WARE, HERTFORDSHIRE, a market town in the Hertford parliamentary division of Hertfordshire, England, on the river Lea, 22 m. N. of London by a branch of the Great Eastern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 5573. The church of St Mary is a cruciform Decorated and Perpendicular building of flint and stone, consisting of chancel (built, it is supposed, by Lady Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmcnd, and mother of Henry VII.), lady chapel to the south (c. 1380), nave of five bays of the time of Richard II., transepts, aisles, south porch and embattled tower of the time of Edward III. There is an elaborate Perpendicular font. The modern mansion of The Priory, to the west of the town, occupies the site of a priory of the order of St Francis, founded, according to Dugdale, by Hugh de Grantmaisnil, lord of Ware. A portion of the original building is incorporated in the modern one. Among public buildings are the corn exchange and the town-hall, which includes a literary institute and library. The famous " Great Bed of Ware," referred to in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which formerly was at the Saracen's Head in Ware, has been removed to Rye House, 2 m. distant, the scene of the Rye House plot of 1683 against Charles II. The town possesses breweries and brick-fields, and there is a large trade in malt, assisted by the navigation of the Lea to London. Near the village of Great Amwell (i m. S.E.) are the sources of the New River, formed in 1606-1612 to supply London with water; and on a small island in the stream stands a monument to Sir Hugh Myddleton, through whose exertions this work was carried out.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)