Facts about Hertfordshire
In 913, Hertfordshire was the area assigned to a fortress constructed at Hertford under the rule of Edward the Elder. Hertford is derived from the Anglo-Saxon heort ford, meaning deer crossing. The name Hertfordshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011. Deer feature in many county emblems. Many of the names of the current settlements date back to the Anglo-Saxon period, with many featuring standard placename suffixes attributed to the Anglo-Saxons.
Following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, the aboriginal Catuvellauni quickly submitted and adapted to Roman life; resulting in the development of several new towns, including Verulamium (St Albans) wherein c. 293 the first recorded British martyrdom is traditionally believed to have taken place. Saint Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill.
Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region. The county covers an area of 634 square miles. The county derives its name from a hart and a ford, used as the components of the county’s coat of arms and of the flag.
In 2013, the county population was 1,140,700, with Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Watford, and St Albans – the county’s only city – each having between 50,000 and 100,000 residents. Elevations are higher in the north and west, reaching more than 800 feet in the Chilterns near Tring. The county is approximately the drainage divide of the River Lea and the Colne; both flow south, and both are accompanied by a canal. Hertfordshire’s undeveloped land is mainly agricultural and much is protected by the green belt.