/hahr"feuhrd shear', -sheuhr, hahrt"-/, n.a county in SE England. 938,100; 631 sq. mi. (1635 sq. km). Also called Hertford, Herts /hahrts, herrts/.
* * *Administrative (pop. 2001: 1,033,977) and historic county, southern England.It adjoins London on that city's northern side; its county seat is Hertford. It includes the two early "garden cities"Letchworth (1903) and Welwyn Garden City (1920)and four of the eight new towns planned around London since World War II (1939–45). With an array of direct road and rail links to London, it houses light industries, offices, film studios, and thousands of exurbanites.
* * *administrative and historic county of southern England, adjoining Greater London to the south. The administrative county and the historic county cover slightly different areas. The administrative county comprises 10 districts: East Hertfordshire, North Hertfordshire, Three Rivers, and Welwyn Hatfield; the boroughs of Broxbourne, Dacorum, Hertsmere, Stevenage, and Watford; and the city of St. Albans (Saint Albans). The Potters Bar area in Hertsmere borough lies outside the historic county of Hertfordshire and within the historic county of Middlesex. The historic county of Hertfordshire, however, includes much of northern and central Barnet borough in Greater London.The county lies mainly within the London Basin, but its rim, the chalky Chiltern Hills, cuts across northern Hertfordshire from southwest to northeast. Most of the county, therefore, drains southward toward the Thames by the River Lea in the east and the River Colne in the west. In both these valleys the sands and gravels of the London Basin have been extensively worked, creating a series of flooded pits used now for recreation or for water storage. The gently rolling countryside is well wooded and attractive but has been increasingly occupied by the encroaching suburban development of London. The Green Belt legislation has restricted this urban growth and helped to preserve what is left of the countryside in the vicinity of the metropolis.Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Belgic remains are numerous, but it is the Roman legacy in the county that is richest. Several Roman roads, including Ermine and Watling streets, fanned northward from London, and the outstanding settlement in the area was St. Albans (Roman Verulamium). On the same site the Saxons later built an abbey (793 CE) whose church, rebuilt by the Normans, is today St. Albans Cathedral. In the following centuries many large country houses and estates (including Hatfield, Knebworth, and Gorhambury) were built at a convenient distance from London, and a number of typical market towns such as Hertford and Hitchin developed.The 20th century has been one of special significance for the county: it has brought to Hertfordshire the two pioneer “garden cities” of the modern era—Letchworth (1903) and Welwyn Garden City (1920)—and four of the eight new towns planned around London since World War II— Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, and Welwyn (Welwyn Garden City). Even apart from this planned growth, the residential and industrial development of other centres such as Watford has been rapid. No county in England has a greater array of direct road and rail links with London, and the whole county lies within easy commuting time of the capital. Light industries dependent on access to markets, offices moving from central London to areas of lower rents, film studios, and thousands of exurbanites have in recent decades overflowed into Hertfordshire. Area 634 square miles (1,643 square km). Pop. (2001) 1,033,977; (2006 est.) 1,058,600.
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