673 Meeting of the first Synod of the English Church.
896 Defeat of the Danes by Alfred The Great.
912 A burgh (fortified places) was founded by Edward The Elder to the north of the River Lea crossing at "Heorutforda" (Ford of the Harts) to defend aganst Danish advances. The site is thought to be in the area of Old Cross.
913 A second burgh is established by Edward to the south of the river, making Hertford a double fort. The site later became Hertford Castle.
1066 The Norman Conquest.
1087 The Domesday Book records 146 burgesses (head of family), two churches, two markets and three mills at Hertford.
Hertford Priory established by William The Conquerer's nephew, Ralph de Limesi
1170-74 Hertford Castle reconstructed by Henry II.
1216 Siege and capture of Hertford Castle by the French Dauphin.
1223 The Sheriff of Hertfordshire is ordered to construct a gaol in the borough.
1249 William De Valance becomes govenor of Hertford Castle.
1296 Hertford Castle reverts to The Crown (Edward I) after the death of William De Valances.
1298 The Freemen of Hertford elect the town's first MPs - John De Westreete and Simon De Balle.
1299 Hertford Castle entrusted to Margaret of France, wife of Edward I.
1304 Hertford Castle becomes a Royal Palace.
1332 Castle and Borough surveyed by Edward III.
1358 Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II, dies at Hertford Castle.
1360 Hertford Castle granted to John of Gaunt, third son of Edward III.
1402 Joan of Navarre, wife of Henry IV, becomes governor of Hertford Castle.
1418 Princess Catherine of France, wife of Henry V, becomes governor of Hertford Castle.
1450 Around this time The Verger's House was built in St.Andrew Street. It is now better known as St.Nicholas Hall.
1514 The church of St.Mary The Less in Old Cross is pulled down.
1536 Dissolution of Hertford Priory.
1554 First formal Charter of Incorporation granted by Queen Mary I.
1563 Parliament moves to Hertford Castle to escape The Plague.
1566 Town Hall built on 'waste land'.
1588 Second charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I.
1602 Samuel Stone, founder of Hartford, Connecticut, born in Fore Street.
1605 THird charter granted by King James I.
1610 Speed's Map
1617 Richard Hale School founded in All Saints churchyard.
1621 Detailed survey of the town by John Norden for King James 1st.
1625 Outbreak of Plague in the town.
1628 William Cecil, second Earl of Salisbury, is granted freehold of Hertford Castle by The Crown.
1629 St.John's Church bulit on the ruins of St.Mary's in the old Priory grounds.
1637 The Priory Manor is sold to Sir John Harrison of Ball's Park.
1653 Mayor of Hertford, Andrew Palmer, imprisoned by Roundheads for reading royal proclamation.
1666 Christ's Hospital School moves to Hertford after the Great Fire of London.
1669 Quaker Meeting House built in Back Street (now Railway Street).
1670 Friends Meeting House built in Railway Street.
1675 The church of St.Nicholas is demolished.
1702 Gaol built in Fore Street.
1708 Water first pumped into town.
1721 Ware Park Mill built.
1754 Young's Brewery opens close to the corner of South Street and Fore Street.
1767 The River Lee Navigation reaches Hertford, providing an important transport connection to London.
1769 The Old Sessions Hall is demolished to make way for Shire Hall.
1771 Shire Hall completed
1772 The Hertfordshire Mercury first published.
1777 (circa) New councty gaol built in Ware Road.
1793 The School of Industry for Girls opens.
1824 Clock designed by John Briant installed at Shire Hall.
1825 The first gas works is constructed in Gas House Lane (now Marshgate Drive) by the International Gas Co.
1826 Thomas Duncombe becomes MP for Hertford.
1830 McMullens second brewery opens on what is now the site of The Woolpack P.H.
1833 Completion of Hertford County Hospital (formerly The Infirmary).
1835 The Reform Act of 1832 and the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 lead to the reformation of Hertford Corporation.
1841 The Cowper Testimonial School opens in London Road.
1843 First railway station opens in Hertford, opposite what is now the Great Eastern Tavern in Railway Street.
1845 All Saints Infants School built.
1849 Outbreak of Cholera in the town kills 48.
1851 New livestock market opened behind the Ram Inn in Fore Street. Previously animals had been sold in the street.
1854 The Hertford Sewerage Diversion Act leads to the establishment of a sewerage purification works on the Kings Meads.
1855 Holy Trinity Church built in Bengeo.
1858 Opening of first Hertford North (Cowbridge) Railway Station on the new branch line from Hertford to Welwyn.
Horns Mill rebuilt and re-equipped
1859 New Corn Exchange opened.
The Ragged School in Butcherley Green opens.
1861 Church of the Immaculate Conception and St.Joseph built in St.John's Street.
Water reservoir established in Port Vale.
1862 Construction of the United Reform church on Cowbridge.
1863 Housebuilding starts on Folly Island.
Catholic Church built in St.John's Street.
1868 Christ Church built on corner of Port Vale and Balfour Street.
