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Berkhamsted

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Hertfordshire  /  Berkhamsted
(3.8/5 based on 1,000+ reviews for 7 attractions)
Things to do: nightlife, sightseeing, historic sites
Berkhamsted is a historic market town on the western edge of Hertfordshire, England. The present day affluent commuter town is located in the small Bulbourne valley in the Chiltern Hills, 26miles northwest of London. Berkhamsted is a civil parish, with a town council within the larger borough of Dacorum.Archaeology indicates that the has been human activity in the Berkhamsted area for over 5,000 years, including metal working during the late Iron Age and Roman periods. The high street follows the line of a pre-Roman route known by its saxon name Akeman Street. The earliest written reference to Berkhamsted is in 970AD. Berkhamsted was recorded as a 'burbium' (an ancient borough) in the Domesday Book in 1086. In the medieval period Berkhamsted developed into a thriving market and wool trading town. From this period, the oldest known extant jettied timber-framed building in Great Britain, built between 1277 and 1297, survives as a shop on the town's high street.The most important event in the town's history was in December 1066. After William the Conqueror defeated King Harold's Anglo-Saxon army at the Battle of Hastings, the Anglo-Saxon leadership surrendered to the Norman encampment at Berkhamsted. The event was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. From 1066 to 1495, Berkhamsted Castle was a favoured royal residence, held by many English monarchs, queen consorts and other royals, including Henry II and Edward, the Black Prince; as well as royal favourites and historical figures such as Thomas Becket and Geoffrey Chaucer. After the castle was abandoned in 1495 the town went into decline: the town lost its borough status in the second half of the 17th centuary. Berkhamsted began to expand again following the construction of the canal and the railway in the 19th century.
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