Facts about Bishop’s Stortford
Bishop’s Stortford is a historic market town in Hertfordshire, England, just west of the M11 motorway on the county boundary with Essex, 27 miles north-east of central London, and 35 miles by rail from Liverpool Street station. Bishop’s Stortford had an estimated population of 40,089 in 2017. The Rhodes Arts Complex incorporates a theatre, cinema, dance studio and conference facilities. Situated within the complex, in the house where Cecil Rhodes was born, is the Bishop’s Stortford Museum.
Nothing is known of Bishops Stortford until it became a small Roman settlement on Stane Street, the Roman road linking Braughing and Colchester. The settlement was probably abandoned in the 5th century after the break-up of the Roman Empire. A new Saxon settlement grew up on the site, named Steort-ford, the ford at the tongue of land. In 1060, William, Bishop of London, bought Stortford manor and estate for £8, leading to the town’s modern name.
In March and April 1825, a number of buildings in Bishop’s Stortford were set alight, causing great alarm. A committee that formed offered a £500 reward for information on the arsonist. Several threatening letters were received, warning, for example, that “Stortford shall be laid in ashes”. Thomas Rees was arrested and found guilty on the charge of sending the letters, but not of arson. He was transported to Australia as a convict.