Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled, his disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is known as "the father of the Royal Navy". Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering into England the theory of the divine right of kings. Besides asserting the sovereign's supremacy over the Church of England, he expanded royal power during his reign. Charges of treason and heresy were used to quell dissent, those accused were executed without a formal trial, by means of bills of attainder.
He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in Henry's administration, he was an extravagant spender and used the proceeds from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament to convert into royal revenue the money, paid to Rome. Despite the influx of money from these sources, Henry was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance as well as his numerous costly and unsuccessful continental wars with King Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 and following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland, his contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive and accomplished king.
He has been described as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". He was an composer; as he aged, Henry became obese and his health suffered, contributing to his death in 1547. He is characterised in his life as a lustful, egotistical and insecure king, he was succeeded by the issue of his third marriage to Jane Seymour. Born 28 June 1491 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Henry Tudor was the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three – Arthur, Prince of Wales, he was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, at the age of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, he was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three, was inducted into the Order of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York and a month or so made Warden of the Scottish Marches.
In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. The reason for all the appointments to a small child was so his father could keep personal control of lucrative positions and not share them with established families. Henry was given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin and French, learning at least some Italian. Not much is known about his early life – save for his appointments – because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding his brother's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; as Duke of York, Henry used the arms of his father as king, differenced by a label of three points ermine. He was further honoured, on 9 February 1506, by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who made him a Knight of the Golden Fleece. In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15 of sweating sickness, just 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine.
Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon the 10-year-old Henry. After a little debate, Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall in October 1502, the new Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. Henry VII gave the boy few tasks. Young Henry was supervised and did not appear in public; as a result, he ascended the throne "untrained in the exacting art of kingship". Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son in marriage to Arthur's widow Catherine. Both Isabella and Henry VII were keen on the idea, which had arisen shortly after Arthur's death. On 23 June 1503, a treaty was signed for their marriage, they were betrothed two days later. A papal dispensation was only needed for the "impediment of public honesty" if the marriage had not been consummated as Catherine and her duenna claimed, but Henry VII and the Spanish ambassador set out instead to obtain a dispensation for "affinity", which took account of the possibility of consummation.
Cohabitation was not possible. Isabella's death in 1504, the ensuing problems of succession in Castile, complicated matters, her father preferred her to stay in England, but Henry VII's relations with Ferdinand had deteriorated. Catherine was therefore left in limbo for some time, culminating in Prince Henry's rejection of the marriage as soon he was able, at the age of 14. Ferdinand's solution was to make his daugh
Henry II of England
Henry II known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou and Nantes, Lord of Ireland. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would come to be called the Angevin Empire. Henry was the son of daughter of Henry I of England, he became involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England occupied by Stephen of Blois, was made Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards became the Duke of Aquitaine by marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had been annulled. Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later. Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his grandfather Henry I.
During the early years of his reign the younger Henry restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou and Touraine. Henry's desire to reform the relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury; this controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's murder in 1170. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire at Louis' expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse. Henry and Eleanor had eight children -- five sons. Three of his sons would be king, though Henry the Young King was named his father's co-ruler rather than a stand-alone king; as the sons grew up, tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged by Louis and his son King Philip II. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest.
France, Brittany and Boulogne allied themselves with the rebels. The Great Revolt was only defeated by Henry's vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183; the Norman invasion of Ireland provided lands for his youngest son John, but Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. By 1189, Young Henry and Geoffrey were dead, Philip played on Richard's fears that Henry II would make John king, leading to a final rebellion. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon castle in Anjou, he was succeeded by Richard. Henry's empire collapsed during the reign of his youngest son, John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems.
Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglocentric interpretations of his reign. Henry was born in France at Le Mans on 5 March 1133, the eldest child of the Empress Matilda and her second husband, Geoffrey the Fair, Count of Anjou; the French county of Anjou was formed in the 10th century and the Angevin rulers attempted for several centuries to extend their influence and power across France through careful marriages and political alliances. In theory, the county answered to the French king, but royal power over Anjou weakened during the 11th century and the county became autonomous.
