Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HEREFORDSHIRE, or Hereford

HEREFORDSHIRE, or Hereford, an inland county of England, contiguous to Wales. It is bounded, on the NW, by Radnor; on the N, by Salop; on the NE, by Worcester; on the E, by Worcester and Gloucester; on the SE, by Gloucester; on the S, by Gloucester and Monmouth; on the W, by Brecon and Radnor. Its outline has considerable curves and saliencies, yet may be described as proximately circular. Its greatest length, from N to S, is 38 miles; its greatest breadth, from E to W, is 35 miles; its circumference is about 180 miles; and its area is 534, 823 acres. Its northern boundary is traced, at intervals and with not much aggregate, by the river Teme; and its southern boundary is traced, to a large aggregate, by the rivers Wye and Monnow. Its eastern border is grandly marked, to a considerable extent, by the Malvern hills; its western border is still more grandly marked, and to a greater extent, by the Black mountains; and its interior is a rich diversity of hill and valley, closely resembling some parts of Kent, well wooded, beautiful, and picturesque. The chief streams, besides the Teme, the Wye, and the Monnow, are the Lugg, the Arrow, the Frome, the Ledden, and the Dore. The streams, with their flanks, are generally charming; and the Wye, which not only traces part of whe boundary, but also traverses very much of the interior, is pre-emineutly lovely. A tract in the NW, contiguous to Wales and to Salop, and a tract in the E, between the rivers Frome and Wye, consist of upper silurian rocks; and nearly all the rest of the county is old red sandstone. Iron was worked by the Romans; limestone is found at Ledbury, Aymestry, and Woolhope; and small quantities of fullers' earth, pipe clay, and ochre occur in some places. The county formed a considerable part of Siluria; and it shares largely in the honours justly ascribed to that region by the poet Dyer:- '' Pleasant Siluria, land of various views, Hills, rivers, woods, and lawns, and purple grovcs Pomaceons, mingled with the curling growth Of tendril hops, that flauut upon the poles. the rest of the area, excepting what is occupied by towns, buildings, ways, and water, is in cultivation. The soil, in general, is a mixture of clay and marl, with occasional beds of gravel; and is peculiarly adapted to the growth of orchard and timber trees. Estates and farms are large; farm buildings are middle rate; and farm tenancy is commonly by the year. Wheat, oats, barley, and turnips are the chief crops; pease and vetches also are much grown; and hops, with average produce of 5 cwt. per acre, occupy about 11, 000 acres. Orchards are everywhere numerons; have been cultivated since the time of Charles I.; occupy, in some instauces, from 30 to 40 acres each; contain about twenty choice. varieties of apple for cider, and about seven of pear for perry; and yield on the average, from 300 to 375 bushels of fruit, per acre. The oxen are a very fine breed, of large size and red-brown colour, with white faces and soft coats. The sheep are a cross betweeu the Ryeland and the Leicester; nuinber about 500, 000; and yield about 10, 000 packs of wool. The horses are of medinm goodness; and many draught ones are reared. Manufactures are on a very small scale, and consist chicfly in gloves, hats, and woollens. The principal canals are the Ledbury and Gloucester, and the Leominster and Tenbury. One railway, coming in from Gloucestershire, goes throngh the centre of the county by way of Ross, Hereford, and Leominster; three others go from Hereford toward respectively Abergavenny, Brecon, and Worcester; two others go from Leominster respectively westward to Kington, and eastward past Bromyard; and another goes from Wooferton, past Tenbury, toward Bewdley. The roads have an aggregate of about 1, 765 miles. Herefordshire contains 221 parishes, parts of nine others, and several extra-parochial tracts; and is divided into the boroughs of Hereford and Leominster, and the hundreds of Broxash, Ewyas-Lacy, Greytree, Grimsworth, Huntington, Radlow, Stretford, Webtree, Wigmore, Wolphy, and Wormelow. The act of 1844, for consolidating detached parts of counties, severed from Herefordshire places amonnting to 4, 705 acres, and annexed to it places amonnting to 8, 672 acres. The registration county excludes 121, 749 acres of the electoral county; includes 16, 473 acres of adjoining electoral counties; comprises altogether 425, 580 acres; and is divided into the districts of Ledbury, Bromyard, Leominster, Weobly, Hereford, and Ross. The market towns are Hereford, Leominster, Ledbury, Ross, Bromyard, Kington, and Weobly; and the first four of these were the only towns which, in 1861, had upwards of 2, 000 inhabitants. The chief seats are Eastnor-Castle, Brampton-Bryan, Kentchurch, Berrington, Foxley, Garnons, Holm-Lacy, Knill Court, Moccas, Walfrelow, Winsley, Harewood, Allensmere, Bromesberrow, Brockhampton, Croft Castle, Coombe, Downton, Elton Hall, Gaines, Garnstone, Goodrich Court, Haffield House, Hampton Court, Holm House, Hope-End, Longworth Castle, Lower Moor, Ludford, Much Marcle, Mynde Park, Newhill Court, Rotherwas, Rudhall, Sellersbrook, Shobden Coni.t, Stoke-Edith, Sufton, Tibberton, Titley, Treago, and Whitfield. Real property, in 1 815, £629, 156; in 1843, £805, 319; in 1860, £875, 041, - of which £894 were in quarries, £168 in fisheries, £3, 181 in canals, and £37, 430 in railways. Herefordshire is governed by a lord-lieuteuant, a sheriff, and about 250 magistrates. It is in the home military district, and in the Oxford judicial circuit. The assizes and the quarter sessions are all held at Hereford. The police force, in 1863, comprised 28 