Hereford Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi is to feature in a new campaign showcasing the treasures and glories of Britain’s cathedrals this winter.

It will sit alongside an Anglo Saxon portable sundial, the Magna Carta, a pair of 15th century pilgrim boots, a pre-Raphaelite painted altarpiece and the first Bible in the Welsh Language – just some of the 50 remarkable artefacts cared for and preserved by cathedrals in England and Wales that will feature in a special social media campaign by the Association of English Cathedrals (AEC) based on a new publication Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales.

The AEC’s #CathedralTreasures campaign for Advent and Christmas is based on the latest volume by Janet Gough, OBE, author, lecturer and advisor on historic churches and cathedrals, which tells the story of the treasures from 44 Church of England cathedrals and six cathedrals from the Church in Wales, each one chosen by the Dean or senior clergy of the cathedral featured.

The campaign will launch next week with one treasure revealed every day for 50 days and ending with the launch of a competition to name Britain’s favourite cathedral treasure on January 11, to coincide with Heritage Fund’s Heritage Treasures Day.

Our treasure, Mappa Mundi will be revealed on Tuesday 20 December – and we need your likes and shares to get it in the top ten for Britain’s favourite!

Together the treasures span over 1,000 years of history with the earliest treasure, Ripon Cathedral’s ancient crypt of St Wilfrid established in 672 AD, the oldest building of any English cathedral still is use today, to the newest, the Newport Cathedral Rood. This modern work of art by Singaporean artist Tay Swee Siong, was installed in 2020, at the end of the first national lockdown, and is made from wire, and hangs near where the medieval rood would have been.

The Mappa is a trove of theology, history and mythology, along with colourful guesswork about people, creatures and places beyond the medieval experience. It speaks profoundly of an almost lost mindset, but in offering a portal into a world in which Christ is at the centre, it is also a valuable teaching and missional resource today.

Janet Gough, the author of Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales, said: “This beautifully illustrated paperback pays homage to the generations of craftspeople responsible for creating and maintaining cathedrals as we know them today.

“The 50 treasures also bear witness to centuries of Christianity and cathedrals as places of worship glorified by artistic expression – here in rood screens, crosses and liturgical items. These local and national treasures are a vital part of our heritage, testifying to the powerful and enduring links between cathedrals and the wider communities of which they are part.

“The histories and architecture of our cathedrals have been documented and described in many ways by many people over the years in books of all shapes and sizes. But here their stories are revealed afresh in the voice of the cathedral Dean who treasures it.”


Deans’ Choice: Cathedral Treasures of England and Wales – priced £14.95- it can be found online here.