Bishop’s Stortford in Hertfordshire – A Potted History

Bishop’s Stortford earliest significant history is that of a Roman settlement on Stane Street, the road which traced the path of the now A120 between St. Albans and Colchester. After the fall of the Roman Empire, a new Saxon settlement known as Esterteferd emerged, named after the Estere family which owned the land and the ‘ford’. In 1060, it was bought by William, the then Bishop of London, hence it has been known as Bishop’s Stortford ever since.

Mentioned in the Domesday Book as having a population of 120, the town continued to grow over the centuries due to road and river access leading to a weekly market for farmers to sell their produce. The River Stort, named unusually after the town, was made navigable in 1769 & rail travel arrived in the town in 1842.

The town has undergone a mini expansion in recent times, dr storts with large scale housing projects known as Bishop’s Park & St. Michaels Mead, in addition to the demolition and regeneration of the multi-storey car park and the old goods yard in the centre of the town

Bishop’s Stortford has six outer suburbs consisting of Bishop’s Park, St. Michaels Mead, Snowley, Thorley, Thorley Park & Havers, dr storts ardmore ok plus the villages of Little Hallingbury and Takeley.

Recently, a campaign has been launched for Bishop’s Stortford to be fall under the remit of Essex County Council rather than East Herts Council.

Some interesting facts about Bishop’s Stortford.

The Bishop’s Stortford Mural depicts the history of the town from the Ice Age up to 1990 & hangs in the Main Hall at the Rhodes Centre. Comprising of seven panels measuring a total of 28 feet (8.4 metres) by five feet (1.5 metres) high, it shows the buildings and architectural details, the modes of transport, the trees and some of the local personalities. The panels of the Mural were worked by 142 townspeople, including members of the Embroiderers’ Guild, the Townswomen’s Guild, attorney members of the church groups in Bishop’s Stortford and Little Hallingbury, school children and many needleworkers known personally to the sponsor. Buildings were often worked by people with a connection to them.

The Bishop’s Stortford Arsonist. In the spring of 1825, a number of buildings in Bishop’s Stortford were set ablaze and caused great alarm in the town. A committee was formed and a £500 reward offered for information on the arsonist. A number of threatening letters were soon received, with a warning stating 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 eventually transported to Australia as a convict.

The River Stort is unusually named after the town, and not the town after the river. When early cartographers came to the town in the early 1600s, bankruptcy lawyer they reasoned that the town must have been named for the ford over the Stort and assumed the river was called the Stort. It has been ever since. Until then, there was no official name for the river.


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