1870 St.Andrews church in St.Andrews Street rebuilt.
1877 The Ragged School in Butcherly Green closes.
Work completed on Goldings, a tudor style house eventually to become a Dr.Bernardo's home.
1879 Gaol in Ware Road closed.
1884 Shire Hall altered.
1888 Work starts on new Public Library in Old Cross.
New Hertford East railway station built in Mill Road, replacing the previous 1843 station in Railway Place.
Molewood Mill demolished and a new water pumping station built by Hertford Corporation
1889 Covered Market built.
1890 Main Post Office built by H.Norris.
Fire destroys Sele Mill - burns for three days.
Market Street constructed.
1891 All Saints Church gutted by fire on 21st December.
McMullens build a new brewery in Hartham Lane.
1893 Major restoration of St.Nicholas Hall in St.Andrews Street.
Mill Bridge freed of toll.
1895 A new church at All Saints is dedicated by the Bishop of St.Albans.
1897 Young's Brewery close to the corner of South Street and Fore Street closes.
1898 Evelyn Cecil elected M.P.
1900 The first electric works are built by the North Metropolitan Electric Power and Distribution Co.Ltd.
1902 Shire Hall altered.
Boys from Christ's Hospital School move to Horsham.
1903 The Green Dragon hotel is built on the site of a 16th Century Inn on the corner of Maidenhead Street and The Wash.
1904 Christ's Hospital redeveloped for girls. Eight large red brick dormitories and a new chapel built. These were opened on July 23 1906 by The Prince of Wales.
1905 Completion of The Victoria Tower at All Saints Church.
1906 The Prince and Princess of Wales, later King George V and Queen Mary, open new girls accomodation at Christ's Hospital.
Baptist Church built on the corner of Cowbridge and Port Hill.
1910 Opening of Hertford's first cinema, the People's Electric Theatre, on the corner of Maidenhead Street and Bull Plain. The site is now occupied by Hinds the jewellers.
Hertford's second cinema - The Premier, opens on Christmas Eve in Market Street.
1911 Hertford Castle leased to Hertford Borough Council.
1912 The Castle Gates are presented to the town by the Marquis of Salisbury.
1913 Record factory opened in Gas House Lane (now Marshgate Drive).
1914 The Castle Cinema opens in The Wash.
1915 Zeppelin Raid on town on 13th October. Buildings damaged include those at the west end of Bull Plain and North Road.
Port Vale School opowened (now named Millmead)
1917 Fire destroys important part of Maidenhead Street on 6th May.
Bombs dropped on Queen's Hill from German Zeppelin.
1919 Addis takes over the buildings of the Hertford Steam Laundry in Ware Road for the manufacture of toothbrushes.
1921 First council houses constructed.
War Memorial built in Parliament Square.
1922 Goldings became the William Baker Technical School, a Dr. Barnardo's Home
1923 Hertford County Hospital extended and rebuilt.
1924 Cowbridge railway station closes.
Hertford North railway station opens.
1927 Extensive demolision work takes place on Millbridge so that road can be widened and new bridge constructed.
1929 The Premier Cinema in Market Street becomes a theatre of varieties.
1930 Richard Hale School rebuilt on a new site in Peg's Lane.
1932 Clearance of slums in Bircherley Green
The Theatre of Varieties in Market Street becomes The Regent Cinema.
1933 Opening of the County Cinema.
The Maidenhead Inn, which gave its' name to Maidenhead Street, closes. The premises are now occupied by Woolworth's.
1935 New toothbrush factory in Ware Road constructed.
1938 Record Factory in Mead Lane closes.
1939 County Hall opens.
1940 German Land Mine damages houses in Ware Road and Tamworth Road.
1943 The Regent Cinema closes.
1944 Extensive damage after a V1 flying bomb lands at Mill Bridge on 2nd July.
1946 Balls Park becomes a teacher training college.
Modernised Castle Cinema reopens.
1955 Major expansion at Addis's toothbrush factory.
1957 The Cowper School in London Road closes.
1959 The Castle Cinema closes.
1964 Releif Road constructed.
1967 William Baker Technical School at The Goldings Closes.
1973 Horns Mill, home of Webb & Co in the 1950s, is demolished to make way for homes.
1979 The Castle Hall opens.
The Covered Market closes.
1980 Road viaduct carrying the A10 across the Meads is opened.
1981 Bircherley Green shopping centre built.
1982 The County Cinema closes.
1985 After 300 years in the town, Christ's Hospital Girls School leaves Hertford to join the boys school in Horsham, Surrey.
1987 Christ's Hospital chapel demolished to make way for Tesco supermarket.
1988 Tesco's opened a new superstore in Ware Road on 8th November. The site was previously playing fields for Christ's Hospital School.
1993 Addis's toothbrush factory closes.
1994 Fountain built in Salisbury Square.
1996 Major part of Hertford Castle grounds transfered to East Herts District Council as a gift from the owner, Lord Salisbury.
2012 Sainsbury's open a new superstore on 27th June.
2015 Post Office relocates from Fore Street to Maidenhead Street
2017 Waitrose close their Hertford store in Bircherley Green

