Coordinates: 51°56′40″N 0°00′58″W / 51.9445°N 0.0160°W / 51.9445; -0.0160
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Buntingford is located in Hertfordshire
Location within Hertfordshire
Population7,879 (2021 census)[1]
OS grid referenceTL363292
Civil parish
  • Buntingford
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSG9
Dialling code01763
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
51°56′40″N 0°00′58″W / 51.9445°N 0.0160°W / 51.9445; -0.0160

Buntingford is a market town and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire and county of Hertfordshire in England. It lies next to the River Rib and is located on the historic Roman road, Ermine Street. As a result of its location, it grew mainly as a staging post with many coaching inns and has an 18th-century one-cell prison known as The Cage, by the ford at the end of Church Street. It has a population of 7879, as of the 2021 UK census.


The ford in Buntingford that gives it its name

Despite popular belief, the name of Buntingford does not come from the bunting bird.[2] Instead, it probably originates from the Saxon chieftain or tribe Bunta and the local ford running over the River Rib.[3] Buntingford was the name of the ford and its surrounding areas, with Bunting being the name of a village located six miles to its north, which is translated from Old English as "place or people of Bunta".[4] The earliest forms of the name Buntingford are Buntas Ford and Buntingeford, both of which date back to 1185.[5][6] The modern form Buntingford dates back to 1255.[a] This roughly translates to "Ford of the people of Bunta".[5]


Buntingford was first recorded in an 1185 Knights Templar land document. Henry III designated it a market town by royal charter in 1253.[6][7] Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster, relocated her market in Chipping to Buntingford in 1360,[8] under permission from Edward III. She then gave the market to the town's residents, turning it into one of England's first community owned markets.[2]

Buntingford was located traditionally within the parish of Layston – St Bartholomew's Church (Layston), previously derelict and now a house, lies about half a mile to the north-east of the town. St Peter's Church, formerly a relief chapel, is the Anglican church in Buntingford and is an almost unique brick building from the age of the 17th-century Puritans. St Richard's serves the Roman Catholic community. There is also a United Reformed Church in Baldock Road. Queen Elizabeth I is claimed to have stayed at Buntingford in a building now called the Bell House Gallery, on a coach journey to Cambridge.[9] Just up the High Street, The Angel Inn, now a dental surgery, was a staging post for coaches travelling from London to Cambridge. The town has an annual firework display at The Bury, presented by Buntingford Town Football Club. The Prime Meridian passes to the east of Buntingford. The town has many Georgian and medieval buildings, such as Buntingford almshouses, Buntingford Manor House and the Red House. Buntingford was a stop-over on what was the main route between London and Cambridge, now the A10.


Buntingford is in East Hertfordshire, a shire district in the county of Hertfordshire,[10] and the parliamentary constituency of North East Hertfordshire (formerly North Hertfordshire),[11] a Conservative safe seat represented by Sir Oliver Heald since 1992.[12][13] Previously, between 1983 and 1997, Buntingford was located in the constituency of Hertford and Stortford,[14][15] which at the time was represented by Conservative Bowen Wells.[16]

Hertfordshire has three-tier local government, meaning responsibilities for local government are split between county councils, district councils, and parish councils (including town councils). Buntingford is managed by Buntingford Town Council, East Hertfordshire District Council and Hertfordshire County Council. Buntingford is represented on the district council by Stan Bull and Jeff Jones of the Buntingford Conservatives,[17] the local branch of the Conservative Party founded in 2015.[18] Jones also represents Buntingford in the county council.[19] The district and county councils are headquartered in Hertford, while the town council is headquartered in Buntingford. The town council is based from Buntingford Manor House[20] and elects councillors every four years. The Town Clerk is currently Jill Jones and the Town Council Officer is currently Alexander Georgiou. Town Mayor Graham Waite was elected in 2018 and is serving with his deputy, Steve Bowman.[21][22]

Before the creation of East Hertfordshire on 1 April 1974, Buntingford was part of the Braughing Rural District, which was abolished on 31 March 1974. The district was headquartered in Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford and was formed from the merger of the Hadham and Buntingford Rural Districts on 1 April 1935.[23] Buntingford Rural District evolved from Buntingford Rural Sanitary District, existing between 28 December 1894 and 31 March 1935.[24]


