Hereford Cathedral –Home of the Mappa Mundi
Hereford Cathedral is built on a place of worship used since Saxon times. It contains some of the finest examples of art and architecture from Norman times to the present day, including the famous Mappa Mundi, the medieval Chained Library and the Hereford Magna Carta.
Hereford’s elegantly restored Cathedral Close sits at the heart of our historic city and diocese, with new social spaces, artworks and interpretation for you to enjoy.
The Mappa Mundi is a unique medieval treasure, recording how scholars interpreted the world over 700 years ago. More than a thousand drawings and inscriptions show cities and towns, Biblical events, plants, animals, birds, strange creatures and monstrous races.
The map bears the name of its author ‘Richard of Haldingham or Lafford’ (Holdingham and Sleaford in Lincolnshire). Recent research suggests a date of about 1300 for the creation of the map.
Mappa Mundi is drawn on a single sheet of vellum (calf skin) measuring 64″ by 52″ (1.58 x 1.33 metres), tapering towards the top with a rounded apex. The geographical material of the map is contained within a circle measuring 52″ in diameter and reflects the thinking of the medieval church with Jerusalem at the centre of the world. There is lots more on The Mappa Mundi at the Cathedral website.
Hereford Cathedral Chained library hold 225 illuminated manuscripts and over 1,200 early printed books, with the earliest dating from the eighth century.
The books are chained to the seventeenth-century book presses where they were housed and read, alongside changing displays of rare books, archives and artifacts.
The Chained Library at Hereford Cathedral is a unique and fascinating treasure in Britain’s rich heritage of library history. There were books at Hereford Cathedral long before there was a ‘library’ in the modern sense.
The cathedral’s earliest and most important book is the eighth-century Hereford Gospels; it is one of 229 medieval manuscripts which now occupy two bays of the Chained Library.
The finest surviving 1217 Magna Carta belongs to Hereford Cathedral and is periodically on display (check online for details).
The Great Charter of Liberties or Magna Carta agreed between King John and his barons at Runnymede in 1215 is one of the most famous documents in history.
It is considered the foundation of English common law and much of its world wide importance lies in the interpretation of the clauses from which grew the right of the freedom of the individual or habeas corpus. For more on the history of The Magna Carta visit the website.
Cafe Mundi and Cathedral Shop
Enjoy hot and cold lunches and warming soups, homemade cakes, biscuits, and fair-trade and locally sourced products in the newly refurbished Cafe Mundi, located in the atmospheric 15th century Bishop’s Cloister adjoining the beautiful Chapter House Garden. The Cathedral Shop stocks exclusive gifts, souvenirs, CDs, cards, publications and gifts from around the world.
Open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm (last orders 4.45pm)
Explore history and treasures from Saxon times to the present day with our Cathedral Guides at 11.05am and 2.05pm daily (Monday – Saturday). Tours with refreshments can be booked at other times for groups (contact 01432 374202).
Climb 218 steps for some of the finest views of the city, county and beyond. Tours include the Lantern Gallery, Ringing Chamber and a new set of interpretation boards at the very top. Tours are limited to certain days and may not be suitable for all visitors. Please check before you visit.
Explore the cathedral’s most beautiful gardens with our award-winning gardeners and experienced guides. Tours take place 2.30pm on Saturdays and Wednesdays, between June and September. Tours include the Chapter House Garden, College of the Vicars Choral Cloister, the elegant College Hall and access to private gardens as featured in ‘Country Life’ Magazine and on BBC TV.
Music and Events
Free lunchtime organ concerts take place on Tuesdays at 1.15pm between May and September, with Jazz in the Chapter House Garden at 1.15pm on Fridays in August. The Cathedral and Close play host to a wide range of events and music through the year. Please see our website for details.
Art at the Cathedral
The cathedral has long been a centre for creative expression, with fine carvings in stone and wood, painted shrines, stained glass and silverware to be seen on your visit. The Cathedral Close Project added external artworks in bronze and stone, whilst inside, recent commissions in stained glass, textiles, painting and metalwork enhance your pilgrimage around the building. Temporary art exhibitions are regularly held, look online for details.
Worship has been central to life at Hereford Cathedral for over 1,200 years. Services are held daily with our renowned Cathedral Choir singing most days at Evensong. You are welcome to join any of the usual services that take place, or to pray in private in the cathedral.
8.00am Holy Communion
10.00am Cathedral Eucharist
3.30pm Choral Evensong
Monday to Saturday:
7.30am Morning Prayer
8.00am Holy Communion
5.30pm Choral Evensong
(sung by the Cathedral Choir during term except on Wednesdays)
Holy Communion: Wednesdays at 12.15pm
Prayers for Peace: Wednesdays at 1.05pm
Prayers at the Shrine of St Ethelbert: Fridays at 12 noon
For an Introduction to Christianity please pick up a special leaflet that can be found around the cathedral.
The Cathedral is open daily for visitors from 9.15am until Evensong, which you are invited to attend. Times may vary for services and special events. Please call if you are planning a special visit.
It costs over £1 Million per year just to maintain the cathedral and to keep its doors open to visitors. We receive no state funding. Contributions made by you provide vital support for our upkeep and we invite a donation of £5 per visitor. There is no charge to attend services or to pray privately.
Mappa Mundi Exhibition, Cathedral Shop and Cloister Café: For details of annual opening times please visit www.herefordcathedral.org