Hereford Cathedral may not be one of the ‘greats’ when it comes to ecclesiastical architecture – it is not a York, a Salisbury, a Durham or a Lincoln in terms of size or grandeur. It is wonderfully ancient though, and lies at the heart of one of the oldest dioceses in England (the date of its foundation is traditionally given as 676). The cathedral itself has examples of architecture from all periods: the stately nave from the twelfth century; the graceful Lady Chapel from the thirteenth century; the solid central tower from the fourteenth century and the intricate Stanbury Chapel from the fifteenth century. It is a building which is constantly changing. It has been in great peril several times during its lifetime: in 1786 when the west end collapsed; during the 1840s when the Lady Chapel was in danger of falling. There have been appeals and rebuilding, and the cathedral continues to stand proudly at the centre of the city, thanks to the devotion of many generations. Since 1990, over £10 million has been spent; ensuring the stonework at the east end of the Lady Chapel, the south aisle and south clerestory is in good order for the next hundred years. The big project during the last ten years has been the refurbishment of the Cathedral Close and courtyard.
The Mappa Mundi
The Hereford Mappa Mundi is unique in Britain’s heritage; an outstanding treasure of the medieval world, it records how 13th-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). 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 × 52 inches (1.58 × 1.33 metres), tapering towards the top with a rounded apex. The geographical material of the map is contained within a circle 52 inches in diameter and reflects the thinking of the medieval Church with Jerusalem at the centre of the world. 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. It is claimed to be 'without parallel the most important and most celebrated medieval map in any form, the most remarkable illustrated English manuscript of any kind, and certainly the greatest extant thirteenth-century pictorial manuscript.’
The Chained Library
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 8th-century Hereford Gospels; it is one of 229 medieval manuscripts which now occupy two bays of the Chained Library. The chaining of books was the most widespread and effective security system in European libraries from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, and Hereford Cathedral’s 17th-century Chained Library is the largest to survive with all its chains, rods and locks intact. A chain is attached at one end to the front cover of each book; the other end is slotted on to a rod running along the bottom of each shelf. The system allows a book to be taken from the shelf and read at the desk, but not to be removed from the bookcase. The books are shelved with their foredges, rather than their spines, facing the reader (the wrong way round to us); this allows the book to be lifted down and opened without needing to be turned around – thus avoiding tangling the chain. The specially designed chamber in the New Library Building not only means that the whole library can now be seen in its original arrangement as it was from 1611 to 1841, but also allows the books to be kept in controlled environmental conditions according to modern standards of presentation. There has been a working theological library at the cathedral since the 12th century, and the whole library continues to serve the cathedral’s work and witness both as a research centre and as a tourist attraction.
You can find more information about the Cathedral, Mappa Mundi, and Chained Library including visitor information by clicking this link https://www.herefordcathedral.org/
Claiming The Cache
We were lucky enough to be one of the geocacher's awarded the chance to place this virtual award cache. After contemplating different locations to place the cache we decided to settle on Hereford Cathedral as a worthy site.
To claim the cache, the cache co-ords will take you too a tactile map for the blind of Hereford city centre. Look at the key of the map and tell us:
1). What is the letter denoting the Butter Market?
2). What is the letter denoting Bishop's Meadow?
3). Finally make your way to the exhibition entrance courtyard where the co-ords are provided as an additional waypoint. Take a photo to post on here of either yourselve's in front of the statue scupture, or if you'd rather not be in the pic then your gps in the pic will suffice. Also if the gates are locked and you cannot get to the statue then we will accept a pic in front of the gates.
Please message us your answers to the two questions and post your pic on here to claim the cache. I won't reply to your answers only if there is a problem, so if you don't hear from me then all is well. Any logs where we do not receive the answers will be deleted.
Many thanks for taking the time to visit and claiming the cache.
Congratulations to the Soapy chickens and the Bedfords for the FTF!
Virtual Reward - 2017/2018
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.
For full information on how you can expand the Church Micro series by sadexploration please read the Place your own Church Micro page before you contact him at churchmicro.co.uk
See also the Church Micro Statistics and Home pages for further information about the series.