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.
The Bishop's Palace next to the Cathedral was built in 1204 and continually used to the present day.
The main local government body covering Hereford is Herefordshire Council.
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.
The castle was dismantled in the 18th century and landscaped into Castle Green.
After the Battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses, the defeated Lancastrian leader Owen Tudor (grandfather of the future Henry VII of England) was taken to Hereford by Sir Roger Vaughan and executed in High Town. Vaughan was later himself executed, under a flag of truce, by Owen's son Jasper.
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).
An early town charter from 1189 granted by Richard I of England describes it as "Hereford in Wales".
With a population of 58,896, it is the largest settlement in the county.