History of Hereford

Welcome to Hereford Historic City of the Marches

To fellow Tango dancers

I have been asked to write an introduction to the history of Hereford for the Hereford Tango website. It is only a taster as the history spans some two and a half thousand years. I hope you find it interesting and maybe want to join a guided walk to find out more.

Main source of information is from Ron Shoesmith History of Hereford.
Happy dancing.



Have you ever wondered why Hereford is called the City of the Marches or wondered about the history that lies beneath your feet as you walk around Hereford City and dance in its buildings.

March, derived from the Anglo- Saxon ‘mearc’ means boundary. The Welsh Marches refers to the boundary between England and Wales, an area historically disputed and over which great battles were fought.

As far back as Offa, the Saxon King of Mercia in the 8th Century, there was trouble between the English and the Welsh over this disputed area. The famous Offa’s Dyke was built in response to this.

Offa was very powerful. He had a palace just outside Hereford and his own mint. He had great influence over Hereford and its people.

In 1055 an attack on Hereford City by the Welsh Princes destroyed the wooden Saxon Cathedral and caused chaos and destruction throughout the city.

William the Conqueror may have won the Battle of Hastings 1066, but he too had trouble with the Welsh.

His remedy was to give to his favoured barons, a piece of land each along the Welsh border. These barons were known as Marcher Lords and were very powerful, building a string of castles to defend their territory.

Kinnersley Castle is a Marcher Lord Welsh Border Castle. Some of you will remember dancing there.

Hereford Town Hall, a favourite tango venue. This beautiful brick and terracotta building houses four black marble columns in the foyer and either side of the staircase. Made of Otta Phyllite, which comes from Central Norway. The four columns would cost more to buy today than the entire building cost in 1904.

The Green Dragon, is another favourite venue. This is where Owen Tudor, Grandfather to Henry 7th who started the Tudor Dynasty, was held after his defeat at Mortimers Cross during the Wars of the Roses. From here he was taken to High Town and executed.

Hereford has been the site of many battles. Many defended from its magnificent castle that stood on Castle Green.

It was in Hereford’s Bishops Palace that Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer plotted to kill Edward 2nd and we all know how that ended!

Kings, Queens and famous people have all played their part to make Hereford’s history.

Do you know why Hereford Cathedral is known as the Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin and St Ethelbert the King? Who was Ethelbert, what was his association with Hereford?

If you would like answers to these questions and much more why not join one of the Hereford Guild of Guides daily walks that run from May to September. Or make a private booking anytime of the year. The walks are historical and themed.

For more information check the website www.herefordguidedwalks.org.uk

Also May to September 2015 there is a special Magna Carta exhibition in Hereford Cathedral. Check Cathedral website www.herefordcathedral.org/

The Three Choirs Festival is hosted by Hereford again this year from 25th July to 1st August. Argentine Tango features on Thursday July 30th and August 1st. Do come and join us. Information on Cathedral website www.3choirs.org/