Henry's mother was King of England and Duke of Normandy. She was born into a powerful ruling class of Normans, who traditionally owned extensive estates in both England and Normandy, her first husband had been the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. After her father's death in 1135, Matilda hoped to claim the English throne, but instead her cousin Stephen of Blois was crowned king and recognised as the Duke of Normandy, resulting in civil war between their rival supporters. Geoffrey took advantage of the confusion to attack the Duchy of Normandy but played no direct role in the English conflict, leaving this to Matilda and her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester; the war, termed the Anarchy by Victorian historians, degenerated into stalemate. Henry spent some of his earliest years in his mother's household, accompanied Matilda to Normandy in the late 1130s. Henry's childhood from the age of seven, was spent in Anjou, where he was educated by Peter of Saintes, a noted grammarian of the day. In late 1142, Geoffrey decided t
Hereford Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Hereford in Hereford, England. Its most famous treasure is Mappa Mundi, a medieval map of the world created around 1300 by Richard of Holdingham; the map is listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The cathedral is a Grade I listed building; the site of the cathedral became a place of worship in the 8th century or earlier although the oldest part of the current building, the bishop's chapel, dates to the 11th century. The cathedral is dedicated to two saints, St Mary the Virgin and St Ethelbert the King; the latter was beheaded by Offa, King of Mercia in the year 794. Offa had consented to give his daughter to Ethelbert in marriage: why he changed his mind and deprived him of his head historians do not know, although tradition is at no loss to supply him with an adequate motive; the execution, or murder, is said to have taken place at Sutton, four miles from Hereford, with Ethelbert's body brought to the site of the modern cathedral by'a pious monk'.
He was buried at the site of the cathedral. At Ethelbert's tomb miracles were said to have occurred, in the next century Milfrid, a Mercian nobleman, was so moved by the tales of these marvels as to rebuild in stone the little church which stood there, to dedicate it to the sainted king. Before this, Hereford had become the seat of a bishopric, it is said to have been the centre of a diocese as early as the 670s when Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, divided the Mercian diocese of Lichfield, founding Hereford for the Magonsæte and Worcester for the Hwicce. In the 7th century the cathedral was refounded by Putta, who settled here when driven from Rochester by Æthelred of Mercia; the cathedral of stone, which Milfrid raised, stood for some 200 years, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, it was altered. The new church had only a short life, for it was plundered and burnt in 1056 by a combined force of Welsh and Irish under Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, the Welsh prince. Hereford Cathedral remained in a state of ruin until Robert of Lorraine was consecrated to the see in 1079 and undertook its reconstruction.
His work was carried on, or, more redone, by Reynelm, next but one bishop, reorganised the college of secular canons attached to the cathedral. Reynelm died in 1115, it was only under his third successor, Robert de Betun, Bishop from 1131 to 1148, that the church was brought to completion. Of this Norman church, little has survived but the choir up to the spring of the clerestory, the south transept, the arch between the north transept and the choir aisle, the nave arcade. Scarcely 50 years after its completion William de Vere, who occupied the see from 1186 to 1199, altered the east end by constructing a retro-choir or processional path and a Lady Chapel. Around the middle of the century the clerestory, the vaulting of the choir, were rebuilt, having been damaged by the settling of the central tower. Under Peter of Aigueblanche, one of Henry III's foreign favourites, the rebuilding of the north transept was begun, being completed in the same century by Swinfield, who built the aisles of the nave and eastern transept.
One of the most notable of the pre-reformation Bishops of Hereford, who left his mark upon the cathedral and the diocese, was Peter of Aigueblanche known as Aquablanca, who rebuilt the north transept. Aquablanca came to England in the train of Eleanor of Provence, he was undoubtedly a man of resource. He was a nepotist who practised gross fraud; when Prince Edward came to Hereford to deal with Llywelyn the Great of Gwynedd, Aquablanca was away in Ireland on a tithe-collecting expedition, the dean and canons were absent. Not long after Aquablanca's return, expedited by the stern rebuke which the King administered, he and all his relatives from Savoy were seized within the cathedral by a party of barons, who deprived him of the money which he had extorted from the Irish. In the first half of the 14th century the rebuilding of the central tower, embellished with ball-flower ornaments, was carried out. At about the same time the chapter house and its vestibule were built Thomas Trevenant, bishop from 1389 to 1404, rebuilt the south end and groining of the great transept.
