Thousand years of the written word
The Anglo Saxon Chronicle records the invasion of ‘Hertfordshire’ in 1011, by the rapacious Viking hordes of Sweyn Forkbeard, son of Harald Bluetooth! This is the first known time ‘Hertfordshire’ appears in the written word, and the earliest evidence for its existence. Throughout 2011 Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, the repository for Hertfordshire’s written history, will be celebrating the ‘Hertfordshire Millennium’. This will focus on Hertfordshire through the centuries, using documents from the archives to explore how its identity has been formed, and what makes Hertfordshire special today.
The documents highlighted in this exhibition all play their part in recording Hertfordshire’s history, from national events of the day affecting the whole country, such as the Wars of the Roses and the Reformation, to the more recent and real threat of nuclear attack. The heavy toll on life in towns and villages from the Black Death and the Plague is recorded, as well as personal diary entries that enable us to reflect upon local events and the finer points of daily existence, and even the prevailing weather conditions in Hertfordshire from centuries ago.
Now that we are moving into the digital age, the ways in which history is recorded and accessed is changing rapidly. Herts Memories, the community website founded in 2009, is instrumental in providing a gateway to the past, not only through the written word but also by using images and sound.