Supplemental Information

Fore Street

The widest of the town's old streets, Fore Street was once the main thoroughfare through the town. It was often used for the sale of livestock until a new market was built behind The Ram Inn in Fore Street. The market later moved to Caxton Hill. Parallel to Fore Street ran Back Street, now known as Railway Street.

Parliament Square

Created in the 1920's and named after Parliament Row to the south side (now demolished) which was so named to commemorate the relocation of Parliament to The Castle behind, following the outbreak of The Great Plague in 1563.

Livestock Market

Fore Street was used for the sale of livestock until a purpose built market was constructed in 1851. This market had space for 2,500 sheep, 500 pigs and also space for calves. However there was no space for adult cattle. A further market was later built in Caxton Hill, which itself has now disappeared, making way for homes.

Corn Exchange

The original Corn Exchange was built in the early 1840's next to the Cross Keys Inn. Prior to this date, trading in corn was done behind the Shire Hall. The New Corn Exchange which replaced it was opened in 1859.

Market Street

Market Street was cut through between Fore Street and Railway Street in 1890. This meant the demolition of Beard's men's outfitters and Savage the cooper and basket maker in Fore Street; and cottages in Railway Street. Later on in the mid-1930s a bus stop was constructed in Market Street, whicg required the removal of the Thistledoo Cafe.

Post Office

The original Post Office was in Fore Street next to what is now the NatWest Bank. A purpose built Post Office was erected in 1890 by local builder H.Norris. .

Old Cross

Old Cross was originally the town centre of the northern part of the town. Free passage between the two parts of the town didn't come about until the removal of tolls from Mill Bridge in 1893.

Maidenhead Street

Maidenhead Street is so named after The Maidenhead Inn, which occupied the premises that are now Woolworth's. In earlier times it has also been known as Cordwainer Street and Glove Street. This has always been one of the principle shopping areas of the town, with shops such as Sweetings Butchers, who traded for over 300 years. The town's first cinema was also in the street - the People's Electric Theatre - on the corner of Bull Plain. In 1917 fire destroyed an important part of the street opposite what is now Stead and Simpson's shoe shop. Click here for picture

Railway Street

Once the eastern end of Back Street until the coming of the railway in the mid-1800s. It was bordered on the north by Butcherly Green, a densely populated area of slums.

Bull Plain

Bull Plain takes its' name from The Bull Inn, which once stood near to what is now the site of Hertford Cameras. It 1915, there was extensive damage here after a Zeppelin raid.


