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County Flag of Hertfordshire Coat of arms of Hertfordshire County Council
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Trust and fear not"
Hertfordshire within England
Hertfordshire shown within England
Coordinates: 51°54′N 0°12′W / 51.9, -0.2Coordinates: 51°54′N 0°12′W / 51.9, -0.2
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East
Established Ancient
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Dione Grimston
High Sheriff Fiona Trenchard
Area 1,643 km2 (634 sq mi)
 – Ranked 36th of 48
Population (2006 est.) 1,119,800
 – Ranked 13th of 48
Density 682 /km2 (1,770 /sq mi)
Ethnicity 80.8% White British
1.5% White Irish
0.1% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
5.1% Other White
0.8% White & Black Caribbean
0.3% White & Black African
0.8% White & Asian
0.6% Other Mixed
2.6% Indian
1.1% Pakistani
0.5% Bangladeshi
0.8% Chinese
1.6% Other Asian
1.8% Black African
0.8% Black Caribbean
0.3% Other Black
0.2% Arab
0.4% Other
Non-metropolitan county
County council Hertfordshire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Hertford
Area 1,643 km2 (634 sq mi)
 – Ranked 26th of 27
Population 1,058,600
 – Ranked 6th of 27
Density 644 /km2 (1,670 /sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-HRT
ONS code 26
GSS code E10000015
Districts of Hertfordshire
  1. Three Rivers
  2. Watford
  3. Hertsmere
  4. Welwyn Hatfield
  5. Broxbourne
  6. East Hertfordshire
  7. Stevenage
  8. North Hertfordshire
  9. St Albans
  10. Dacorum
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Hertfordshire Constabulary
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
– Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Hertfordshire ( /ˈhɑrtfərdʃɪər/ or /ˈhɑrtfərdʃər/; abbreviated Herts) is a county in England. Being one of the home counties, it is bordered by Bedfordshire to the north, Cambridgeshire to the north-east, Essex to the east, Buckinghamshire to the west and Greater London to the south. The county town is Hertford.


Hertfordshire was the area assigned to a fortress constructed at Hertford under the rule of Edward the Elder in 913. Hertford is derived from the Anglo-Saxon heort ford, meaning deer crossing (of a watercourse). The name Hertfordshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011. Deer feature in many county emblems.

There is evidence of humans living in Hertfordshire from the Middle Stone Age. It was first farmed during the Neolithic period and permanent habitation appeared at the beginning of the Bronze Age. This was followed by tribes settling in the area during the Iron Age.

Following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, the aboriginal Catuvellauni quickly submitted and adapted to the Roman life; resulting in the development of several new towns, including Verulamium (St Albans). It was here in c. 293 that the first British martyrdom took place. St. Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill. His martyr's cross of a yellow saltire on a blue background is reflected in the flag and coat of arms of Hertfordshire as the yellow background to the stag or Hart representing the county. He is the Patron Saint of Hertfordshire.

With the departure of the Roman Legions in the early 5th century, the now unprotected territory was invaded and colonised by the Anglo-Saxons. By the 6th century the majority of the modern county was part of the East Saxon kingdom. This relatively short lived kingdom collapsed in the 9th century, ceding the territory of Hertfordshire to the control of the West Anglians of Mercia. The region finally became an English shire in the 10th century, on the merger of the West Saxon and Mercian kingdoms.

A century later the victorious William of Normandy received the surrender of the surviving senior English Lords and Clergy, at Berkhamsted, resulting in a new Anglicised title of William the Conqueror. He then embarked on an uncontested entry into London and coronation at Westminster.

After the Norman conquest, Hertfordshire was used for some of the new Norman castles at Bishop's Stortford and at the royal residence of Berkhamsted and at King's Langley, a staging post between London and the royal residence of Berkhamsted.

The Domesday Book recorded the county as having nine hundreds. Tring and Danais became one – Dacorum – from Danis Corum or Danish rule harking back to a Viking not Saxon past. The other seven were Braughing, Broadwater, Cashio, Edwinstree, Hertford, Hitchin and Odsey.

As London grew, Hertfordshire became conveniently close to the English capital; much of the area was owned by the nobility and aristocracy, this patronage helped to boost the local economy. However, the greatest boost to Hertfordshire came during the Industrial Revolution, after which the population rose dramatically. In 1903, Letchworth became the world's first garden city and Stevenage became the first town to redevelop under the New Towns Act 1946.

