Hertfordshire History


Historically Hertfordshire was the site of a number of uprisings against the Crown, particularly in the First Barons' War, the Peasants' Revolt, the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War. The county has a rich intellectual history, and many writers of major importance, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Beatrix Potter, have connections there.

Hertfordshire has been populated for about 12,000 years, since the Mesolithic period. Settlement continued through the Neolithic period. Although occupied, the area had a relatively low population in the Neolithic and early Bronze Age. In the Iron Age, a Celtic tribe called the Catuvellauni occupied Hertfordshire. Three Roman Roads run through Hertfordshire: Watling Street, Ermine Street and the Icknield Way. These are three of the "four highways" of medieval England. 

Hertfordshire had a conflicted relationship with the King during the High Middle Ages. Like most counties in the south-east, most of Hertfordshire was in private ownership. Hertford Castle was used as a gaol for a series of important captives during the Hundred Years' War. This was actually a series of separate wars that lasted a total of 116 years, between 1337 and 1453. Three important battles of the Wars of the Roses took place in Hertfordshire.