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The Hereford Mappa Mundi c.1300The Hereford Mappa Mundi detail, showing the circular image of Jerusalem (towards the top left) with the Mediterranean Sea below.  Some of the fabulous beasts and monstrous races can be seen on the right.The British Isles are shown on their side, with Scotland on the left and the South of England on the right.  Many cathedral cities can be identified as well as Snowdon and the castles of Carnarvon and Conway in Wales.  Hereford is shown as a small town.A detail of the celebrated mandrake root with roots for hair.

The Mappa Mundi

 

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The Hereford Mappa Mundi is unique in Britain's heritage; 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). 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.

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.

Christopher de Hamel, a leading authority on medieval manuscripts, has said of the Mappa Mundi, '... it is 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.'

 

An exclusive range of Mappa Mundi posters, postcards, publications and gifts can be purchased from the Cathedral Shop.

 

 

Digital images of the Mappa Mundi (the complete map or any part of it) are available for private study and research or for publication. The basic price for one image is £24 + VAT. Additional reproduction fees may apply in the case of images required for publication. For further information email library@herefordcathedral.org

 

For filming requests relating to Mappa Mundi please visit our

Press and Media Page.