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Hereford City Wall

In the civil parish of Hereford.
In the historic county of Herefordshire.
Modern Authority of Herefordshire.
1974 county of Hereford and Worcester.
Medieval County of Herefordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO512395
Latitude 52.05427° Longitude -2.72004°

Hereford City Wall has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


About the mid C9 the main part of the town was enclosed with a bank and ditch. The defences were completely rebuilt in earth and timber towards the end of the century and extended. The earth and timber defences were later rebuilt in stone, probably between 901-40. Following the Norman Conquest a new town with a vast market place was laid out to the north of the Saxon burh, but it was not until 1189 that the town was granted its first charter and empowered to fortify the town. The new defensive works included a substantial extension to the north. Originally six gates, sixteen round towers. Remains fragmentary, but including two large towers. Murage grants almost continuous from 1224 until late C15.

Watkins (1920 but taken from the CBA RR 46 journal) gathered together the results of many years observations and established a three stage sequence of development for the defences. It provides the framework for modern archaeological research. Watkins considered the first phase consisted of a rectangular ditch, the south boundary being the river Wye, surrounding the cathedral called the King's Ditch. The second phase was an eastern and western extension to King's Ditch thought by Watkins to be the work of Harold, AD 1055. These were the Saxon defences. The third phase was the construction of the city wall in AD 1264 to take in a larger area to the north and south with the construction of Rowe Ditch. Whitehead (1982) in the same volume looking at the documentary evidence considers it almost certain that Hereford had defences before AD 896 and that Hereford was an important town by 930. There is reference to a ditch built by Earl Harold against the threat of Gruffydd ap Llewelyn referred to by Watkins above, but Whitehead considers it was more a renovation, not new works. In the 13th century documentary sources indicate the defences were in decay and that residents outside the walls had gradually gained the privileges of the town. Whitehead considers the defences were extended and rebuilt in the mid to late 12th century, partly as a response to renewed threat from the Welsh (specifically Rhys ap Gruffydd). (Herefordshire SMR)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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