Market day is Monday, and early closing Wednesday. The Buntingford Carnival is held every other year. There is also a classic car event held in the town each year, on the first Saturday in September. The town has a number of public houses – The Brambles (formerly The Chequers), The Fox and Duck, The Black Bull, The Crown and The Jolly Sailors. The 'World Sausage Tossing Championship' has taken place at The Countryman Inn, in Chipping near Buntingford, every August since 2014.[25]


Buntingford railway station, opened in 1863, was closed in 1964,[26] under the Beeching cuts. This was the terminus for the Buntingford Branch Line. Recently it has been redeveloped into housing.


Buntingford is home to various independent shops, restaurants and pubs mainly located in the town's high street. Buntingford has a Co-op food supermarket and a Sainsbury's Local. Just outside the town are two fuel stations one at each end of the bypass. One is operated by BP , the other by Esso that opened in 2022. The town was previously home to the Sainsbury's Anglia Distribution Centre, but this was vacated and eventually knocked down for housing in 2014. The site had previously been used as a Royal Army Ordnance Corps munitions factory, known locally as "the Dump".[27] Team BMR and Triple Eight Racing, two major UK auto racing teams, were based in the town.[28][29]


Buntingford is one of two towns in Hertfordshire using a three-tier school system (the other being Royston). In this system, children are educated in first schools until they enter middle school in Year Five, after which they join upper school in Year Nine, remaining there until the completion of sixth form.[30] This system was enacted in Buntingford in 1969 by order of the county council.[31]

First and middle schools[edit]

There is currently one middle school and two first schools, with a third opening in September 2023:

  • Layston Church of England First School is a mixed Church of England first school with voluntary controlled status, situated at The Causeway, Buntingford.[32] It is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of St Albans[33] and was preceded by two schools: Buntingford National School for Boys and Adams' Memorial School for Girls & Infants, opening in 1845 and 1879 respectively.[31] Layston has had an Ofsted grading of outstanding since 2009[34] and has a pupil population of 149, with a capacity for 150.[32]
  • Millfield First and Nursery School is a mixed community first school with nursery education, situated at Monks Walk, Buntingford.[35] The school has had an Ofsted grading of outstanding since 2009[36] and has a pupil population of 341, with a capacity for 352.[35] Animals, including a dog, are included in the school's staff team.[37]
  • Buntingford First School (BFS) is a new mixed first school with academy status that was first planned to open on the grounds of Edwinstree C of E Middle School in September 2022, before moving to its own building at London Road, Buntingford, in Easter 2023.[38][39] It will now open in September 2023 in its own building.[40] The school is part of the Scholars Education Trust and is expected to be Hertfordshire's first net zero school.[41] It will have a pupil capacity of 300.[42]
  • Edwinstree Church of England Middle School is Buntingford's only middle school. It is a mixed Church of England voluntary controlled school situated at Norfolk Road, Buntingford, under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of St Albans.[43] Edwinstree has had an Ofsted grading of good since 2018, previously being graded as requiring improvement since 2016 and, before that, outstanding since 2008.[44] It has a pupil population of 477, with a capacity for 480.[43]

Secondary education[edit]

Freman College pictured in 2007

Buntingford currently has one upper school, Freman College (formerly Ward Freman School). The school is a mixed upper school and sixth form with academy status, situated at Bowling Green Lane, Buntingford, under the control of its own single-academy trust.[45] It was established in either 1970 or 1971[46][47] as an 11 to 16 comprehensive school,[48] replacing the Buntingford Secondary Modern School which was established between both world wars.[49][47] It was named after Bishop Seth Ward and Elizabeth Freman of the Freman family as both were benefactors of Buntingford's old grammar school that closed in 1900. Previously a foundation school, Freman converted to academy status in 2011, being one of the first schools to do so.[47] It has had an Ofsted grading of good since 2006[50][51] and has a student population of 961, with a capacity for 903.[45]