From the 1920s until the late 1980s, the town of Borehamwood was home to one of the major British film studio complexes, including the MGM-British Studios. Many well-known films were made here including the first three Star Wars movies (IV, V, & VI). The studios generally used the name of Elstree (the adjoining village). American director Stanley Kubrick not only used to shoot in those studios but also lived in the area until his death. In more recent times, Elstree has had the likes of Big Brother UK and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? filmed there, whilst EastEnders is also filmed at the studios. Also Hertfordshire has seen development in other film studio complexes, Leavesden Film Studios were developed on the Leavesden Aerodome site, north of Watford. The Harry Potter series was filmed at the studios, whilst the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye was also filmed there.[1]

On 17 October 2000, the Hatfield rail crash killed four people with 170 injured. The crash exposed the shortcomings of Railtrack, which consequently saw speed restrictions and major track replacement. On 10 May 2002, the second of the Potters Bar rail accidents occurred killing seven people; the train was at high speed when it derailed and flipped into the air when one of the carriages slid along the platform where it came to rest.

In early December 2005, the 2005 Hemel Hempstead fuel depot explosions occurred at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal.

In 2012, the canoe and kayak slalom events of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games took place in the town of Waltham Cross, within the borough of Broxbourne.

Following a proposal put forward by The Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust, town-planner Andrés Duany has suggested that designated "Garden Villages" could be built within Hertfordshire to relieve some of the pressure for new homes, with perhaps a third Garden City to follow.


Hertfordshire is located immediately to the north of Greater London and is part of the East of England Government Office Region.[2] Much of the county is part of the London commuter belt. To the east of Hertfordshire is Essex, to the west is Buckinghamshire and to the north are Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

The county's boundaries were fixed by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 which eliminated exclaves. They were amended when, in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, East Barnet Urban District and Barnet Urban District were abolished and their area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the present-day London Borough of Barnet. At the same time the Potters Bar Urban District of Middlesex was transferred to Hertfordshire.

The highest point in the county is 803 feet (245 m) above sea level, a quarter mile (400 m) from the village of Hastoe near Tring.

The northeast of the county is more sparsely populated than the other areas.

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Pasqueflower as Hertfordshire's county flower.


The rocks of Hertfordshire belong to the great shallow syncline known as the London Basin. The beds dip in a south-easterly direction towards the syncline's lowest point roughly under the River Thames. The most important formations are the Cretaceous Chalk, exposed as the high ground in the north and west of the county, forming the Chiltern Hills and the younger Palaeocene, Reading Beds and Eocene, London Clay which occupy the remaining southern part. The eastern half of the county was covered by glaciers during the Ice Age and has a superficial layer of glacial boulder clays.

Natural resources and environment[]

Harvest - Pegsdon, Hertfordshire, England - August 2009

Autumn harvest near St Albans

Despite the spread of built areas, much of the county is given over to agriculture. One product, now largely defunct, was water-cress, based in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted supported by reliable, clean chalk rivers.

Some quarrying of sand and gravel occurs in the St Albans area. In the past, clay has supplied local brick-making and still does in Bovingdon, just south-west of Hemel Hempstead. The chalk that is the bedrock of much of the county provides an aquifer that feeds streams and is also exploited to provide water supplies for much of the county and beyond. Chalk has also been used as a building material and, once fired, the resultant lime was spread on agricultural land to improve fertility. The mining of chalk since the early 18th century has left unrecorded underground galleries that occasionally collapse unexpectedly and endanger buildings.[3]

Fresh water is supplied to London from Ware, using the New River built by Hugh Myddleton and opened in 1613. Local rivers, although small, supported developing industries such as paper production at Nash Mills.

Hertfordshire affords habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. One bird common in the shire is the Royston crow, which is the eponymous name of the regional newspaper, the Royston Crow published in Royston.

Urban areas[]

In November 2013, the uSwitch Quality of Life Index listed Hertfordshire as the third-best place to live in the UK.[4]

Hertfordshire is located in Hertfordshire
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Potters Bar
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Waltham Cross
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Main towns in Hertfordshire and environs


T-Mobile UK HQ -

The offices of T-Mobile, Hatfield


Headquarters of Tesco

This is a table of trends of regional gross value added of Hertfordshire at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.[5]

Year Regional Gross Value Added[notes 1] Agriculture[notes 2] Industry[notes 3] Services[notes 4]
1995 11,742 96 3,292 8,354
2000 18,370 77 4,138 14,155
2003 20,937 82 4,348 16,507

