A characterisation of the Historic Townscape of Central Hereford
By Nigel Baker
Herefordshire Archaeology report no.266 (2010)
The background and purpose of this study: This study was commissioned by English Heritage as part of the second (assessment) stage of the Hereford Urban Archaeology Strategy project, which commenced in February 2006 with work on the Hereford Urban Archaeological Database (UAD). Its primary purpose is to examine the townscape of central Hereford from an archaeological perspective, in order to determine what its historical components are, their state of preservation and their significance – both from the point of view of their historical importance and for their contribution to local distinctiveness and sense of place. It also looks at how the townscape as a whole has evolved over time. In short, it is a form of historic landscape characterisation, undertaken in an urban context. It takes the view that the present-day townscape is a historic landscape in just the same way as any ancient field system or deserted medieval village. It is an artefact, worked over many centuries, and is therefore as much a part of the archaeological resource as the stratified deposits that underlie the city streets.
The study also has immediate relevance for townscape management and conservation. The timetabling of this work (April-August 2009) was designed so that its conclusions and principal components could inform and support the process of Conservation Area Appraisal by Herefordshire Council’s Buildings Conservation Team. In the longer term, the study is also designed to form part of the evidence base to support the Local Development Framework (LDF), scheduled for completion and adoption in stages between 2011 and 2013.
Scope: The study is limited to the historic core of Hereford which, for precision and simplicity, has been defined here as those parts of the city and suburbs shown by Isaac Taylor’s map of Hereford to have been built up by 1757. Within this area, all periods contributing to the townscape in its present-day form are considered.