Hereford’s big claim to fame is that the Cathedral houses the Mappa Mundi, a Magna Carta and a Chained Library. These are treasures of international importance. And definitely worth seeing.
We regularly take our visitors to the Hereford Cathedral where the Mappa Mundi exhibition is. They are always taken aback that this original medieval world map has survived and is on permanent display. It is absolutely fascinating especially when you have the English translation to hand. The exhibition itself is quite small and even the youngest child with us found something to hold his attention. You have to walk through the cafe to get to the exhibition, so we usually stop for a cuppa on the way in or out!
Alongside the Mappa Mundi is a unique chained library. All the books are chained to the bookcases! Apparently many of the books have been in the cathedral for more than 900 years. The day we were there, the guide was holding an iPad with his notes on. We had a giggle about it but sadly no photos are allowed in the library! It is a very atmospheric place but I must admit, it didn’t hold the attention of our youngest!
Four copies of the original Magna Carta survive and Hereford Cathedral houses one of them. It has lost its seals and is only about the size of an A3 sheet of paper. But its value is huge! We have been to the Cathedral numerous times, but to date haven’t seen it as it isn’t often on display. Instead, we have a wander around the Cathedral itself. There is always loads to see and they change the exhibitions quite frequently. We always make for the Lady Chapel and the Thomas Traherne stained glass windows. You walk through a secret door and get to see the most amazing story telling windows.
Amanda Ingham 29th May 2018