Herford is town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Located in the lowlands between the mountain chains of the Wiehengebirge and the Teutoburg Forest, it is the capital of the district of Herford. Population: 65,100 (1999).
The town was founded in 789 by Charlemagne in order to guard a ford crossing the narrow Werre river. One century later, Matilada grew up in the abbey of Herford; she was a descendant of the Saxonian leader Widukind. In Herford she met Henry the Fowler, who later became king of Germany.
In late medieval times Herford was a member of the Hanseatic League. It was a Free Imperial City, i.e. it was directly subordinated to the emperor. This status was lost after the Peace of Westphalia (1648), when Herford was annexed by Brandenburg.