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Facts

HERTFORDSHIRE

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FUN FACTS


Hertfordshire is the 36th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Hertfordshire has the 13th highest population in England.
Hertfordshire is in 11th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Once William the Conqueror had won the Battle of Hastings, he set out for London. He went the scenic route, into Kent and back along the South side of the River Thames. After being blocked at a crossing at Southwark he consulted his Norman satnav and discovered a further crossing at Wallingford. He crossed there and set up camp at Berkhamsted, now in Hertfordshire. He waited there for a while, maybe built a wooden motte and bailey castle, before the barons rode out from London and invited him to be King. He said "oui", he was French, and the Norman rule began. A bit later he ordered for a proper stone motte and bailey castle to be built at Berkhamsted. Look closely at the picture and you can see the mound, centre, top, that would be where the keep, or fortified tower, was built. The mound was called the motte and the bailey was the lower enclosed level.

  3. Hertfordshire Eats
  4. The city of St Albans in Hertfordshire is the home to unique buns called Pope Lady Cakes.

    There is a story that says a noble lady and her attendants were travelling North from London, got lost but saw the light in the clock tower of the local monastery and made it to safety. The lady then gave some money to provide cakes to the poor of the neighbourhood each Lady Day.

    Lady Day is 25th March and used to be the start of the new year from 1155 until 1752

    The cakes were made in the shape of ladies, with a body, a head, some arms but no legs. Currants may be used for a nose and two eyes. It is possible that, as the cakes were given out by monks, this is where the "Pope" label came in.

  5. Hertfordshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in hertfordshire in the last 100 years:-
    Lewis Hamilton (Racing Driver), Geri Halliwell (Spice Girl), Elaine Page (singer), Gareth Southgate (England Football Manager as at 2020), Dame Esther Rantzen (TV Presenter and Campaigner), Max Whitlock (Gymnast) and Michael Portillo (TV Presenter and ex Politician)

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. George Bernard Shaw was a very famous playwright who lived from 1856 to 1950. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1924. Probably his most famous play was Pygmalion, which he write in 1912 and it became even more famous when it was made into a film in 1964 and called My Fair Lady.

    Shaw was Irish but came to London in 1876. In 1906 he bought a cottage in Welwyn and lived there, when not travelling, until his death. He had a shed in the garden and, the reason this is in this section, the shed was mounted on a revolving mechanism so that as he worked, Shaw could follow the sun throughout the day. This was where he wrote many of his plays.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. There were several famous battles at St Albans in the Wars of the Roses and another one at Barnet. All is revealed in the appropriate Times Past section.

    However, Hertfordshire is famous for something else, something that happened in World War I. In early 1915 the Germans started to use airships, called Zeppelins, in the war. This made people living in England vulnerable to attack. However aiming a bomb from these massive flying machines, 10,000 feet above the ground, wasn't very good but they were still a threat. The problem was that although bullets could pierce the skin of the airships, they could still fly back to Germany, have the holes repaired and come back again.

    But all of this changed on 3rd September, 1916, when Lieutenant William Leefe Robinson proved they could be destroyed. Robinson was flying in a biplane and it took him almost an hour to get to the height the airship was flying at and then he fired his gun. The gun had bullets that were made to set fire to the hydrogen in the balloon and the airship came down at Cuffley in Hertfordshire. Robinson was awarded the Victoria Cross but died two years later of influenza.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. My family didn't own a car from when I was six until I was seventeen. If we needed to go on holiday, which we didn't do every year, we would either travel by train or hire a car. If we wanted to go out for a day at the weekend or in the summer holidays we would use the tube, the metropolitan line. One destination on that line was Chorley Wood and we would occasionally go there and walk on the common. It is a Nature Reserve and part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Chiltern Hills are a set of chalk hills that stretch across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. They cover an area of 322 square miles.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. So there I was, looking to see what birds I could tell you about that can be found in Hertfordshire and this appeared. It's me. Well not me but another short-eared owl, which can also be known as Shortie. Now I see why I get on so well with Richard. It said that we are unusual owls because we prefer to be out and about in the daytime. Well, I knew that. You can see us best in winter. Look out for us over moorlands and saltmarshes.

    Short-eared owls mainly hunt during the daytime where we feed on field voles and small birds. We nest on the ground in scraped-out hollows lined with grass and downy feathers. The short-eared owl is a mottled yellowy-brown above, paler underneath and has dark circles around its yellow eyes. Short 'ear tufts' provide its common name.

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 Hertfordshire 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