tibberton, Titley, Treago, and Whitfield.

Herefordshire is governed by a lord-lieutenant and a county council consisting of 51 councillors and 17 aldermen, is in the north-western military district, and in the Oxford judicial circuit. The assizes and the quarter sessions are all held at Hereford. It has one court of quarter sessions, and eleven petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Hereford and Leominster have separate commissions of the peace, and the borough of Hereford has in addition a separate court of quarter sessions. County courts are held at Hereford, Leominster, Ross, Kington, Bromyard, and Ledbury. Three members were formerly returned to Parliament by the county, and the boroughs of Hereford and Leominster returned two and one respectively; but by the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, the county was divided into the Northern or Leominster division, and the Southern or Ross division, each returning one member; Hereford was deprived of one member, and Leominster was disfranchised. The entire county is in the diocese of Hereford, except part of the parishes of Cowleigh and West Malvern (diocese of Worcester), parts of the parishes of Cwmyay and Dixton (LIandaff), the parish of Lea, and parts of the parishes of Holy Trinity, Forest of Dean, Gorsley, and Preston (Gloucester and Bristol).

The territory now forming Herefordshire, as already noted, was in the time of the ancient Britons part of the country of the Silures, and it then bore the name of Ercinac. The Silures made most strenuous opposition to the Romans; they had a great general, the famous Caractacus, who put the Roman tactics to severe test, yet they were defeated, even under Caractacus, by Ostorius Scapula, at Coxwell Knoll, and they suffered final reduction in the time of Vespasian by Julius Frontinus. Herefordshire then became part of Britannia Secunda, and on the recall of the Roman legions from Britain it sustained repeated invasion by the Picts and Scots, and it was one of the last of the British territories which submitted to the Saxon authority. It at length became part of Mercia, and was then so vexed and harassed by the Welsh that Offa, the great King of Mercia, constructed the very long defensive work still known as Offa's Dyke, for protection of its inhabitants. It nevertheless was disastrously overrun in 1066 by Llewelyn ap Gryffydd, Prince of Wales, and eleven years later made a ready and complete submission to the Norman yoke. The Welsh continued to trouble it, but were kept in check or repelled by special local measures, first of the Conqueror, next of Edward I. Strong movements were made on the rebel side in the Barons' Wars, but were put down ignominiously by the Crown. Owen Glendower in 1402 overran and ravaged it, defeated the Earl of March who defended it, and threw him into a dungeon. An army of 23,000 was raised in 1461 on the side of the Yorkists, went into battle with the forces of Henry VI., or rather of Queen Margaret, at Mortimer's Cross, near Leominster, and totally defeated them. The only subsequent events of any note are those mentioned in our article on HEREFORD, as having occurred in that city in connection with the Civil Wars of Charles I.

A cromlech is on King Arthur's Hill. Ancient British camps, or camps which may have been originally British, are at Hereford Beacon, Dynedor, Eaton Hill, Great Doward, Little Doward, Geer, Caradoc, Berrington, Credenhill, Aconbury, Croft, Wapley, Burghill, Wall Hill, Ivington, Pisbury, and St Ethelbert's. Roman camps or stations are at Kenchester, Trewyn, Grandison, Stretton, Brandon, and Bury Hill near Ross. Watling Street enters near Leintwardine, passes by Kenchester, and quits the county near Longtown; a Roman road from Gloucester also enters near Ross, and a branch of one from Worcester goes to Kenchester. Offa's Dyke touches the W side of the county. No fewer than twenty-eight castles or forts are known to have been erected for defence against the Welsh, but most of them have been demolished, and the chief ones now standing, or having any remains, are at Goodrich, Clifford, Bredwardine, Brampton Bryan, Wilton, Penyard, Huntingdon, Lyon Hall, Sugwas, and Wigmore. The principal old ecclesiastical fabrics, whether monasteries or churches, are at Aconbury, FIanesford, Abbeydore, Leominster, Hereford, Garway, Wigmore, Holm Lacy, Craswall, Monkland, and Wormsley.


Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Archives and Libraries

Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre (HARC)
Fir Tree Lane
Rotherwas
Hereford
HR2 6LA
Tel No: +44 (0)1432 260750
Email: archives@herefordshire.gov.uk


Civil Registration

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.

We have Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Herefordshire, 1835 available to browse.

We have Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Herefordshire, 1842 available to browse.

We have transcribed the entry for Herefordshire from the following:


Historical Geography

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.


Maps

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 & places

Abbeydore
Aconbury
Acton Beauchamp
Adforton
Allensmore
Almeley
Altbach
Amberley
Ashperton
Ashton
Aston
Aston (Kingsland)
Aston Ingham
Avenbury
Aylton
Aymestrey
Bacton
Ballingham
Bartestree
Barton, Bradnor, and Rushock
Belmont
Berrington and Eye
Bircher
Birley
Bishops Frome
Bishopstone
Blakemere or Blackmoor
Bodenham
Boresford
Bosbury
Boulstone or Bolstone
Bowley
Brakes
Brampton Abbots
Brampton Bryan
Brandon Camp
Bredenbury
Bredwardine
Breinton
Bridge Sollars
Bridstow
Brilley St Mary
Brimfield
Brinsop
Broad Oak
Broadward, Brierley, and Wharton
Brobury
Brockhampton
Brockhampton (Bromyard)
Brockmanton
Bromyard
Bronsil Castle
Broxwood
Bryan Maund or Maund Bryan
Buckenhill
Buckton and Coxall
Bullingham
Burghill
Burrington
Butterley
Byford
Byton
Callow
Canon Frome
Canon Pyon
Carey
Castle Frome
Checkley
Cholstrey
Church Dilwyn
Clehonger
Clifford
Clodock
Coddington
Collington
Colwall
Combe
Conhope or Covenhope
Coughton
Cradley
Crasswall
Credenhill
Croft
Crowbill
Cusop
Dewsall
Didley
Dinedor
Dinmore
Docklow
Donnington
Dormington
Dorstone
Downton
Dulas
Eardisland
Eardisley or Erdesley
Eastnor
Eaton
Eaton Bishop
Eaton Tregoze
Edvin Loach
Edvin Ralph
Eggleton
Elton
Elton (Westbury on Severn)
Evesbach or Evesbatch
Ewyas Harold
Eye
Eyton
Eywood
Fawley
Felton
Fencott with Westwood
Ford, Ford Bridge, or Fordsbridge
Fownhope
Foy
Ganarew
Garway
Gladestry
Glewstone
Golden Valley
Goodrich or Goderich
Grafton
Grange
Great and Little Doward
Greenway
Grendon Bishop
Grendon Warren
Halmonds Frome
Hampton Bishop
Hampton Charles
Hampton Court
Hampton Wafer
Hardwick or Hardwicke
Harewood
Hatfield
Haywood or Haywood Forest
Heath and Jay
Henner
Hentland
Hereford
Herefordshire Beacon
Hergest, Upper and Lower
Hoarwithy
Holme Lacy
Holmer
Hope Mansell
Hope under Dinmore
Hopleys Green
How Caple
Humber
Huntington
Huntington (Holmer)
Hurstley
Ivington
Jay
Kemerton Upper and Lower Courts
Kenchester
Kenderchurch or Howton
Kentchurch
Kerne Bridge
Kilpeck, St Mary and St David
Kilreagne
Kimbolton
Kings Caple
Kings Pyon
Kingsacre
Kingsland
Kingsthorne
Kingstone
Kington
Kinnersley
Kinsham
Kinton
Kivernoll
Knill
Kynastone
Lawton
Laysters or Leysters
Lea
Leadon
Leinthall Earles
Leinthall Starkes