Hertfordshire has headquarters of many large well-known UK companies. Tesco, the UK's largest employer, is based in Cheshunt. Hemel Hempstead is home to DSG International. Welwyn Garden City hosts Roche UK's headquarters (subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Hoffman-La Roche) and Cereal Partners production facilities, Pure the DAB radio maker is based in Kings Langley. JD Wetherspoon is in Watford. Comet and Skanska are in Rickmansworth, GlaxoSmithKline has plants in Ware and Stevenage. Hatfield used to be connected with the aircraft industry, as it was where de Havilland developed the world's first commercial jet liner, the Comet. Now the site is a business park and new campus for the University of Hertfordshire. This major new employment site is home to, among others, EE, Computacenter and Ocado. A subsidiary of BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica in Stevenage, MBDA, develops missiles. In the same town EADS Astrium produces satellites. The National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the trade association for all of the UK's community pharmacies, is based in St. Albans. Warner Bros. also owns and runs Warner Studios in Leavesden.


Ashridge 2007-09-01 035

Ashridge house

The Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban

St Albans Abbey

Trees and Bluebells, Dockey Wood, Ashridge -

Bluebells in Dockey Wood

The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012 (7528994480)

The Warner Bros. Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden

Below is a list of notable visitor attractions in Hertfordshire:

  • Aldenham Country Park
  • Ashridge. The estate surrounding the neo-Gothic house by James Wyatt (not open to the public) is National Trust land
    • Bridgewater Monument built in 1832 in memory of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. 108 feet (33 m) tall and open to the public to ascend to the top
  • Berkhamsted Castle
  • Butterfly World, Chiswell Green
  • Cedars Park, Broxbourne - a historic public park on the site of a Tudor palace
  • de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, between London Colney and South Mimms
  • Gardens of the Rose, Chiswell Green, near St Albans. Home of the Royal National Rose Society
  • Hatfield
    • Hatfield House – Jacobean house, gardens and park
    • Mill Green Watermill in Hatfield
  • Henry Moore Foundation, Much Hadham – sculpture park on the work of Henry Moore
  • Knebworth House, 250 acres (1.01 km2) of country park, venue of regular rock and pop festivals
  • Leavesden Film Studios, home of the Warner Bros. Making of Harry Potter studio tour
  • Letchworth Garden City World's first Garden City. Home of the first planned Green Belt, the UK's first roundabout, and a number of experiments in early town planning and house and factory design
    • Spirella Building
  • Magic Roundabout (Hemel Hempstead) a complex road junction
  • Royston Cave in Royston town centre
  • Rye House Gatehouse in Hoddesdon (part of the Rye House Plot to assassinate King Charles II)
  • St Albans
    • Beech Bottom Dyke – large scale iron age defensive or boundary ditch
    • Sopwell Nunnery
    • St Albans Cathedral
    • VerulamiumRoman town remains, including museum of Roman life and the remains of a Roman amphitheatre
    • Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – a claimant to being the oldest pub in Britain
  • Scott's Grotto, Ware on the outskirts of town
  • Shaw's Corner, Ayot St Lawrence – home of George Bernard Shaw
  • Stevenage – the first UK New Town
    • Six Hills Roman barrows site
  • Therfield Heath – a local nature reserve in the north of the county
  • Welwyn Viaduct to the north of Welwyn Garden City
  • Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring. One of the finest collections of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and insects in the UK
  • Watford Museum, home to a small fine art and local heritage collection


M25-M1 intersection near Hemel Hempstead

Junction of the M1 and M25 near Hemel Hempstead

390001 Watford Junction

Virgin Train at Watford Junction

Uno Paralympic games vehicle, BF59 NJE - welcome to Waltham Forest

Local bus, Hatfield

Bridge 168, Grand Union Canal, Watford -

Bridge 168 on the Grand Union Canal

Hertfordshire lies across major road and rail routes connecting London to the Midlands, Northern England and Scotland. As one of the home counties, many towns in the county form part of the London commuter belt.

The county has some of the principal roads in England: A1, A1(M), A5, A6, A41, M1, M11, and M25.