Around the middle of the 15th century a tower was added to the western end of the nave, in the second half of this century bishops John Stanberry and Edmund Audley built three chantries, the former on the north side of the presbytery, the latter on the south side of the Lady Chapel. Bishops Richard Mayew and Booth, who between them ruled the diocese from 1504 to 1535, made the last additions to the cathedral by erecting the north porch, now forming the principal northern entrance; the building of the present edifice therefore extended over a period of 440 years. Thomas de Cantilupe was the next but one Bishop of Hereford after Aquablanca, he had faults not uncommon in men who held high ecclesiastical office in his day, however he was a strenuous administrator of his see, an unbending champion of its rights. For assaulting some of the episcopal tenants and raiding their cattle, Lord Clifford was condemned to walk barefoot through the cathedral to the high altar, Cantilupe himself applied the rod to his back.
Lancelot Brown, more known with the byname Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as "the last of the great English 18th century artists to be accorded his due" and "England's greatest gardener", he designed over 170 parks. He was nicknamed "Capability" because he would tell his clients that their property had "capability" for improvement, his influence was so great that the contributions to the English garden made by his predecessors Charles Bridgeman and William Kent are overlooked. Lancelot Brown was born as a land agent's and chambermaid's fifth child in the village of Kirkharle and educated at a school in Cambo until he was 16. Brown’s father William Brown had been Sir William Loraine’s land agent and his mother Ursula had been in service at Kirkharle Hall, his eldest brother John became the estate surveyor and married Sir William's daughter. Elder brother George became a mason-architect. After school Lancelot worked as the head gardener's apprentice at Sir William Loraine's kitchen garden at Kirkharle Hall till he was 23.
In 1739 he journeyed south arriving at the port of Lincolnshire. He moved further inland where his first landscape commission was for a new lake in the park at Kiddington Hall, Oxfordshire, he moved to Wotton Underwood House, seat of Sir Richard Grenville. In 1741, Brown joined Lord Cobham's gardening staff as undergardener at Stowe, where he worked under William Kent, one of the founders of the new English style of landscape garden. At the age of 26 he was appointed as the Head Gardener in 1742, earning £25 a year and residing at the western Boycott Pavilion. Brown was the head gardener at Stowe 1742-1750, he made the Grecian Valley at Stowe, despite its name, is an abstract composition of landform and woodland. Lord Cobham let Brown take freelance commission work from his aristocratic friends, thus making him well known as a landscape gardener; as a proponent of the new English style, Brown became. By 1751, when Brown was beginning to be known, Horace Walpole wrote somewhat slightingly of Brown's work at Warwick Castle: The castle is enchanting.
It is well laid out by one Brown who has set up on a few ideas of Mr. Southcote. By the 1760s, he was earning on average £6,000 a year £500 for one commission; as an accomplished rider he was able to work fast, taking only an hour or so on horseback to survey an estate and rough out an entire design. In 1764, Brown was appointed King George III's Master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace, succeeding John Greening and residing at the Wilderness House. In 1767 he bought an estate for himself at Fenstanton in Huntingdonshire from the Earl of Northampton and was appointed High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire for 1770, although his son Lance carried out most of the duties, it is estimated that Brown was responsible for over 170 gardens surrounding the finest country houses and estates in Britain. His work still endures at Belvoir Castle, Croome Court, Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, Harewood House, Appuldurcombe House, Milton Abbey, in traces at Kew Gardens and many other locations, his style of smooth undulating grass, which would run straight to the house, clumps and scattering of trees and his serpentine lakes formed by invisibly damming small rivers, were a new style within the English landscape, a "gardenless" form of landscape gardening, which swept away all the remnants of previous formally patterned styles.