Cowbridge leads from Old Cross towards Port Vale and Port Hill. It is so called because it was the route used by drovers to get cattle in and out of the town.

St.Nicholas Hall

In 1893 the hall was restored as a parish Hall, with funds raised by a fete in Christs's Hospital grounds and monies from Hartford, Conneticut in America. It was named after the church in Maidenhaed Street, which fell into disuse, the parish being combined with that of St.Andrews. The church of St.Andrews stands next to St.Nicholas Hall.

Town Mills

Four of the town's mills were recorded in The Domesday Book of 1087 - Horn's Mill, Molewood Mill, Sele Mill and the Town Mill.

  • Dicker Mill (sometimes known as Priory Mill) moved downstream from its' position by The Hertford Priory when the River Lee Navigation was extended to Hertford. In latter years it was an oil mill, extracting oils from linseed. It closed in the 1920s.
  • Horn's Mill was at the foot of Bullock's Lane. The mill ground corn, crushed oil seeds and ground bones for fertiliser. Production ceased in the late nineteenth century and the premises were sold to leather-dresser William Webb. Chamois leather was produced at first but later a glove making business was established. This closed in 1971. The site is now occupied by housing in Tanners Crescent and Glovers Close.
  • Molewood Mill was a corn mill until 1888.
  • Sele Mill in the North Road was England's first paper mill. However, for most of it's time it was a corn mill. It was destroyed by a fire in 1890 that lasted three days. A new mill was built and continued until the late 1980s.
  • The Town Mill on the bank on the River Lee by Mill Bridge was solely a corn mill. Run by Ilotts from 1855, the buildings were damaged by a V2 flying bomb in 1944. Production ceased in the 1960s and eventually the buildings were demolished to make way for the Castle Hall.
  • Ware Park Mill, built by James Fordham in 1721, was used for griding corn and was powered by the water of the River Rib where it meets The Lee. It eventually fell into the hands of J.W.French & Co.

Butcherley Green

Butcherley Green was a densely populated area of slums inhabited by some 1300 people, on the site that borders Railway Street and is now the Bircherley Green shopping Centre and bus station. This area was cleared after the first world war and the original bus station built. The residents were moved out to new housing, probably in Camps Road, now part of the Sele Farm Estate. In 1859 the town''s Ragged School was built here, next to the Tallow House, where candles were made. This site is now occupied by modern housing.



  • McMullens Brewery started in 1827 in Railway Street and in 1830 moved to premises on what is now the site of the Woolpack Public House. In 1890 the brewery moved to Hartham Lane, taking in the Hope Brewery.
  • Nicholl's Brewery was in West Street and was demolished to make way for housing in 1965.
  • The Hope Brewery was in Hartham Lane and was taken over by McMullen's in 1890.
  • Wickham's Brewery stood in Mill Bridge where The Castle Hall now stands.
  • Young's Brewery occupied a site behind hwta is now The Sportsman Public House. It was opened in 1754 and closed in 1897, when it was absorbed into Christ's Hospital's grounds. The wall with cellar openings can still be seen in South Street.

Mill Bridge

Close the the original crossing on the River Lea, Millbridge is arguably the cradle of the town.

Hertford Priory

Hertford Priory was established shortly after the Norman Conquest by Ralph de Limesi, a strong supporter of William I. It was built on the banks of the Lee close to the present Priory Street and was dedicated to St.Mary. The lands owned by the Priory included pastures on the Meads and Dicker Mill. De Limesi eventually became Prior and both he and his wife were buried in the Priory cemetery.

In 1536 the Priory was dissolved and the property passed to Anthony Denny, one of Henry VIII's Privy Councillors. It later fell into the ownership of Thomas Willis., who in 1629 built St.John's Church on the site of the ruined St.Mary's. In 1637 the Priory Manor and it's grounds were sold to Sir John Harrison of Ball's Park and later on that century the church was pulled down. The Priory House was built in the late 16th Century. The eastern part was demolished in 1860 and the remainder in 1906.

The Archive Photographs Series - Hertford by Mervyn Miller
Hertford's Past in Pictures by Len Green
The Book Of Hertford by Cyril Heath
History Of Hertford by Dr.F.M.Page
Buildings Of Hertford, Hertford Civic Society