Four principal national railway lines pass through the county:

  • the West Coast Main Line from London Euston. London Midland provides local commuter and regional services mainly in the west of the county. Virgin Trains also operates high speed inter-city services through Watford Junction to the Midlands, North Wales, the North West England and Scotland
  • the East Coast Main Line from London Kings Cross. Local commuter and regional services are provided by Great Northern. East Coast runs high speed inter-city services through Stevenage to Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland
  • the Midland Main Line which forms part of the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton via Central London with services are provided by Thameslink. East Midlands Trains also provide inter-city services along the line from London St. Pancras to the East Midlands and Yorkshire
  • the West Anglia Main Line from London Liverpool Street. Local commuter and regional services are provided by Abellio Greater Anglia mainly in the east of the county

A number of other local rail routes also cross Hertfordshire:

  • the London to Aylesbury Line from London Marylebone runs through Rickmansworth and Chorleywood
  • the Abbey Line, a local line from Watford to St Albans Abbey
  • the Cambridge Line, a branch of the East Coast line which runs via Royston and Letchworth to Cambridge

Two commuter lines operated by Transport for London enter the county:

  • the Watford DC Line, a suburban metro line from Euston to Watford Junction
  • five stations on the London Underground Metropolitan line –  Chorleywood, Croxley, Moor Park, Rickmansworth and Watford  –  are in Hertfordshire.
  • the Croxley Rail Link, which diverts the Metropolitan branch line to Watford Junction, is scheduled for completion in January 2016.

Two international airports lie just outside the county Stansted and Luton. At Elstree, there is a busy airfield for light aircraft.

The Grand Union Canal passes through the west side of Hertfordshire, linking Rickmansworth, Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring.

Local bus services are run by a number of private operators. Intalink is an organisation run by the county council that manages transport and funds bus services in rural areas.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:



Bushey Academy

Hertfordshire has 26 independent schools and 73 state secondary schools. The state secondary schools are entirely comprehensive, although 7 schools in the south and southwest of the county are partially selective (see Education in Watford). All state schools have sixth forms, and there are no sixth form colleges. The tertiary colleges, each with multiple campuses, are Hertford Regional College, North Hertfordshire College, Oaklands College and West Herts College. The University of Hertfordshire is a modern university based largely in Hatfield. It has more than 23,000 students.


Rooks Nest House, Stevenage

Rooks Nest House, Stevenage, typical of many local cottages

Hertfordshire is the location of Jack Worthing's country house in Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest.

Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice is primarily set in Hertfordshire. Topographical scholars place the town of Meryton either as Hertford or Hemel Hempstead, based on how far Mr Collins travels on the post from Watford, in either an easterly or westerly direction. The former location places the Bennet family home Longbourn as the town of Ware.

The location of Mr Jarndyce's Bleak House in Charles Dickens's Bleak House is near St. Albans in Hertfordshire.

The eponymous residence in E. M. Forster's novel, Howards End was based on Rooks Nest House just outside Stevenage. In the novel, Forster describes Hertfordshire as "England at its quietest".[6]

George Orwell based his book Animal Farm on the village of Wallington, Hertfordshire where he lived between 1936 and 1940. Manor Farm and The Great Barn both feature in the novel.

Notable residents[]

Hitchin Market on a foggy morning -

Hitchin Market

Riverside Apartments, Bishop's Stortford -

Typical modern flats, Bishop's Stortford

Acclaimed seventeenth-century poet and romance writer Hester Pulter was a resident of Broadfield, Hertfordshire.[7] The town of Berkhamsted was home to the Christian poet and hymn-writer William Cowper and to novelist Graham Greene. Violinist Thomas Bowes was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. American composer Jeff Wayne (his musical version of The War of the Worlds) resides in Hertfordshire. Hertfordshire was the origin of the only English pope, Nicholas Breakspear, who took the name Pope Adrian IV.

Other present day celebrities born in Hertfordshire include Rupert Grint, George Michael, Guy Ritchie, Vinnie Jones, Victoria Beckham, Sarah Brightman, Geri Halliwell, Charli XCX and Simon Le Bon.[8]

See also[]

Portal Hertfordshire
  • Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire
  • High Sheriff of Hertfordshire
  • Custos Rotulorum of Hertfordshire – Keeper of the Rolls
  • Hertfordshire (UK Parliament constituency) – Historical list of MPs for Hertfordshire constituency
  • List of Jewish communities in Hertfordshire
  • Hertfordshire GAA


  1. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  3. ^ includes energy and construction
  4. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "The East of England". East of England Local Government Association. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "About the chalk mines". Dacorum Borough Council. 2008. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Hassan, Jafar. "UK Quality of Life Index". uSwitch. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Regional Gross Value Added, Office for National Statistics, pp. 240–253.
  6. ^ Gutenberg etext
  7. ^ Robson, Mark. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". Pulter [née Ley], Lady Hester. Oxford DNB. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  8. ^ birth_place=Hertfordshire,%20England,%20UK&sort=starmeter,asc

External links[]

Template:London commuter belt Template:Local authorities in Hertfordshire

Template:Listed buildings in Hertfordshire Template:Rivers and Watercourses of Hertfordshire

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Hertfordshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.