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700 years of St Thomas Cantilupe

Hereford Cathedral have unveiled their programme of events and services which celebrate the 700th anniversary of the canonisation of St Thomas Cantilupe.

St Thomas Cantilupe was Bishop of Hereford from 1275 until his death in 1282. His shrine is located in the North Transept of Hereford Cathedral and is still an important pilgrimage destination. He also served as Chancellor of Oxford University and was involved in high-level politics as the Lord Chancellor of England.

The celebration year, which runs from October 2019 to October 2020, starts on Saturday 12 October at 3.30 pm with a Service of Faith and Reconciliation. Rowan Williams, the Right Revd. Lord Williams of Oystermouth and 104th Archbishop of Canterbury will join the Bishop of Hereford in a service which celebrates the good relationship between the two cities today.

Throughout the celebration year there will also be a programme of lectures given by Lord Patten of Barnes (Tuesday 8 October 2019), Dr Jan Graffius (Thursday 24 October 2019), The Very Revd. Michael Tavinor (Thursday 26 March 2020) and Ian Bass (Friday 2 October 2020) which discuss the life and times of St Thomas Cantilupe. Alongside these lectures, a series of special exhibitions exploring of sainthood and pilgrimage, curated by Hereford Cathedral’s Library and Archives team will be on display in the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibition.

Worship will remain at the core of the year which reflects on the life of St Thomas Cantilupe with clergy from across the country invited to Hereford to preach including the Most Revd. George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff and The Right Revd. Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield. Hereford Cathedral will also be taking Thomas of Hereford to his diocese during the year with special visits to Much Wenlock, Abbey Dore and Leominster Priory in services which celebrate their own saints alongside St Thomas.

The cathedral will also be working with local community groups and schools to host exhibitions and events during the celebrations and a highlight of the festival year for families will be Cantilupe Capers – a free day of medieval fun on Saturday 1 August 2020.

Hereford Cathedral also plans to leave a lasting legacy of the celebration with the Booth Porch and Audley Chapel’s both being refurbished with a new altar, seating and images as well as new processional banners and signage within the cathedral.

For more details of the St Thomas Cantilupe celebration programme visit or pick up a booklet from the cathedral.

You can download the programme for more detail on individual events and keep an eye on our What’s on page for individual event listings.