This week, to mark the Feast of Consecration, members of our community have been sharing their favourite part of the cathedral as a special thanksgiving for our building. Today Marketing Officer, Abby Jones shares her favourite space.

The Lady Chapel is a spectacular part of the cathedral, especially when the light floods through the windows. But tucked away to the side of this dazzling area is the Audley Chapel, a little pocket of quiet and darkness – or so you believe as you first step in. There is nothing more glorious than that initial glimpse of riotous colour that leaps from the glass as you take in the glory of the Tom Denny windows.

The view of the Audley Chapel from the doorway, to the left hand side is a shrine and to the right are four brightly coloured windows

These windows were dedicated in March 2007 and are themed around the writings of Thomas Traherne and his association with Herefordshire. The windows portray elements of Traherne’s imagery and are full of mesmerising illustrations reflecting his words. I have included a digital version of the leaflet which accompanies the windows should you wish to find out more - click here to download.

I fear that many visitors to the cathedral may think I am quite odd when I show them around as I always insist that they visit the Audley Chapel to see these windows. Several journalists have politely humoured me, whilst discretely checking their watches, as I drag them to the other end of the building and into this little space. But every single one of them has been so grateful to witness their beauty. One lady, who was writing a magazine feature, began to cry as she turned to look at them.

The Traherne Windows - four brightly coloured panels which look as if they are covered in illustrations

Whilst it is lovely to share these windows with people, they are also the perfect place for quiet reflection. There are some days where my job, like everyone’s, can be quite stressful and you desperately need just five minutes away from a computer screen or telephone. The small space within the chapel gives you that private moment to allow your brain to be distracted from the ever increasing to do list, take a breath and collect your thoughts.

I am not blessed with height, and whilst there are many beautiful windows within the cathedral, they always seem so far away when you stare up at them. The windows in the Audley Chapel are immediately in front of you – allowing every single detail to be pored over and observed. Every time I visit these windows I discover something new, whether it be a beetle, a bird flying overhead or an unseen tree. In a grand building which can sometimes make you feel quite small, these windows make you feel like a giant surveying the land.

A close up of an illustration of a man, possibly Traherne, in the glass. The background is red and orange and the man is holding his palms outwards

The last few weeks have been a strange time as I work from home. Before lockdown I moved ‘home’ to the Forest of Dean to be with my family so I feel quite far away from Hereford. On my last day in the office, knowing it would be a while before I would see them again, I spent five minutes photographing the windows on my phone so I could look at them during this time. I shared an image of the windows onto the cathedral Instagram account a few weeks ago and was touched by the amount of people who commented on them – they clearly are a special place for a lot of people.

Over the last few months, the world has been a dark and confusing place as we all face our own struggles, and the windows have been on my mind a lot. Despite being far away from the Audley Chapel, I have tried to adopt that reflective approach of absorbing the windows into my daily life by forcing myself to pause as I walk my very energetic lurcher through the woods. This patience has paid off as we have encountered deer, birds of prey and even a weasel – things that in the hurry of life I would probably have just missed. To me, they are a reminder that even in the darkness, there will always be light, colour and beauty – sometimes we just have to take the time to stop and find it.

“You are as prone to love as the sun is to shine” Thomas Traherne

We would like to thank our community for their support during this time as we, like so many other organisations, face a very challenging period. We have been truly touched by the kind messages from those who have been in touch to ask how they can support us. If you would like to find out more about supporting the cathedral please click here.