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3. Hereford Cathedral and the Mappa Mundi

Top 10 ten places to visit in the Midlands - Herefordshire

Hereford Cathedral and the Mappa Mundi

Hereford, meaning 'army ford' was for many years a border garrison town against the Welsh, strategically placed next to the river Wye.
 
Just to the north of the river in the medieval city centre, Hereford Cathedral forms the main point of architectural interest, an amalgamation of various styles from the 11th century to an extensive Victorian refit.
 
Constructed in the 14th century, the sandstone tower is the dominant feature, and the north transept is a perfect exercise of 13th century Early English architecture.
 
In the 1980's the sandstone New Library was specially built next to the cathedral to house the Mappa Mundi. Dating from 1300 and measuring 158 x 133 cm and drawn on a single sheet of vellum (calf skin), this remarkable map provides an extraordinary insight into the medieval mind. 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.
 
It is indeed a map insofar as it suggests the general geography of the world, with Asia at the top and Europe and Africa below, to left and right respectively, but it also squeezes in history, mythology and theology. 
 
An outstanding treasure of the medieval world, it records how thirteenth-century scholars interpreted the world in spiritual as well as geographical terms. The map bears the name of its author 'Richard of Haldingham or Lafford' (Holdingham and Sleaford in Lincolnshire). 

Superimposed on to the continents are drawings of the history of humankind and the marvels of the natural world. These 500 or so drawings include of around 420 cities and towns, 15 Biblical events, 33 plants, animals, birds and strange creatures, 32 images of the peoples of the world and 8 pictures from classical mythology.

Hereford Cathedral Address:
Hereford Cathedral
5 College Cloisters
Cathedral Close
Hereford
HR1 2NG
England, UK

Hereford Cathedral Opening Times:
Mappa Mundi Exhibition
Monday to Saturday, 10.00 am to 4.30 pm
Sunday 11.00 am to 3.30 pm

Cloister Cafe
Monday to Saturday 10.00 am to 4.45 pm
Sunday 11.00 am to 3.45 pm*

Cathedral Shop
Monday to Saturday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Sunday 12.00 pm to 3.45 pm*

*Exhibition last admission 30 minutes before closing
Cloister Cafe last orders 15 minutes before closing

Hereford Cathedral Admission:
Suggested donation of £5.00
 
T  +44 (0)1432 374200
 
F  +44 (0)1432 374220

W  Hereford Cathedral

The cathedral day normally begins at 7.30am with Morning Prayer (Matins) and continues until evensong (5.30 pm or 3.30 pm on Sundays). Visitors are welcome at any time.

A walk round guide is available for all visitors at the Information Desk, situated at the North Porch Door, and guidebooks are available from the Cathedral Shop.

Cathedral Tours
Cathedral tours take place at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm throughout the summer months, however a variety of specialist tours for booked are available all year round.

Brass Rubbing
The Brass Rubbing Centre is open throughout the summer months and some school holidays (please check time of opening before you visit), however access for booked schools or other groups can be at any other time of the year.
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