A grade II listed house situated at Layston Court 20, High Street, was formerly used as the building and master's house for Buntingford Grammar School until 1877.[52] Buntingford Grammar School was Buntingford's first secondary school,[53] having been built by its endower, Elizabeth Freman, between 1630 and 1633 for 25 schoolboys and a master. It was a two-storey building, with the attic being added at a later date sometime before 1830. The school was endowed again in 1684 by former pupil Seth Ward, who had become the Bishop of Salisbury, and Lady Jane Barkham.[52] After its disuse in 1877, the building was modified into a house. The Town Council took ownership of the rest of the school's site and have preserved it as a park.[54] The school itself survived elsewhere until 1900.[53]

Notable people[edit]



  • Archbishop of Westminster Arthur Hinsley (1865–1943) died at his country retreat, the Hare Street House, which is located between Buntingford and Great Hormead.[57]
  • Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol James Henry Monk (1784–1856) was born in Buntingford.[58]
  • Bishop of Salisbury Seth Ward (1617–1689) was a pupil and benefactor of Buntingford Grammar School and gave his name to Ward Freman School.[53]



Twin towns[edit]


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC East and BBC London on BBC One, and by ITV Anglia and ITV London on ITV1. Television signals are received from either the Sandy Heath or Crystal Palace TV transmitters. [72] [73]Local radio stations are BBC Three Counties Radio and Heart Hertfordshire. The town is served by the local newspaper, Hertfordshire Mercury (formerly The Buntingford and Royston Mercury). [74]

Other media[edit]

The Beehive, a pub situated at Hare Street, Buntingford, is featured in the 1981 television adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series.[75] It reappears in the series' 2005 film adaptation as the Horse and Groom, which is named the "last pub in the world".[76][77]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Other forms historically used include Bontingford, Buntiford, Buntyngeford and Bountyngeford.[5]


