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The Apple Tree


Designed by Sandy Elliott, this huge tessellated pavement is located outside the Cathedral’s iconic west front and depicts the an apple tree as a theological and cultural symbol of the traditions and history of this special place. It is made up of over a thousand individual pieces all hand cut from local stone.  Sandy Elliott explains “ The Apple Tree, laden with apples, takes inspiration from the carol, ‘Jesus Christ the Apple Tree’ from the 1784 collection of Joshua Smith, New Hampshire:

Apple Tree Mosaic


“The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green;
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.”


There is close link between ‘Jesus Christ’ and ‘the apple’. The apple is the symbol of Herefordshire, the people, the land and the tradition of cider making, and so the carol speaks of the ‘local link’ with Christ. The design includes visual references to the Cross of Christ, the Crown of Thorns and the Twelve Apostles; represented by the twelve apples. 


The Living Christ and themes of renewal are seen in the lifelines and the leaves. 

The design of the tree canopy echoes the great Norman arches inside the Cathedral, before which it is placed.  The outer circle, the symbol of eternity, will have carved within it Joshua Smith’s words. 


The apples themselves represent different varieties of apple, chosen for particular reasons or associations with Hereford, the cathedral and the diocese, including Chorister Boy, Hereford Costard, St Lawrence, Ten Commandments, Gloria mundi, Shropshire Pippin and Bulmer’s Norman”.

Stonemasons Stuart Williams and Simon Bremner of CJ Bayliss Ltd contemplate Herefords largest jigsaw puzzle ‘The Apple Tree’ at Royal Forrest Pennant Ltd, Forest of Dean.  The mosaic, designed by Sandy Elliott, has over 1000 individual pieces and will be installed at Hereford Cathedral by Stuart and Simon throughout June and July, as the centrepiece of the Cathedral Close Project, and is made possible with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and donations from the Congregation of Hereford Cathedral, The Gannett Foundation, Bulmers and the Apple Growers of Hereford.


Bronze Roundel Trail

Ivan Williams
Created by local sculptor Ivan Williams, these ten cast bronze disks illustrate iconic images from the history and fabric of the cathedral interior.  The roundels are located along the pathways of the new close and present the viewer with a series of delightful and intriguing images that include the Shrine of St Thomas of Hereford, the cathedral’s Anglo Saxon font, the seventeenth century poet and mystic Thomas Traherne and the Green Man, as well as images from the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library.  Hereford Cathedral’s Head of Communications, Dominic Harbour explains “Ivan has done an excellent job in interpreting the intricate and magical qualities of each subject.  The trail was always envisaged as a series to be explored by younger visitors and residents, however we know all visitors will have a great deal of fun looking at them”.  The bronzes were cast by Lunts Castings in Brimingham who are the UK’s largest specialist foundry for the cultural sector.  Images depicted on the roundels include St Ethelbert, the shrine of St Thomas Cantilupe, Thomas Traherne, The Font, A Chalice and Host, The Hereford Corona, The Willis Organ, Jerusalem from the Mappa Mundi, a chained book and a Green Man image.


Stone Threshold Markers

Around the cathedral three carved stone threshold markers create a threshold where the visitor leaves the newly restored close and enters the cathedral.  The carvings are created by Richard Kindersley who studied lettering and sculpture at Cambridge School of Art and took on his Father’s workshop in 1970.  His works for Hereford depict the Agnus Dei symbol of the Lamb of God, the Scallop Shell; associated with the cathedral’s North Door as a Pilgrim Entrance, and the intertwined letter M and R symbolizing the Virgin Mary at the entrance to the Lady Arbour Cloister.  Other examples of Richards works can be seen at Exeter University, St Pauls Cathedral, V&A Museum and Westminster Abbey.