1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Herford

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HERFORD, a town in the Prussian province of Westphalia, situated at the confluence of the Werre and Aa, on the Minden & Cologne railway, 9 m. N.E. of Bielefeld, and at the junction of the railway to Detmold and Altenbeken. Pop. (1885) 15,902; (1905) 24,821. It possesses six Evangelical churches, notably the Münsterkirche, a Romanesque building with a Gothic apse of the 15th century; the Marienkirche, in the Gothic style; and the Johanniskirche, with a steeple 280 ft. high. The other principal buildings are the Roman Catholic church, the synagogue, the gymnasium founded in 1540, the agricultural school and the theatre. There is a statue of Frederick William of Brandenburg. The industries include cotton and flax-spinning, and the manufacture of linen cloth, carpets, furniture, machinery, sugar, tobacco and leather.

Herford owes its origin to a Benedictine nunnery which is said to have been founded in 832, and was confirmed by the emperor Louis the Pious in 839. From the emperor Frederick I. the abbess obtained princely rank and a seat in the imperial diet. Among the abbesses was the celebrated Elizabeth (1618-1680), eldest daughter of the elector palatine Frederick V., who was a philosophical princess, and a pupil of Descartes. Under her rule the sect of the Labadists settled for some time in Herford. The foundation was secularized in 1803. Herford was a member of the Hanseatic League, and its suzerainty passed in 1547 from the abbesses to the dukes of Juliers. In 1631 it became a free imperial town, but in 1647 it was subjugated by the elector of Brandenburg. It came into the possession of Westphalia in 1807, and in 1813 into that of Prussia.

See L. Hölscher, Reformationsgeschichte der Stadt Herford (Gütersloh, 1888).