  1. ^ "Buntingford (Hertfordshire, East of England, United Kingdom) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map, Location, Weather and Web Information".
  2. ^ a b Blatchley, Nicholas (22 May 2012). "Hertfordshire's Smallest Town". Herts Memories. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Where the town touches the countryside" (PDF). Wheatley. p. 5. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  4. ^ Bunting, Frank (18 May 2015). "Origin of Buntingford Name". Herts Memories. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b c "Buntingford". English Place-Name Society. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b "The Town of Buntingford – Historic Overview" (PDF). Buntingford Town Council. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Out and About". buntingford.com. 26 April 1999. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  8. ^ "A Brief History of Buckland & Chipping". Buckland and Chipping Parish Council. Archived from the original on 1 September 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  9. ^ Blatchley, Nicholas. "Around Buntingford". Herts Memories.
  10. ^ "Information on East Herts | East Herts District Council". www.eastherts.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Constituency". Sir Oliver Heald. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  12. ^ Barrow, Georgia (13 December 2019). "General Election 2019: Conservative Sir Oliver Heald holds seat in North East Herts". The Comet. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  13. ^ "About Sir Oliver". Sir Oliver Heald. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  14. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1983". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  15. ^ "The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order 1995". www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  16. ^ "UK Politics: People in Parliament". BBC News. 28 June 1998.
  17. ^ "Your Councillors". East Hertfordshire District Council. 14 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  18. ^ "Buntingford Journal September 2015 Volume 40, No. 7" (PDF). Buntingford Civic Society. p. 20. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  19. ^ "Your Councillors". Hertfordshire County Council. 14 March 2022. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Parish council - Buntingford Town Council". democracy.eastherts.gov.uk. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  21. ^ "The Council". www.buntingford-tc.gov.uk. 6 September 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Cllr Graham Waite". www.buntingford-tc.gov.uk. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  23. ^ BRAUGHING RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. Braughing Rural District Council, Hertfordshire.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  24. ^ Ministry of Health Order No. 80108: The County of Hertford Review Order, 1935
  25. ^ http://www.sausagetosser.com World Sausage Tossing Championship website
  26. ^ Disused Stations
  27. ^ Gold, Ciaran (20 February 2012). "Former Buntingford depot development could bring 600 jobs". Hertfordshire Mercury. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  28. ^ "Contact US Triple Eight Racing Champions". Triple Eight Racing. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Contact Team BMR BTCC Racing Team". Team BMR. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  30. ^ "Types of school". Hertfordshire County Council. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  31. ^ a b "School History". Layston C of E First School. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  32. ^ a b "Layston Church of England First School". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Church Foundation". Layston C of E First School. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Layston Church of England First School URN: 117390". Ofsted. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  35. ^ a b "Millfield First and Nursery School". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  36. ^ "Millfield First and Nursery School URN: 117309". Ofsted. 22 April 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  37. ^ "School Animals". Millfield First and Nursery School. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  38. ^ "Executive Headteacher's Welcome". Buntingford First School. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  39. ^ "Buntingford First School". Hertfordshire County Council. Archived from the original on 8 December 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  40. ^ "Buntingford First School". Hertfordshire County Council. Archived from the original on 2 March 2022. Retrieved 13 October 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  41. ^ "Trust appointed to run new sustainable first school in Buntingford". InYourArea.co.uk. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  42. ^ "Views sought on plans for new first school in Buntingford". InYourArea.co.uk. 30 March 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  43. ^ a b "Edwinstree Church of England Middle School". GOV.UK. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  44. ^ "Edwinstree Church of England Middle School URN: 117554". Ofsted. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  45. ^ a b "Freman College - GOV.UK". www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  46. ^ "Working at Freman College". Freman College. 8 February 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  47. ^ a b c "History". Freman College. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  48. ^ "Portfolio Lewis". www.buntingford.com. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  49. ^ "'Every human being has a value and a talent, and it is my job to help them find and exploit it'". TES. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  50. ^ "Freman College URN: 117540". Ofsted. 15 December 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  51. ^ "Freman College URN: 137002". Ofsted. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  52. ^ a b "LAYSTON COURT, Buntingford - 1101341 | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  53. ^ a b c "History". Freman College. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  54. ^ "Around Buntingford". Herts Memories. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  55. ^ "Charles Pigg". www.cricketarchive.com. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  56. ^ "Herbert Pigg". www.cricketarchive.com. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  57. ^ Time. "Death of a Voice". 29 March 1943.
  58. ^ "Monk, James Henry (MNK799JH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  59. ^ Cassidy, Sarah (8 September 2014). "Sam Gyimah interview: Life-changing events often occur in early days of learning". The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  60. ^ The Illustrated London News vol. 60, 1872, pg 258
  61. ^ Alumni cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900, entry "Harold Herbert Williams", University Press, Cambridge, 1922
  62. ^ Bicheno p. 314
  63. ^ England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 for Annie Louise Mary Macdermott: 1980 - Ancestry.com (subscription required)
  64. ^ "Welcome to Freman College!". Freman College. Archived from the original on 20 November 2005. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  65. ^ The Green Record Book, issue 1, Steve Hazon, Takeley Local History Society, 2006, Takeley Chapel Marriages
  66. ^ Holy Trinity Baptisms, Holy Trinity Church, Takeley, URL=http://www.tlcchurch.co.uk/downloads/Holy%20Trinity%20Baptisms.xls Archived 18 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  67. ^ Akpan Chapter III: Employment
  68. ^ Dod's Peerage 1860, p.79
  69. ^ Mennell, Philip (1892). "Stow, Jefferson Pickman" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
  70. ^ Ross, D. Bruce. "Stow, Jefferson Pickman (1830–1908)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  71. ^ "Twin Towns & Villages". Buntingford Town Council. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  72. ^ "Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) Full Freeview transmitter". May 2004.
  73. ^ "Crystal Palace (Greater London, England) Full Freeview transmitter". May 2004.
  74. ^ "Buntingford & Royston Mercury". British Papers. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2023.
  75. ^ Prim, Justin K. (4 March 2018). "Filming Locations for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and More". Medium. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  76. ^ "Beehive in Buntingford". Pubs Galore. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  77. ^ "Filming Location Matching "Beehive Pub, Hare Street, Nr Buntingford, Hertfordshire, England, UK"". IMDb. Retrieved 18 April 2022.

External links[edit]