Berkhamsted

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Coordinates: 51°46′N 0°34′W / 51.76°N 0.56°W / 51.76; -0.56

Berkhamsted (pronounced /ˈbɝːkəmstɛd/) is an affluent historic town in England which is situated in the west of Hertfordshire, between the towns of Tring and Hemel Hempstead. It is also a civil parish with a designated Town Council within the administrative district (and borough since 1984) of Dacorum.[4]

The town is most well known for its castle, now in ruins but once a popular country retreat of the Norman kings and the site from which William the Conqueror ascended to the English throne in 1066. As such many locals claim Berkhamsted to be the true capital city of England.[citation needed] More recently, Berkhamsted is known as the home of the British Film Institute's BFI National Archive at King's Hill,[5] one of the largest film and television archives in the world, which was generously endowed by the late John Paul Getty.

The name of the town has been spelt in a variety of ways over the years, and the present spelling was adopted in 1937. Earlier spellings included Berkhampstead, Muche Barkhamstede, Berkhamsted Magna, Great Berkhamsted and Berkhamstead. The earliest recorded form of the name is the Old English Beorhoanstadde.[6] Historian Percy Birtchnell identified over 50 different spellings and epithets since the Domesday Book.[7] It is believed the original refers to homestead amongst the hills (Saxon - bergs). The town is known locally and affectionately as "Berko".[8]

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