His landscapes were at the forefront of fashion. They were fundamentally different from what they replaced, the well-known formal gardens of England which were criticised by Alexander Pope and others from the 1710s. Starting in 1719, William Kent replaced these with more naturalistic compositions, which reached their greatest refinement in Brown's landscapes. At Hampton Court, Brown encountered Hannah More in 1782 and she described his "grammatical" manner in her literary terms: "'Now there' said he, pointing his finger,'I make a comma, there' pointing to another spot,'where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon. Brown's patrons saw the idealised landscapes he was creating for them in terms of the Italian landscape painters they admired and collected, as Kenneth Woodbridge first observed in the landscape at Stourhead, a "Brownian" landscape in which Brown himself was not involved. Brown's sternest critic was his contemporary Uvedale Price, who likened Brown's clumps of trees to "so many puddings turned out of one common mould."
Russell Page, who began his career in the Brownian landscape of Longleat but whose own designs have formal structure, accused Brown of "encouraging his wealthy clients to tear out their splendid formal gardens and replace them with his facile compositions of grass, tree clumps and rather shapeless pools and lakes." Richard Owen Cambridge, the English poet and satirical author, declared that he hoped to die before Brown so that he could "see heaven before it was'improved'." This was a typical statement reflecting the controversy about Brown's work, which has continued over the last 200 years. By contrast, a recent historian
Norah Lofts, née Norah Ethel Robinson, was a 20th-century best-selling British author. She wrote more than fifty books specialising in historical fiction, but she wrote non-fiction and short stories. Many of her novels, including her Suffolk Trilogy, follow the history of specific houses and their residents over several generations. Lofts was born in Shipdham, Norfolk in England, died in 1983 in Bury St Edmunds, she wrote under the pen names Peter Curtis and Juliet Astley. Lofts chose to release her murder-mystery novels under the pen name Peter Curtis because she did not want the readers of her historic fiction to pick up a murder-mystery novel and expect classic Lofts historical fiction. However, the murders still show characteristic Lofts elements. Most of her historical novels fall into two general categories: biographical novels about queens, among them Anne Boleyn, Isabella I of Castile, Catherine of Aragon, her creation of this fictitious area of England is reminiscent of Thomas Hardy's creation of "Wessex".
Lofts' work set in East Anglia in the 1930s and 1940s shows great concern with the poor in society and their inability to change their conditions. Her approach suggests an interest in the social reformism that became a feature of British post-war society, she was not afraid to tackle sensitive subjects - her version of the Nativity, with backstories of Mary, the Magi, the shepherds - the innkeeper - is wonderfully rendered in "How Far To Bethlehem?" as is the ill-fated Donner Party expedition in "Road to Revelation" Several of her novels were turned into films. Jassy was filmed as Jassy starring Margaret Dennis Price. You're Best Alone; the Devil's Own was filmed as The Witches. The film 7 Women was directed by John Ford and loosely based on the story Chinese Finale by Norah Lofts, her books still have a devoted international readership, notably on the Goodreads website. In the United States, she won a National Book Award for I Met a Gypsy, voted by members of the American Booksellers Association.
Her collection was "the'forgotten book' of the year that least deserved to be forgotten". Alfred Knopf represented her at the ceremony. Here Was a Man: A Romantic History of Sir Walter Raleigh, London: Methuen & New York: Knopf, 1936. White Hell of Pity, London: Methuen & New York: Knopf, 1937. Out of This Nettle, London: Gollancz, 1938. Requiem for Idols, London: Methuen & New York: Knopf, 1938: reprinted, Corgi Books, 1972. Blossom Like the Rose, London: Gollancz & New York: Knopf, 1939. Hester Roon, London: Davies & New York: Knopf, 1940; the Road to Revelation, London: Davies, 1941. The Brittle Glass, London: Joseph, 1942. Michael and All Angels, London: Joseph, 1943. Jassy, London: Joseph & New York: Knopf, 1944. To See a Fine Lady, London: Joseph & New York: Knopf, 1946. Silver Nutmeg, London: Joseph & New York: Doubleday, 1947. A Calf for Venus, London: Joseph & New York: Doubleday, 1949. Esther, New York: Macmillan, 1950; the Lute Player, London: Joseph & New York: Doubleday, 1951. Bless This House, London: Joseph & New York: Doubleday, 1954.