men for Hei.eford city, at an annual cost of £1, 658; 8 men for Leominster, at a cost of £526; and 63 men for the rest of the county, at a cost of £4, 835. The crimes committed, in 1863, were 79 in Hereford, 13 in Leominster, and 195 i the rest of the county; the persons apprehended were 59 in Hereford, 15 in Leominster, and 106 in the rest of the county; the known depredators, or suspected persons at large, were 109 in Hereford, 68 in Leominster, and 617 in the rest of the county; and the houses of bad character were 38 in Hereford, 16 in Leominster, and 66 in the rest of the conuty. The county jail and a city jail are in Hereford. Three members are sent to parlianient by the county, exclusive of the boroughs; two by Hereford and one by Leominster. The place of election for the conuty is Hereford; and there are 7 polling placesThe number of county electors, in 1868, was 7, 179. Part of the district of Mathon-ST. James, North Hill, is in the diocese of Worcester; and all the rest of the county is in the diocese of Hereford. The Poor rates for the registration county, in 1863, were £57, 191. Marriages in 1862, 689, -of which 146 were not according to the rites of the Established church; births, 3, 255, -of which 260 were illegitimate; deaths, 1, 934, -of which 396 were at ages under 5 years, and 94 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 6, 909; births, 29, 672; deaths, 20, 757. The places ofworship within the electoral county, in 1851, were 243 of the Church of England, with 49, 312 sittings; 20 of Independents, with 2, 892 s.; 16 of Baptists, with 3, 494 s.; 4 of Quakers, with 1, 050 s.; 2 of Moravians, with 320 s.; 44 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 4, 502 s.; 71 of Primitive Methodists, with 4, 496 s.; 3 of Calvinistic Methodists, with 440 s.; 2 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 526 s.; 5 of Brethren, with 508 s.; 7 of isolated congregations, with 1, 020 s.; 4 of Latter Day Saints, with 115 s.; and 5 of Roman Catholics, with 900 s. The schools were 149 public day schools, with 8, 763 scholars; 154 private day schools, with 2, 697 s.; 161 Sunday schools, with 9, 150 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 66 s. Pop., in 1801, 88, 436; in 1821, 102, 669; in 1841, 113, 272; in 1861, 123, 712. Inhabited houses, 25, 314; uninhabited, 815; building, 170. The territory now forming Herefordshire, as already noted, was, in the time of the ancient Britons, part of the country of the Silures; and it then bore the name of Ercinac. The Silures made most strenuons opposition to the Romans; they had a great general, the famous Caractacus, who put the Roman tactics to severe test; yet they were defeated, even under Caractacus, by O. Scapula, at Coxwell Knoll; and they suffered final reduction, in the time of Vespasian, by Julins Trintinus. Herefordshire then became part of Britannia Secunda; and on the recall of the Roman legions from Britain, it sustained repeated invasion by the Picts and Scots; but, after the calling in of Hengist and Horsa by Vortigern, it was one of the last of the English territories which submitted to the Saxon authority. It at length became part of Mercia; and it was then so vexed and harassed by the Welsh, that Offa, the great king of Mercia, constructed the very long defensive work still known as Offa's dyke, for protection of its inhabitants. It nevertheless was disastronsly overrun, in 1055, by Llewelyn ap Gryffydd, Prince of Wales; and, eleven years later, it made a ready and complete submission to the Norman yoke. The Welsli continued to tronble it; but were kept in check, or repelled, by special local measnres, first of the Conqueror, next of Edward I. Strong movements were made in it, on the rebel side, in the Barons' wars, but were put down ignominionsly by the Crown. Owen Glendower, in 1402, overran and ravaged it, defeated the Earl of March who defended it, and threw him into a dungeon. An army of 23, 000 was raised in it, in 1461, on the side of the Yorkists; went into battle with the forces of Edward VI., or rather of Queen Margaret, at Mortimer's Cross, near Leominster; and totally defeated them. The only subsequent events of any note are those mentioned, in our article on Hereford, as having occurred in that city, in connexion with the civil wars of Charles I. A cromlech is on King Arthur's hill. Ancient British camps, or camps which may have been originally British, are at Hereford beacon, Dynedor, Eaton hill, Great Doward, Little Doward, Geer, Caradoc, Berrington, Credenhill, Aconbury, Croft, Wapley, Burghill, Wall hill , Ivington, Pisbury, and St. Ethelbert's. Roman camps or stations are at Kenchester, Trewyn, Grandison, Stretton, Brandon, and Bury Hill near Ross. Watling street en ters near Leintwardine, passes by Kenchester, and quits the county near Longtown; a Roman road from Gloncester also enters near Ross; and a branch of one froni Worcester goes to Kenchester. Offa's dyke tonches the W side of the county. No fewer than twenty-eight castles or forts are known to have been erected for defence against the Welsh; but most of them have been demolished; and the chief ones now standing, or having any remains, are at Goodrich, Clifford, Bredwardine, Brampton-Bryan, Wilton, Penyard, Huntington, Lyon Hall, Sugwas, and Wigmore. The principal old ecclesiastical fabrics, whether monasteries or churches, are at Aconbury, Flanesford, Abbeydore, Leominster, Hereford, Garway, Wigmore, Holm-Lacy, Craswall, Monkland, and Wormsley.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "an inland county"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Herefordshire AncC
Place: Herefordshire

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