Hereford Cathedral Cloisters awarded National Lottery support

It was announced today that Hereford Cathedral has received a confirmed National Lottery grant of £866,700 to fund the Eastern Cloisters Heritage Project. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will repair and conserve the College Cloisters, preventing further disrepair and enabling this tranquil area, which is steeped in history, to be opened up to the public for special events and activities.

The Cloisters are a much loved part of Hereford Cathedral which house the music department and administrative offices as well as being used for educational events. The area, although beautiful, is in urgent need of repair to provide better facilities for staff, volunteers and visitors.

Renovations planned to take place include the installation of better lighting, essential repairs to the walkways and a modern fire protection system put in place as well as improvements to accessibility. An activity plan will complement the restoration and build on previous successful National Lottery funded projects, providing education and learning for visitors of all ages. Once these repairs have taken place, the cathedral will be able to host more events and activities around the themes of music, community and learning, inspired by the original use of the Cloisters. Pilot events were held earlier in the year, including a photography pilgrimage, a reminiscence event and a hackathon for local sixth form students.

Originally constructed in the late 15th century as the dwellings for the Vicars Choral, the Cloister links directly to the cathedral through St John’s Walk. For centuries it was home to the Vicars Choral, twenty-seven men who sang services in the cathedral and lived and studied in the Cloisters. Bishop Stanbury (bishop 1453–74) granted the land to the Vicars Choral for their college and it was built on the site of two medieval canonical houses which were demolished to make way for the new buildings adjacent to the cathedral church. 

The Dean of Hereford, The Very Revd Michael Tavinor says, ‘We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to commence works on the College Cloisters. The Cloisters are an important part of the cathedral, dating back to the 1470s. As well as the Vicars Choral who lived there, their families were also part of the community and played a significant role in the cultural life of the cathedral, city and county. As well as undertaking much needed repair and restoration, we wish to also celebrate their stories as part of the project, as shown earlier in the year with our Violet Plaques Project.’

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: ‘This is fantastic news for Hereford Cathedral. This Grade I listed building has had seven Heritage Lottery Fund awards to date, all of which have been made possible by National Lottery players. Now, this new project to restore and make more accessible the Eastern Cloisters will join previous successful major schemes including those to Hereford Cathedral Close and St John’s Walk will mean that there will be more ways for people to engage with and protect the heritage of this wonderful cathedral than ever before.’