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Hereford, a base for successive holders of the title Earl of Hereford, was once the site of a castle, Hereford Castle, which rivalled that of Windsor in size and scale.This was a base for repelling Welsh attacks and a secure stronghold for English kings such as King Henry IV when on campaign in the Welsh Marches against Owain Glyndŵr.

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On 31 July 1645 a Scottish army of 14,000 under Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven besieged the city but met stiff resistance from its garrison and inhabitants.

They withdrew on 1 September when they received news that a force led by King Charles was approaching.

Former Bishops of Hereford include Saint Thomas de Cantilupe and Lord High Treasurer of England Thomas Charlton.

The city gave its name to two suburbs of Paris, France: Maisons-Alfort (population 54,600) and Alfortville (population 36,232), due to a manor built there by Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford, in the middle of the 13th century.

The city was finally taken for Parliament on 18 December 1645 by Colonel Birch and Colonel Morgan.

King Charles showed his gratitude to the city of Hereford on 16 September 1645 by augmenting the city's coat of arms with the three lions of Richard I of England, ten Scottish Saltires signifying the ten defeated Scottish regiments, a very rare lion crest on top of the coat of arms signifying "defender of the faith" and the even rarer gold-barred peer's helm, found only on the arms of one other municipal authority: those of the City of London.

With a population of 58,896, it is the largest settlement in the county.

The name "Hereford" is said to come from the Anglo-Saxon "here", an army or formation of soldiers, and the "ford", a place for crossing a river.

Much of the county of Herefordshire was Welsh-speaking, as reflected in the Welsh names of many places in the county (see History of Herefordshire).

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