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Facts

HEREFORDSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Herefordshire is the 26th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Herefordshire has the 45th highest population in England.
Herefordshire is in 49th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Surprisingly, considering I've not been there (see later), Hereford has many royal connections over the years. King Offa ruled from Hereford Castle way back in 794AD ish while Richard I sold Hereford to its people to raise money for his crusades.

    The picture on the right is of the King's chair. From 1139AD until 1147AD there was a civil war in England. You can read about it all here. It was fought between Stephen, officially the King and the nephew of Henry I, and Matilda, daughter of Henry I. Stephen took the city in 1138AD, a year before kick off it would appear, but then Matilda retook it. Stephen won it back again and at a Whitsunday service declared himself King whilst he sat on his hastily put together throne.

    Edward I was imprisoned in Hereford Castle by Simon de Montfort, also on the website for 1258AD and a few years thereafter, but Edward escaped. Later on he built loads of castles in Wales, probably with the help of loads of builders. Anther influential woman, Isabella, used Hereford Castle as a base to begin her rule. She's on the site in 1326AD. Finally the maybe lover of Queen Elizabeth I, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, was born in Herefordshire.

  3. Herefordshire Eats
  4. It was dear old William the Conqueror and his monks that we have to thank for Herefordshire Cider Cake. They brought the knowledge of how to make cider to England and the climate of Southern England was great for growing the orchards. Nowadays cider is mainly made in Kent, Somerset and Herefordshire, which is why it is here.

    There is an annual cider festival in Herefordshire and the cake became a part of it. In the 18th century, cider was looked down on by the wealthy as it was seen as a drink for the peasants but more recently cider has risen in popularity.

    The mixture is a fairly normal cake mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and flour with the addition of cinnamon and/or ginger plus, of course, a liberal dose of cider.

  5. Herefordshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Herefordshire in the last 100 years:-
    John Blashford-Snell (Explorer and Youth Leader), Ellie Goulding (Singer), Frank Oz (Actor, voice of Miss Piggy, Yoda, Fozzie Bear and Cookie Monster among others), Beryl Reid (Actor and Comedian), Jake Mitchell (YouTuber), James Honeyman-Scott (Guitarist and Founder of The Pretenders) and Connor Wickham (Footballer).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. On the left is the Hereford Mappa Mundi which is a medieval map of the known world dating from about 1300AD. The map can be seen at Hereford Cathedral and is the biggest medieval map still existing. The map is drawn on a single sheet of vellum. Vellum is made from the skin of calves and used for writing on. It is 52 inches in diameter with black writing and blue or green for water and, cunningly, the Red Sea is red.

    Jerusalem is at the centre, the east is the top showing the Garden of Eden. Great Britain is at the bottom left. It seems that the labels for Africa and Europe are reversed (answers on a postcard but not to me). The map was based on some accounts from the time although some bits don't agree with geographical knowledge that was known. As an example the Caspian Sea connects to a massive ocean despite William of Rubruk having sailed it and said it was landlocked in 1255AD.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. King Offa was King of Mercia from 757AD until 795AD. He was very powerful and conquered quite a lot of England. However he had a problem with the tribes living in Wales and so he built a dyke (ditch) between the two countries. It took many years to build but eventually ran from Liverpool Bay to the Severn Estuary, a distance of about 176 miles. The main section preserved today is near Knighton in Herefordshire.

    Originally the ditch was about 2m below ground level, while the bank towered nearly 8m above the ditch bottom in places. The bank of the dyke was made from the soil removed during the cutting of the ditch. Much of the ditch has been filled in but it seems that the ditch had a 45 degree angle at the bottom and the sides were smooth making it very difficult to climb. The ditch could have been over 20 metres wide in some places.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. On the left is a map of England, you may have seen it somewhere else on our site. It is divided into the various counties and metropolitan boroughs. All those in white I have either lived in, visited or just driven through. The one in red, Herefordshire, I have done none of those things.

    I missed it on my first coastline journey around Great Britain, crossing back from Wales to England across the Severn Bridge. My other journeys were only around the coast of England and Herefordshire didn't feature. The second journey was anti-clockwise and I came home from Hoole in Cheshire to Essex and returned to Cannington in Somerset. The third journey, clockwise did involve driving up from Weston-super-Mare, again in Somerset, to Lytham St Annes in Lancashire but I didn't drive through Herefordshire.

    I also have to admit that as a child I always thought Herefordshire was in Wales, no real idea why, and only famous for cattle. By the way (or BTW for the younger generation) my primary school geography learning of the counties of England involved the whole class standing in a line around the wall of our classroom and being asked in turn to name a county. If the person or persons in front of you in the line failed to answer and you did, you moved up the line. My natural competitive, some would say over-competitive, instinct seriously helped my geography knowledge.

    I think I've remembered too much; I need a lie down.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. This rather good looking bird is a lapwing also known as a peewit. It can usually be found in farmland all over England. There are about 140,000 breeding pairs in the UK. At the moment it is on the Red List of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (The RSPB). That means they are worried about its survival. It has a black and white appearance and rounded wings in flight. It is easy to spot. It eats worms and insects.

    It is about 30cms long and has a wingspan of about 85cms. It weighs between 140 to 320 grams. The feathers are black, brown, grey, green, purple, orange and white and it has a medium length black beak and a rather neat hair style.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Herefordshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020