Lost and Found, the latest exhibition in the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library displays a selection of artefacts which have been rediscovered in Hereford Cathedral over the years.

Cathedrals are a treasure trove of objects which are looked after by a team of archivists and historians. However, through the centuries items can become misplaced and forgotten about for a variety of reasons including military attack, religious or political upheaval and construction work. Sometimes objects have been buried, stolen or put into storage meaning that they turn up in the strangest of places and investigations have to take place to uncover the story behind the item.

One story which has been uncovered by the Library and Archives team, is that of four WW2 ARP helmets which were found in a dusty box in a cathedral roof space a few years ago. Upon investigation it turned out that they had been used by firewatchers during the war, cathedral staff and school boy volunteers manned the tower in watches ready to put out incendiary bombs and the fires that might spread from their use.

Another discovery which is on display within the exhibition has perhaps slightly less honourable origins. During renovation works in the Cloisters a ‘stash’ of broken remains including pipe fragments, wine bottles and chicken bones were uncovered under the paving slabs outside No. 14. The finds were dated to be around the same period as construction work which was carried out in the 1800s and it is believed that those who completed the works had a party and hid the evidence.

Elizabeth Semper O’Keefe, Cathedral Archivist, said: “We are very excited to present this eclectic exhibition which is a real mix of objects, books and documents from across the cathedral’s collections. Also on display is The Saxon Sword which, after being away from Hereford for several years for study and research, will be transferring into long term storage when the exhibition closes. There are so many interesting and intriguing stories of how these objects were lost and found again and we look forward to sharing them with our visitors over the next five months.”

Lost & Found runs from Monday 26 July – Friday 31 December and is shown within the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition, during normal opening hours. The normal admission charge of £6 per person applies (family tickets are also available).