The Town Crest

Armorial Bearings were first granted to Bishop’s Stortford Urban District Council in 1952 but were transferred to the Town Council in 1974 following reorganisation of local government. The symbolism of these bearings, used as the Town Crest, is as follows: the Mitre represents the Bishops of London to whom the town of Stortford was sold around 1060; the Mural Crown represents Waytemore Castle which once dominated the town, and the blue and white bands on the shield represent the River Stort and the ford across it. The Cross Pomme represents St Michael in allusion to St Michael’s Church and the sheaf of Barley commemorates agriculture and the malting industry, which, for many years, were the backbone of the town’s prosperity. The green of the shield reminds the people of Bishop’s Stortford that theirs is a town set in, and taking its being from, the countryside which surrounds it.
The motto, which reads in Latin ‘Pro Deo et Populo’ can best be translated as ‘for God and the People’.

Town Twinning

Since 1967, Bishop’s Stortford has been twinned with the French town of Villiers-sur-Marne, 12 miles east of Paris, and the German town of Friedberg Hessen, approximately 20 miles from Frankfurt. Both town names have since been adopted as road names at Thorley Park.

Town twinning originated after the Second World War, the idea formed by an outward looking, non-political, non-sectarian movement whose primary objective was to foster more goodwill in the world and improve understanding between nations by forging links between individuals.

Tourist Information

Bishop’s Stortford Tourist Information Centre is based at 2 Market Square, situated at the bottom of High Street less than a 10 minute walk from the railway station. Filled with both local and national information, the friendly staff welcomes enquiries from foreign and British visitors as well as local residents.

Bishop’s Stortford’s Tourist Office is linked with other Tourist Information Centres throughout the country, so if you are planning a holiday or a visit to any part of Britain, pick up a brochure here before you go. If they don’t have what you want it can be ordered, and staff may even be able to book your accommodation for you.

The Tourist Information Centre sells many items of local interest including: maps, local history guides, walking and cycling publications, souvenirs and postcards.
Tel: +44(0)1279 655831

Located on the Hertfordshire/Essex border, Bishop’s Stortford gives easy access to the best of what these two counties have to offer.


One of the counties most picturesque villages, Much Hadham, lies in the valley of the River Ash and is made up of mostly 16th and 17th century cottages. In the High Street is The Forge Museum housing a working forge as well as an authentic Victorian Cottage Garden. Close by is the small but renowned Hopleys Garden Centre, specialising in popular and not so common plants. +44(0)1279 842509
Nearby Perry Green is the village where Sculptor Henry Moore made his home until his death in 1986. Visits to the Henry Moore Foundation (www.henry-moore-fdn.co.uk) can be arranged by telephoning +44(0)1279 843333
Sawbridgeworth is approximately seven miles south of Bishop’s Stortford. Recorded in the Domesday Book the town retains its historic character and has many welcoming pubs and small, specialist shops.

Braughing was once a busy and lively Roman settlement, second only to St Albans in its importance. Now a typical picturesque small village of East Herts it lies in the valley of the River Quinn and comprises of numerous timber-framed houses, dominated by the church spire.
For more information on villages in East Herts you can pick up a guide from the Tourist Information Centre in Windhill, Bishop’s Stortford or phone: +44(0)1279 655261


Stansted Mountfitchet is just five miles from Bishop’s Stortford and can be reached by road or rail. Places of interest include: Mountfitchet Castle (www.mountfitchetcastle.com) – a recreation on the original site of a Norman village. Telephone +44(0)1279 813237; House on the Hill Toy Museum +44(0)1279 813237; Stansted Windmill +44(0)1279 813214, considered to be one of the best-preserved tower mills in the country.
Thaxted is very much a traditional Essex town; the church and Guildhall should not be missed. The town hosts its own music festival and Morris Dancers hold regular performances throughout the summer.

Great Dunmow is famous for its Flitch Trials, a ceremony dating from 1104. A flitch of bacon is awarded ‘to whoever does not repent his marriage nor quarrel, differ or dispute with his wife within a year and a day after his marriage’. The Trials are held every four years and the successful couple are carried along the main street on a chair.

A journey through this part of Essex wouldn’t be complete without visiting the magnificent Audley End House (www.english-heritage.org.uk) near Saffron Walden. Built between 1603-1616 the house was once one of the largest in the country and used by royalty. What remains of this Jacobean house is still substantial and surrounded by parkland and gardens.

Uttlesford District Council produces a leaflet containing details of the many places to visit in this area of Essex. For further information on any of the above, contact Saffron Walden Tourist Information on +44(0)1799 510444 or Bishop’s Stortford Tourist Information (www.bishopsstortford.org/general_tourist_info.htm) on +44(0)1279 655831 or visit their websites



copyright© Paul Ailey 2004