Herefordshire History


The History of Herefordshire starts with a shire in the time of Aethelstan (895 - 939), and is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1051. At some time in the 7th century the West Saxons pushed their way across the Severn and established themselves in the territory between Wales and Mercia.

In 915 the Danes made their way up the Severn to the district of Archenfield, where they took prisoner Cyfeiliawg, Bishop of Llandaff, and in 921 they besieged Wigmore, which had been rebuilt in that year by Edward. From the time of its first settlement the district was the scene of constant border warfare with the Welsh, and Harold, whose Earldom included this county, ordered that any Welshman caught trespassing over the border should lose his right hand.

During "The Anarchy" - the prolonged civil war of Stephen's reign - Hereford Castle and Weobley castle were held against the King, but were captured in 1138. Edward I, was imprisoned in Hereford Castle, and made his famous escape in 1265. In the 14th and 15th centuries the forest of Deerfold gave refuge to some of the most noted followers of Wycliffe. The Battle of Mortimer's Cross was fought in 1461 near Wigmore.