"HEREFORDSHIRE, an inland Co. on the SE. border of Wales, and bounded N. by Shropshire and Worcestershire, E. by Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, S. by Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, and W. by Monmouthshire, Radnorshire, mid Brecknockshire; greatest length N. and S. 38 miles, greatest breadth E. and W. 35 miles; 532,918 acres, population 121,062. The Co. is almost circular in form, and its surface shows a series of quiet and beautiful undulations. It is watered by the Wye, Lugg, Monnow, Arrow, and Frome, also the Teme, which flows on the NE. boundary. All these streams are well stocked with fish. Of late agriculture has been greatly improved in the Co. the soil is peculiarly suitable for the growth of timber, which is very abundant. The pear and apple orchards of Herefordshire are famous; while the luxuriant meadow-land affords pasture for a well-known breed of oxen. Marl and clay form the chief part of the soil; the subsoil is mostly limestone. There are no valuable minerals, and the manufactures are insignificant."
[Extract from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]
Botzum, Richard & Catherine - The 1675 Thomas Blount Manuscript History of Herefordshire. Lapridge Publications, 25 Church St. Hereford, HR1 2LR. £10.99.
ISBN 1 899290 04 4
The extant portion of the original source from which this translation is derived (covering places K-Y) is at Hereford City Library. The first part of the original history (A-K) went missing during the 1700s, but, as the translation explains, some of it survived in extracts by others, and these extracts (Aconbury to Kinnersley) have also been included in this publication as Section I. Places K-Y constitute Section II, and a third section provides information about Hereford Cathedral, Bishops of Hereford, Nobility of the County, 'Wonders', Sheriffs of Herefordshire, and Mayors of Hereford, and there is an overall surname index.
Crow, Alan - Bridges on the river Wye. Lapridge Publications, 1995.
This is a very entertaining little book, painstakingly researched and documenting all known bridges on the Wye, past and present. Begins with bridges in the upper reaches, where the railway bridges and landowners building private footbridges to reach different parts of their estate hold sway, through to the bridges in the City of Hereford, and on to the mouth of the Wye where the possible crossing built by the Romans sits close by the new road bridge.
Eisel, John and Shoesmith, Ron - The Pubs of Bromyard, Ledbury & East Herefordshire. Logaston Press, 2003.
Another entertaining book. Almost every other building in Ledbury seems to have been a public house at some time in the past!
Harnden, J. (Ed) - The Parish registers of Herefordshire. Published by The Friends of Hereford Record Office, 1987.
Contains a map showing parish boundaries, and notes on other source material, such as Directories, Poll Books and Newspapers. Out of Print, but may be available in Reference Libraries.
Salter, Mike - The Old Parish Churches of Herefordshire. Folly Publications.
I can recommend this book personally - like others in his Old Parish Churches series, it is extremely well-researched, and for me, a regular source of reference.
Salter, Mike - The Castles of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Folly Publications.
Another excellent and interesting book from Mike.
Shoesmith, Ron - Castles & Moated Sites of Herefordshire. Logaston Press.
Transcriptions (in progress) of Parish Records of the Forest of Dean for the period 1813-1901 - Forest of Dean Family History. Includes some Herefordshire parishes, and results are free to access after a simple registration process.
Note on using IGI Batch Numbers:
It is not always easy to locate your ancestors in the IGI using the search mechanisms provided at the above LDS site. Manually typing the batch numbers into the IGI search screen can be tedious. Hugh Wallis has made an exhaustive search of the likely ranges of batch numbers and created a database of those numbers and the source records that they apply to. A very powerful feature included is a hotlink from each batch number to the actual search engine provided at the Family Search site, including the ability to enter the surname you are looking for. This makes it very easy to search all the batches for a particular geographic location using just the last name you are searching for - something that is not possible directly from the LDS site without doing a lot of typing. This is Hugh Wallis's site.
Stephen Karner is transcribing a series of entries from Herefordshire Parish Registers for the purposes of his own research. Although the entries he's transcribed should not be construed as complete for any parish, they cover a wide range of surnames, and his site is very well worth a visit.
Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales began on July 1st 1837. Copies of certificates may be obtained from either the General Register Office (GRO), or from a Superintendent's Registrar's Office of the District at which the event was first registered. If the District no longer exists, this would be the Office to which its registers have been moved.
Obtaining a certificate from a Superintendent Registrar's Office.
The original records of events, completed by the Registrar of the time, have always been retained by the District Registrar. In Herefordshire, these records were held in several different locations within the county, and in the past an application would be made to the Superintendent Registrar at one of these locations to search the local indexes he or she holds to the registers, and produce a certificated copy from the original record of the event. However in recent years all registers have been moved to the Herefordshire Register Office in Hereford Town Hall, and applications should now be made to that office. Family Records and Copy Certificates service for more details. The cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.00.
Details of all districts to handle Herefordshire registrations prior to centralisation may be found in Brett Langston's list of Herefordshire Registration Districts (1837-1974).
Obtaining a certifcate from the GRO
Certificates from the GRO are issued from copies of the original records; however there is considerable advantage in being able to search indexes to the whole country in one place, so many people prefer to do this, rather than risk a protracted search locally. The first step is to obtain a GRO reference to the event. You can then order certificates online via the Certificate Ordering Service of the General Register Office website. From 6th April 2010, the cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.25.
You can obtain a GRO reference in several ways:-
Searching microfilm or fiche at a Library or LDS Family History Centre.
FreeBMD is an ongoing project to make the General Register Office (GRO) Indexes freely available online. More volunteers are needed and details of how you can help are available on-site.
findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online) - images of the complete BMD indexes from the GRO online. Fee payable
The images are also available on Ancestry.co.uk for which a subscription provides access to a wide range of other records.
Obtaining a certificate for a recent event
The cost of a certificates issued at the time of registration of a current birth, death or marriage is £3.50 for each copy.
After registration (for instance, the following day) the cost is £7.00, providing the register is still current (within 28 days of the last entry in the register)
After a registration book is complete, 28 days later, the register is deposited with the Superintendent Registrar of the district. Until recently, this was one of the district offices referred to above, but there is now just one district for the whole of Herefordshire, and the place to apply to is the Herefordshire Register Office in Hereford Town Hall. From that point onwards, certificates will cost the same as any 'old' certificate obtained locally - £9.00.
The Prison Service Museum near Rugby houses HM Prison Service's historical collection of exhibits, illustrating the history of imprisonment from medieval times to the present day. Housed in a converted stable block, the museum contains reconstructions of Victorian prison architecture, and exhibits include the last set of Gibbet Irons used in England. Smaller items include bone carvings and paintings made by prisoners in their cells, and a nineteenth century sampler embroidered by a female prisoner from her own hair
Admission to the museum is by appointment only, please contact:-
HM Prison Service Museum,
Tel: 01788 834168
[Information compiled from "The Penal Lexicon Home Page", formerly at www.penlex.org.uk/pages/index.html.]
Herefordshire has many Timber-Framed Houses - most noticeable in its so-called "Black and White" Villages.
These buildings may be found dating from the fourteenth century, but often as late as the nineteenth. The timber they were made of was usually oak, but with elm used occasionally for partitioning internally, and floor boarding. An underlying platform, 2 or 3 feet high, built of of stone, is common.
"Pre-fabricated" would be an apt description of their building. The master carpenter would pre-cut all the sections of wood, together with (presumably) all the necessary jointing requirements. The cross frames were then raised into position and linked with the pieces prepared for the side walls. The spaces were then infilled with lath and plaster or daub on wattle. Today's 'black and white' is thought to be a comparatively modern feature - originally the timber would be left untreated, and the infill would be either ochre-coloured or lime washed. (Ref: Sanford, Anne - Old Herefordshire Photographs. Published by Hendon Publishing Co. Ltd. 1985. ISBN 08606709882888)
The transcription of the section for Miscellaneous Descriptions from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson. Included here are the descriptions of major topological features (rivers, hills &c.) and a descriptions of the county hundred divisions.
You may also find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI Gazetteer. This covers the whole of England, Wales and Scotland and can be searched by place-name (or part of a place-name) or Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (six-figure, eg SO510400). If there are multiple place-names matching the name you enter, you will be presented initially with a drop-down list of the matching place-names, and (when known), their nearest identifiable place.
