Located in the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library

Monday 24 January to Saturday 23 April 2022, 10 am – 5 pm

The latest special exhibition in the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library celebrates some of the finest metal pieces from the collections of Hereford Cathedral and Diocese.

Hereford Cathedral is full of treasures, examples of the very best in art, craft and architecture, created over the centuries as offerings to God. Among them are a wide variety of metal objects, some fundamental to the act of Christian worship, others tucked away and perhaps overlooked. As well as its own metalwork treasures, the cathedral also cares for the historical silver no longer in regular use in churches in the Hereford Diocese.

Dormington Door Knocker

At the exhibition’s entrance is the oldest exhibit, a Norman bronze door knocker in the shape of a grotesque animal head, originally on the door of Dormington Church. Such knockers, now extremely rare, once allowed penitents and pilgrims to ask for grace, and fugitives to seek sanctuary.  Medieval devotion to the saints is reflected in an enamelled reliquary made in Limoges which once contained a relic of St Thomas Becket; a brass of St Ethelbert the King from the shrine of St Thomas of Hereford; and a fabulous gold and ruby ring which once adorned the gloved hand of an early 16th-century bishop.

Jewelled Chalice by Carl Christof Krall, 1903 © Hereford Cathedral.

Not all the exhibits are made of precious metals: a simple pewter paten and chalice was taken from a medieval priest’s grave in the cathedral and two medieval helmets from suits of armour were once mounted above funerary monuments in Eardisley Church. Books are also not forgotten as ornate metalwork protects costly bindings and gold glistens on the pages of medieval manuscripts.

Rosemary Firman, Cathedral Librarian, said: “The doors of the cathedral treasury have been thrown open to enable visitors to view a trove of precious and rarely-displayed pieces of the finest quality from across the centuries.”

All Things Bright is on show within Mappa Mundi and Chained Library, Hereford Cathedral, Monday 24 January to Saturday 23 April 2022. The exhibition is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm (last entrance 4.30pm). Normal charges apply.

Curator's Favourites | All Things Bright | Book Furniture - Dr Rosemary Firman

Curator's Favourites | All Things Bright | Dormington Knocker - Elizabeth Semper O'Keefe

Curator's Favourites | All Things Bright | Krall Chalice | Hereford Cathedral - Revd Canon Chris Pullin