The Friends of Hereford Cathedral have recently enjoyed a successful pilgrimage to Oxford and the Thames Valley. Led by the Dean, The Very Revd Michael Tavinor, 48 friends visited various Oxford colleges, including Magdalen, Brasenose and Christ Church, to explore connections with Hereford.

In addition, they travelled to the Oxfordshire village of Hambleden, where our own St Thomas Cantilupe was born and baptised in the year 1218: and renewed their baptismal vows at the very font where St Thomas was baptised almost 800 years ago to the day!

Ripon College, Cuddesdon, a few miles outside Oxford, was another place that was visited: here, several of our own clergy received their ordination training, including Michael Tavinor, Chris Pullin and Maureen Palmer. The pilgrimage was a time of  spiritual and social companionship which we all enjoyed, from Traherne first editions in Brasenose Library to the magnificent Ashridge House (once a monastery where St Thomas Cantilupe's heart was buried) to the fellowship each evening at dinner.

There were many Hereford links to the places visited on the trip including:

Magdalen College (Richard Mayhew, Bishop of Hereford in early 16th century was first President of Magdalen)

University College (Nathan Wetherell, Master of the college, was also, concurrently, Dean of Hereford and, famously, was in Oxford when the west front collapsed on 17 April 1786)

Brasenose College (Thomas Traherne was a student in the early 1650s)

St Mary Hambleden (here, Thomas Cantilupe was born and baptized in 1218, and we all renewed our baptismal vows at the very font where he had been baptised. We were joined by members of the parish and the local Roman Catholic community, so it was an Ecumenical occasion).

Ashridge in Hertfordshire (here the heart of Thomas Cantilupe was buried in 1282, cared for by a community of Bonhommes; now the house in a spectacular example of the Gothic Revival).

Christ Church, Oxford (many Hereford connections: Cardinal Wolsey was Dean of Hereford c 1509–12, but never came to Hereford, apparently!).

Ripon College, Cuddeson (where the Dean was a theological student 1979–82)

Image above shows the band of pilgrims outside All Saints Church, Cuddesdon