Popular breed of beef cattle, the product of generations of breeding in the English county of Herefordshire. The characteristic colour, red with a white face and white markings, has been fixed for only a comparatively short time. The outstanding characteristics are uniformity of colour, early maturity, and ability to thrive under adverse conditions. Introduced into the U.S. in 1817, it has become the predominant breed in the range areas of North America from Canada to Mexico.
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Hereford is a city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester. With a population of 50,400 people, it is the largest settlement in the county.
The name "Hereford" is said to come from the Anglo Saxon "here", an army or formation of soldiers, and the "ford", a place for crosing through a river. If this is the origin it suggests that Hereford was a place where a body of armed men forded or crossed the Wye. The Welsh name for Hereford is Henffordd (or Henfordd).
Hereford Cathedral dates from 1079 and contains the Mappa Mundi, a medieval map of the world dating from the 13th century which was restored in the late 20th century. It also contains the world famous Chained Library.
An early town charter from 1189 granted by Richard I of England describes it as 'Hereford in Wales'. Hereford has been recognised as a city since time immemorial, with the status being reconfirmed as recently as October 2000.
It is now known chiefly as a trading centre for a wider agricultural and rural area. Products from Hereford include: cider, beer, leather goods, nickel alloys, poultry, chemicals and cattle, including the famous Hereford breed. The city was the home of the British Special Air Service (SAS) for many years, although the Regiment relocated to nearby Credenhill in the late 1990s
Hereford was founded in around AD 700 and became the Saxon capital of West Mercia. The present Hereford Cathedral dates from the 12th century. Former Bishops of Hereford include Saint Thomas de Cantilupe and Lord High Treasurer of England Thomas Charlton.
The city gave its name to two suburbs of Paris, France: Maisons-Alfort (population 54,600) and Alfortville (population 36,232), due to a manor built there by Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford, in the middle of the 13th century.
Hereford, a base for successive holders of the title Earl of Hereford, was once the site of a castle, Hereford Castle that rivalled that of Windsor in size and scale and this was the base for repelling Welsh attacks and a secure stronghold for English Kings such as King Henry IV when on campaign in the Welsh Marches against Owain Glyndŵr. The castle was dismantled in the 1700s and landscaped into Castle Green.
After the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses, the defeated Lancastrian leader Owen Tudor (father of the future Henry VII of England) was taken to Hereford by Sir Roger Vaughan and executed in High Town. A plaque now marks the spot of the execution. Vaughan was later executed himself, under a flag of truce, by Owen's son Jasper.
During the civil war the city changed hands several times. On 30 September 1642, Parliamentarians led by Sir Robert Harley and Henry Grey, 1st Earl of Stamford occupied the city without opposition. In December, they withdrew to Gloucester because of the presence in the area of a Royalist army under Lord Herbert. The city was again occupied briefly from 23 April to 18 May 1643 by Parliamentarians commanded by Sir William Waller but it was in 1645 that the city saw most action. On 31 July 1645 a Scottish army of 14,000 under Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven besieged the city but met stiff resistance from its garrison and inhabitants. They withdrew on 1 September when they received news that a force led by King Charles was approaching. The city was finally taken for Parliament on 18 December 1645 by Colonel Birch and Colonel Morgan. King Charles showed his gratitude to the city of Hereford on the 16th September 1645, by augmenting the city's coat of arms with the three lions of Richard I of England; ten Scottish Saltires signifying the ten defeated Scottish regiments; a very rare lion crest on top of the coat of arms signifying 'defender of the faith'; and the even rarer gold-barred peer's helm, found only in one other municipal authority - the City of London.
Nell Gwynne, actress and mistress of King Charles II, is said to have been born in Hereford in 1650 (although other towns and cities, notably Oxford claim her as their own), and a street 'Gwynn Street' is named after her. Another famous actor born in Hereford is David Garrick (1717-1779).
Hereford is also home to the oldest inhabited building in Britain, the Bishop's Palace, built in 1204 and continually used to the present day.
In 2005, Hereford was granted Fairtrade City status.
Historically Hereford has been the county town of Herefordshire. In 1974 Herefordshire was merged with Worcestershire to become part of the county of Hereford and Worcester, and Hereford became a district of the new county. Hereford had formed a historic borough and was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. On 1 April 1998, the County of Hereford and Worcester was abolished, and Herefordshire and Worcestershire were re-established as separate counties, although with slightly altered borders.
However, the new Herefordshire was a unitary authority without any districts, and so Hereford lost its district status (although, confusingly, the authority's full legal name is the County of Herefordshire District Council). Charter Trustees were appointed to preserve mayoral traditions until a civil parish council could be set up in 2000. Hereford is one of only seven civil parishes in England which have city status.
Major employers include:
Hereford also has successful rugby and cricket teams.
The Hereford Rowing Club uses the River Wye; it is a popular club with a strong junior group. The stretch of river is also used by universities and for other water sports.
These three colleges are collectively known as the "Folly Lane colleges" and in late 2005 secured £28.4 million from the Learning and Skills Council to fund a new Learning Village, which would secure Further Education for the long term in a county that has no university. Herefordshire Council announced preliminary work would begin in early 2006, though it was not until late November that the first phase began. A £2 million music and teaching block was opened at the Sixth Form College in April 2006.
Herefordshire is one of only three English counties not to have a university.
Other colleges are;
It is also home to many schools including:
The world famous composer Sir Edward Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn in Hereford between 1904 and 1911, writing some of his most famous works during that time. He is commemorated with a statue on the Cathedral Close. One of his Enigma Variations was inspired by a bulldog named Dan falling into the River Wye at Hereford, and the dog is similarly honoured with a wooden statue beside the river.
H.Art, or Herefordshire Art Week, is an annual county-wide exhibition held in September, displaying the work of local artists.
The original lineup of The Pretenders, with the exception of lead singer Chrissie Hynde, were from Hereford, as were the rock band Mott the Hoople. Actor and director Frank Oz was born in Hereford, and lived there for the first five years of his life.
Grant Nicholas of the rock band 'Feeder' supposedly brought his first guitar from a shop in Hereford as a present for passing some exams from his parents.