English Heritage Viewfinder - site with historic photographs, searchable by county. Has some unusual ones of the Industrial Age which won't be found amongst the more usual postcard collections!.
The Francis Frith Collection - a collection of over 700,000 photographs of the UK, Europe and the Middle East taken by the Victorian photographer Francis Frith.
A Vision of Britain Through Time - information about your home area from the 2001 census, and from each British census back to 1801. Presented both as maps of the whole country and as graphs showing change over time.
A digital library of medieval and modern sources of the history of the British Isles - British History Online. Notable sources include Journals of the House of Commons and House of Lords, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, and the Victoria County History.
'SMR' - Sites and Monuments Record - Herefordshire Through Time - a record of all known archaeological and historic sites in Herefordshire.
The Domesday Book Online "to enable visitors to find out the history of the Domesday Book and to give an insight into life at the time of its compilation". Note this site does not provide the original text, but does include a list settlements existing in 1086.
Mike Durtnall is providing a country-wide collection of Historical Manuscripts Pages recording details of deeds that have been offered for sale on eBay and in auction catalogues. In most cases whereabouts of the documents will be unknown, but sufficient details of the property involved and of buyers, sellers, mortages, &c. is provided to make them a useful research tool. Added 9 Mar 2007.
Pat Johnson has a large collection of original Family Deeds. Abstracts, with name and parish indexes are provided onsite, with transcriptions of the full documents available for a modest fee. In addtion, the original deed may also be available for purchase if required.
British History Online - Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 Maps - The County Series of Ordnance Survey maps for Great Britain. Begun in 1840, this is the first comprehensive historic mapping of England, Scotland and Wales.
Access to various satellite map sites (Google, MS Live, &c.) via the convenient front end of Flash Earth.
The above Genmaps Links pages lists Great Britain - Medieval Maps, which in turn provides several maps including an intriguing Ecclesiastical Map of the British Isles in the Middle Ages, which shows the principal Monasteries, demonstrating some of the earliest centres of habitation and influence.
Detailed Maps of the area you may be interested in Herefordshire are viewable at the UK Street Map Page. The site provides a most useful service, with superb address searching and street map facilities for anywhere in mainland Great Britain.
A very comprehensive sites featuring Castles and Fortifications - CastleUK.net
The Age of Nelson - a website providing general information about the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815, and specifically searchable databases of those present at Trafalgar (and more) and of all Commissioned Naval Officers 1787-1822.
Names from Musters of the Herefordshire Militia 1781-82 are available for purchase on floppy disk or microfiche through Family History Indexes (the link to Militia Musters is part way down the page).
Bannister, the Rev. A.T. (Arthur Thomas, 1861-1936) The place-names of Herefordshire : their origin and development. Cambridge: Printed for the author (by J. Clay), 1916.
The above source is now available online, transcribed by Mel Lockie - Herefordshire Place Names.
Coplestone-Crow, Bruce - Herefordshire place-names. BAR British series ; 214 : Oxford : B.A.R, 1989. ISBN/ISSN: 0860546888
Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section: Indexes to parish returns towards the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral, ca.1678, with their Library Reference numbers. The returns themselves, which need to be consulted by personal visit, promise to be useful, as a record of those individuals who contributed, and in a number of instances those who did not. A number of the returns indicate status of the contributors, e.g. widow, or servant.
Mother Bedford - "a website devoted primarily to the history of Old-Bedford County, Pennsylvania during the American Revolutionary War period" - a fascinating site including items of general historical interest eg:
Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 - The Gazetteer, compiled by Dr Samantha Letters is a catalogue of Markets and Fairs in Medieval England and Wales. First comprehensive National Survey, with detailed information about grants of Charters to all Market Towns. Mentions some names of grantees - eg for Brampton Bryan, "gr 6 Feb 1252, by K Hen III to Brian de Brampton".
The E 179 Database (on the National Archives website) contains detailed information about over 26,000 documents relating to the taxation of lay people in England and Wales between c.1200 and c.1700. These documents are likely to contain many names.