Queen in Waiting, London: Joseph, 1955. Afternoon of an Autocrat, London: Joseph & New York: Doubleday, 1956. Scent of Cloves, New York: Doubleday, 1957; the House Trilogy: The Town House, London: Hutchinson & New York: Doubleday, 1959. The House at Old Vine, London: Hutchinson & New York: Doubleday, 1961; the House at Sunset, New York: Doubleday, 1962. The Concubine: A Novel Based Upon the Life of Anne Boleyn, New York: Doubleday, 1963. How Far to Bethlehem? London: Hutchinson & New York: Doubleday, 1965
Jervaulx Abbey in East Witton near the city of Ripon, was one of the great Cistercian abbeys of Yorkshire, dedicated to St. Mary in 1156, it is a Grade I listed building. The place-name Jervaulx is first attested in 1145; the name means'the Ure valley', in French, is a translation of the English'Ure-dale', aka Yoredale. The valley is now called Wensleydale. A Savigniac foundation out of Normandy, the abbey was taken over by the Cistercian order from Burgundy and responsibility for it was taken by Byland Abbey. Founded in 1145 at Fors near Aysgarth, it was moved ten years to a site a few miles away on the banks of the River Ure. In 1145, in the reign of King Stephen, Akarius Fitz Bardolph, Lord of Ravensworth, gave Peter de Quinciano, a monk from Savigny, land at Fors and Worton, in Wensleydale to build a monastery of their order; the monastery there was successively called the Abbey of Fors and Charity. Grange, 5 miles west-north-west of Aysgarth, a hamlet in the township of Low Abbotside, in the parish of Aysgarth is the original site of Fors Abbey.
After it was abandoned it was known now by that of the Grange alone. Serlo Abbot of Savigny, disapproved of the foundation, as it had been made without his knowledge and consent, he refused to supply it with monks from his abbey because of the great difficulties experienced by those he had sent into England. He therefore, in a general chapter, proposed that it should be transferred to the Abbey of Belland, closer and would be able to lend the necessary assistance required by the new foundation. Monks were sent from Byland and after undergoing great hardships because of the meagreness of their endowment and sterility of their lands, son to Alan, 1st Earl of Richmond increased their revenues and, in 1156, removed their monastery to a better location in East Witton, the present situation. Here the monks erected a new church and monastery, like most of the Cistercian order, was dedicated to St Mary. At the height of its prosperity the abbey owned half of the valley and was renowned for breeding horses, a tradition that remains in Middleham to the present day.
It was the original home of Wensleydale cheese. In 1279 Abbot Philip of Jervaulx was murdered by one of his monks, his successor, Abbot Thomas, was accused of the crime, but a jury determined that he was not to blame, another monk fled under outlawry. According to John Speed, at the dissolution it was valued at £455 10s. 5d. The last abbot, Adam Sedbergh, joined the Pilgrimage of Grace, suffered death by hanging at Tyburn in June 1537, when the monastic property was forfeited to the king; the pulpitum screen with part of the stalls can now be seen at St Andrew's Church, while a window was reused at St. Gregory's parish church in Bedale; as the monasteries kept people employed and from starving, the regional disturbances were occasioned by desperation, since the monastic system was not diocesan or provincial to make a swift transition within the nationalized episcopal system, there was no immediate resolution to tenant sufferings. Jervaulx and other Cistercian houses were as much attached to Savigny and Citeaux Abbey in the Duchy of Burgundy, as Richmondshire and the Honour of Richmond were to the Duchy of Brittany, both establishments based in France but cut off due to the Hundred Years' War and after the loss of the Pale of Calais.
