The latest exhibition within the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library at Hereford Cathedral shines a spotlight on the history of the Cathedral, City and County.

The cathedral stands tall within its Close, bounded by railings – but it is not and never has been separate from the surrounding city and county. Cathedral City County uses items from across the archive collections to show the many and varied links that the cathedral has had with those who lived and worked both within and beyond its walls.

Items featured within the exhibition which focus on the cathedral’s history include a fine example of a top hat which would have been typically worn by the cathedral vergers in the 1800s, a medal from 1906 for good attendance at a local parish school and several pieces of documentation detailing the financial transactions of those working within the cathedral.

Moving through the exhibition into the artefacts highlighting the city, the history of local businesses are shared including the Green Dragon Hotel, which was originally known as The White Lion, and Joseph Jones & Son of 10 Broad Street.

The county element of the exhibition features some unexpected scandal and local gossip through the documentation held within the cathedral archive. The records of the Consistory Court – an ecclesiastical court which dealt with the morality of the clergy and people of the parishes – reported on a Susan Seabourne of Madley who was ‘a constant common and notorious scolder…’. Also on display there is a report of a Margaret Northyn of Dormington who was ‘a chatterer in church’ detailed within the record of Bishop Trefnant’s 1397 diocesan visitation.

Elizabeth Semper O’Keefe, Archivist at Hereford Cathedral, said: “Many people don’t realise the breadth and variety of the local history material held within the cathedral’s archives which are available for researchers and archive explorers. Our archives are a treasure trove of discovery and offer a fascinating insight into the past of our Cathedral, City and County.

We hope this exhibition will engage not only those visiting Herefordshire this year, but also local residents. Many will recognise places and maybe even names of those featured within the artefacts on display and there may even be opportunity for some ‘Well I never knew that!’ moments.”

Cathedral City County is on show within Mappa Mundi and Chained Library, Hereford Cathedral, Friday 5 May - Saturday 30 September 2023. The exhibition is open from Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm (last entrance 4.30 pm). Normal admission charges apply.


Image Credit: Cathedral City County Exhibition c. Caroline Potter