HERTFORD, a market-town and municipal borough, and the county town of Hertfordshire, England, in the Hertford parliamentary division of the county, 24 m. N. from London, the terminus of branch lines of the Great Eastern and Great Northern railways. Pop. (1901) 9322. It is pleasantly situated in the valley of the river Lea. The chief buildings are the modern churches of St Andrew and of All Saints, on the sites of old ones,' a town hall, corn exchange, public library, school of art and the old castle, which retains the wall and part of a tower dating from the Norman period, and is represented by a picturesque Jacobean building of brick, largely modernized. There are several educational establishments, including the preparatory school for Christ's Hospital, a picturesque building (in great part, however, rebuilt) at the east end of the town, Kale's grammar school, the Cowper Testimonial school, and a Green-coat school for boys and girls. Two miles S.E. is Haileybury College, one of the principal public schools of England, founded in 1805 by the East India Company for their civil service students, who were then temporarily housed in Hertford Castle. The school lies high above the Lea valley, towards Hoddesdon, in the midst of a stretch of finely-wooded country. Hertford has a considerable agricultural trade, and there are mailings, breweries, iron foundries, and oriental printing works. The town is governed by a mayor, 5 aldermen and 15 councillors. Area, 1134 acres.
Hertford (Herutford, Heorolford, Hurtford) was the scene of a synod in 673. Its communication with London by way of the Lea and the Thames gave it strategic importance during the Danish occupation of East Anglia. In 1066 and later it was a royal garrison and burgh. It made separate payments for aids to the Norman and Angevin kings; and in 1331 was governed by a bailiff annually elected by the commonalty. A charter incorporated the bailiffs and burgesses in 1555, and was confirmed under Elizabeth and in 1606. A charter of 1680 to the mayor, aldermen and commonalty was effective until the Municipal Corporation Act. Hertford returned two burgesses to the parliament of 1298, and to others until, after 1375/6, such right became abeyant, to be restored by order of parliament in 1623/4. One representative was lost by the Representation Act in 1868, and separate representation by the Redistribution Act in 1885. A grant of fairs in 1226 probably originated or confirmed those held in 1331 on the feasts of the Assumption and of St Simon and St Jude, their vigils and morrows, which fairs were confirmed by Elizabeth and Charles II. Another on the vigil, morrow and feast of the Nativity of the Virgin was granted by Elizabeth: its date was changed to May-day under James I. Modern fairs are on the third Saturda> before Easter, the 12th of May, the sth of July and the 8th of November. Markets were held in 1331 on Wednesday and Saturday; after 1368 on Thursday and Saturday; and they returned to Wednesdays and Saturdays in 1680.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)