The History and Topography of
with biographical sketches, &c., and a neat map of the county
first published circa 1820, reprinted by the Hertfordshire County Council 1992
Hardback Book, 15 * 9.5 cm, 68 pages
[Map by Samuel John Neele & Son]
This is a pocket guide to the county which is, bizarrely, organised as a series of questions and answers. The following text describes the county as a whole.
Question. What are the situation and boundaries of Hertfordshire?
Answer. Hertford is one of the midland counties, bounded on the north by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, on the east by Essex, in the south by Middlesex, and on the west by Buckinghamshire.
Q. What is the extent of Hertfordshire?
A. The country being very irregular in its outline, it is difficult to give its just extent; but the best authorities estimate its length at 36, its greatest breadth at 28, its circumference at 130, and its superficial content at 700 miles, or about 450,000 acres.
Q. Is Hertfordshire a populous county?
A. The returns of 1811 give the following estimates:- 20,345 inhabited houses, occupied by 55,023 males and 56,631 females, making a total of 111,654 persons, the majority of whom are employed in agriculture.
Q. Is the climate genial?
A. Yes: being situated among the midland counties, it enjoys a mild genial climate and healthy atmosphere; in consequence of this and other advantages, Hertfordshire abounds with noblemen's and gentlemen's seats.
Q. What may be observed of the soil?
A. Much the largest portion, occupying all the western border, and extending diagonally beyond the middle of the county, is loam of different qualities; the north-east and southern districts are clayey loan; the greatest part of the remained is chalk, or poor gravel. Chalk forms the basis, at different depths, of the whole county.
The towns and villages are describes in terms of journeys and a number of famous Hertfordshire people are described. Finally there are lists of the market towns, the fairs, the principal seats, and rare plants.
For a further extract see Watford
Updated December 2005