Leintwardine
Leominster
Letton
Letton (Leintwardine)
Lilwall, Pembers Oak, and Chickward
Limebrook
Lingen
Linton
Linton (Bromyard)
Little Birch
Little Cowarne
Little Dewchurch
Little Hereford
Little Marcle
Llancillo
Llandinabo
Llangarren
Llangrove or Long Grove
Llanguimoe
Llanrothal or LIanfrawther
Llanveynoe
Llanwarne
Logarston
Longford
Longrove or Llangrove
Longtown
Lower Bullingham or Bullinghope
Lower Harpton
Lucton
Lugbridge
Lugwardine
Luntley
Luston
Lye, Nether and Upper
Lynch (Pembridge)
Lynch (Tenbury)
Lyonshall
Madley
Mansell Gamage
Mansell Lacy
Marden
Marlow
Marston Stannett
Marstow
Michaelchurch
Michaelchurch Eskley
Middleton
Middleton on the Hill
Moccas
Monington or Monnington
Monkland
Monnington on Wye
Moorhampton
Mordiford
Moreton
Moreton Jeffries
Moreton on Lugg
Mortimers Cross
Mouse Castle
Much Birch
Much Cowarne
Much Dewchurch
Much Marcle
Munsley
Mynde Park
Nash
Netherton (Brampton Abbotts)
Netherton (Ledbury)
New Hampton (Bromyard)
New Inn
Newchurch
Newhampton (Hatfield)
Newton (Bromyard)
Newton (Clodock)
Newton (Croft)
Newton (Leintwardine)
Newtown (Dilwyn)
Newtown (Leominster)
Newtown (Yarkhill)
Next End
Norton Canon
Ocle Livers
Ocle Pychard
Orcop
Orleton
Parkhold
Parton Cross
Pembers Oak
Pembridge
Pembridge Castle
Pencombe
Pencoyd
Pencraig
Peterchurch
Peterstow
Picts Cross
Pipe and Lyde
Pixley
Pontrilas
Preston on Wye
Preston Wynne
Puddlestone
Putley
Putley (Woolhope)
Richards Castle
Risbury
Rodd, Nash, and Little Brampton
Ross
Rotherwas
Rowlstone
Rushock
Saltmarsh
Sarnesfield
Sellack
Shelwick
Shobdon
Snodhill
Sollershope
St Devereux
St Margaret
St Weonards
Stagbatch
Stanford Bishop
Stanford Regis
Stanway
Stapleton
Staunton on Arrow
Staunton on Wye
Stockton
Stoke Bliss
Stoke Edith
Stoke Lacy
Stoke Prior
Straddle
Street
Stretford
Stretford (Leominster)
Stretton Grandison
Stretton Sugwas
Sufton
Sutton
Swainshill
Tarrington
Tedstone Delamere
Tedstone Wafer
The Arrow
The Dore
The Eskley
The Frome
The Gamer
The Garran
The Lugg or Lug
The Monnow
The Moor
The Olcon
The Onny
The Vineyard
Thornbury
Thruxton
Tillington
Titley
Tram Inn
Treaddow
Trecilla
Tredoughan
Tretire with Michaelchurch
Treville
Trippleton
Trumpet
Tupsley
Turnastone
Tyberton
Ullingswick
Upleadon
Upper Bullingham or Bullinghope
Upper Bullinghope
Upper Sapey
Upton
Upton Bishop
Vowchurch
Wacton
Walford
Walford, Letton, and Newton
Walterstone
Walton
Wapley Hill
Wareham
Wellington
Wellington Heath
Welsh Bicknor
Welsh Newton
Weobley
West Malvern
West Town
Westbrook
Westhide
Weston
Weston Beggard
Weston under Penyard
Westwood
Wharton
Whitbourne
Whitchurch
Whitchurch or Whitechurch Maund
Whitney on Wye
Whitton with Trippleton
Wickton
Wigmore
Willersley
Willey
Wilton
Winforton
Winslow
Wintercott
Wisteston
Withington
Wolferlow
Woolhope
Wormbridge
Wormsley or Wormesley
Wyson
Yarpole
Yatton (Aymestrey)
Yatton (Much Marcle)
Yazor

Population

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.

Map of Herefordshire