Britain’s First Commercial Paper Mill
Mercers and their trade
Though the once thriving market town of Hertford declined after the Conquest, this does not mean that nothing of note happened here. Hertford’s claim to fame is that it had the first recorded commercial paper mill in Britain.
a bustling town and its mint
Today, Hertford has the atmosphere of a quiet country town rather than that of a bustling and prosperous trading centre. However, in its Anglo-Saxon days that was completely different.
It all started when – according to Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – Edward the Elder (reigned 899 to 924) established a burh (a fortification) on the north side of the River Lea, “betwixt the Memer, and the Benwic, and the Lea” [i] in 912 (though there is some controversy about the year, it might have been 911 or 913 as well). The following year, his forces built another one on the southern side.
Bede and “Herutford”
A Synod of the English Church
The Venerable Bede wrote in the Ecclesiastical History of England (731) that a synod of the church in England took place “on the 24th day of September, at the place which is called Herutford … in the year of our Lord 673”.[i] Looks like a perfectly clear statement, doesn’t it? If only it was that easy. Continue reading