The standing remains of the abbey include part of the church and claustral buildings, as well as a watermill. The lordship of East Witton, with the site of the abbey, was granted by Henry VIII to Matthew Stuart, 4th Earl of Lennox, Margaret, his wife, the king's niece, after passing through various hands, the property came into the possession of the Bruce family, one of whom was created Earl of Ailesbury in 1805; the estate was purchased from the trustees of Ernest Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury, in 1887, by S. Cunliffe Lister, Esq. of Swinton Park, for £310,000. It was purchased by Major and Mrs W V Burdon in 1971, their youngest son, now runs the abbey, the ruins of which are open to the public. List of monastic houses in North Yorkshire List of monastic houses in England Official site
Herefordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, governed by Herefordshire Council. It borders Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the south-east, the Welsh counties of Monmouthshire and Powys to the west. Hereford is the county town. Situated in the historic Welsh Marches, Herefordshire is one of the most rural and sparsely populated counties in England, with a population density of 82/km², a 2017 population of 191,000 - the fourth-smallest of any ceremonial county in England; the land use is agricultural and the county is well known for its fruit and cider production, the Hereford cattle breed. From 1974 to 1998, Herefordshire was part of the former non-metropolitan county of Hereford and Worcester. Herefordshire was reconstituted both as a new district and as a new county by Statutory Instrument as defined in The Hereford and Worcester Order 1996; this Order established Herefordshire as a unitary authority on 1 April 1998, combining county and district functions into a single council.
Herefordshire is commonly called a unitary district, but this is not official nomenclature. Herefordshire is known as a unitary authority for local government purposes, it is governed by Herefordshire Council, created in 1998 with the new unitary district that absorbed the previous administrative areas of Leominster District Council, South Herefordshire District Council, Hereford City Council, parts of Hereford-Worcester County Council, parts of Malvern Hills District Council. The Lieutenancies Act 1997 made Herefordshire a ceremonial county, covering the exact area of the unitary district. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region; the River Wye, which at 135 miles is the fifth-longest in the United Kingdom, enters the county after being its border with Powys. It flows through both Ross-on-Wye before returning to Wales. Leominster is situated on a tributary of the Wye. There are two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the county.
The Wye Valley is located in the river's valleys south of Hereford, while the Malvern Hills are in the east of the county, along its border with Worcestershire. Herefordshire is one of the 39 historic counties of England. In 1974 it was merged with neighbouring Worcestershire to form the Hereford and Worcester administrative county. Within this, Herefordshire was covered by the local government districts of South Herefordshire and part of Malvern Hills and Leominster districts. However, the county was dissolved in 1998, resulting in the return of Herefordshire and Worcestershire as counties; the current ceremonial county and unitary district have broadly the same borders as the pre-1974 historic county. Herefordshire's growth rate has in recent decades been higher than the national average, with the population increasing by 14.4% between 1991 and 2011 – the population of England as a whole increased by only 10.0%. However this has been from a lower base, with only Northumberland and Cumbria having lower population densities than Herefordshire.
The population is White 98.2%, Asian 0.8%, Mixed 0.7%, Black 0.2%, Other 0.1%. Gypsies and Travellers have been Herefordshire's largest minority ethnic group, they are made up of three main groups: Romanichal or Romany "Gypsies" Irish Travellers New Travellers or New Age TravellersRomany Gypsies and Irish Travellers fall within the definition of a minority ethnic group under the Race Relations Amendment Act. They have contributed to the development of the county, for example through seasonal working in orchards. There were 400 people within this minority group in the county at the 2011 Census; the major settlements in the county include Hereford, the county town and Herefordshire's only city, as well as the towns of Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and Bromyard. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Herefordshire at current basic prices published by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling. ^ includes hunting and forestry ^ includes energy and construction ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding Many well-known cider producers are based in Herefordshire.
These include Weston's cider of Much Marcle, Bulmer's cider, from Hereford, which produces the UK market leader Strongbow. Most employment in Herefordshire is in agriculture and services. According to Herefordshire Council's online document "worklessness", 10% of people are unemployed in Herefordshire including out-of-work, homeless and disabled and their carers. Cargill Meats and H. P. Bulmers are two of the largest private sector employers, with the Council and NHS being the largest public sector employers. There are two parliamentary constituencies in Herefordshire; as of January 2017, Bill Wiggin represents North Herefordshire and Jesse Norman represents Hereford and South Herefordshire. Both politicians are members of the Conservative Party; the Council is Conservative controlled. The Chairman is Councillor Brian Wilcox and the Leader of the Council is Councillor Jonathan Lester; the Cabinet Leader is appointed yearly by the full council of 53 councillors. The Cabinet Leader picks their deputy and up to 8 other councillors to form the executive cabinet.