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Tring was first mentioned in history in the Anglo-Saxon Record of AD571, several centuries before nearby larger towns. In the Domesday book, compiled in 1086 on the instruction of William the Conqueror, it was called Treunge or Tredunga. By the 13th century one of the names referring to the town was Trehanger, a name which was given to a ladies social club in Tring seven centuries later.

The town's position where the ancient Icknield Way crossed the Roman road, Akeman Street, ensured opportunities for local merchants to trade, and, with the coming of the Grand Junction Canal and the London to Birmingham Railway Company early in the 19th century, Tring soon became a prosperous and thriving market town.

Tring is said to have had a Parish Church for more than 700 years, but little, if anything, is left of the first building on the site, which probably predates the Norman Conquest. Some of the interesting features in the church date back to the 15th century, such as the original arches and the stone corbels between them, but there have been a lot of alterations and rebuilding since then. The church contains eight bells, dating from 1624 to 1882, when a major restoration was completed. Other denominations are well represented in Tring; and in the surrounding villages most of the churches date in part back to the 12th or 13th century, an exception being St. Cross, Wilstone, completed in 1877.

The arrival of Nathaniel Rothschild, of the famous banking family, to Tring Park in 1872 made a considerable impact on the people of Tring. He and Lady Rothschild took a benevolent interest in the town, local people were employed in the various projects in which they were involved, and it was said that if an unemployed local person approached Lord Rothschild's agent he would be found a position somewhere on the estate. Nathan's son, Walter, founded the Tring Museum, which was opened to the public in 1892. Today the magnificent displays of birds, animals and insects are part of the British Museum and attract thousands of visitors a year.

A lot of older buildings in Tring have disappeared, due in the early days to the Rothschild's clearance for their own projects, and due later to council redevelopment. However a lot remains that can still be recognised when compared with the Victorian and Edwardian photographs, and descendants of many of the old families still live in Tring.