Since re-opening to the public we have welcomed thousands of visitors to the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library and are now on the look out for more volunteers to join our Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibition team!

As well as providing a warm welcome to visitors, our volunteers get to spend their days immersed in the historic surrounds of the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library answering questions and sharing the heritage of our most special treasures. 

Being a volunteer has lots of benefits for individuals, so we spoke to some of our current volunteers to find out why they joined the exhibition team...

“We started to volunteer after retiring from full-time employment. We looked for an opportunity that would allow us to meet visitors and other volunteers alike, learn and master new information and contribute to a team. As members of the Volunteer team in the Exhibition Area at Hereford Cathedral, we could not ask for a more satisfying experience.

Acquiring knowledge about the Chained Library and Mappa Mundi was a daunting task but we were surrounded by so many kind people who willing gave of their time and knowledge to mentor us that it was a very smooth journey that led to us “flying solo” and meeting visitors to the Exhibition Area.

It is not an overstatement to say that the Exhibition Area is blessed with a wonderful team of Volunteers whose principal aim is to ensure that visitors leave the Cathedral having both enjoyed their visit and learned something about the treasures in our care. Nothing is too much trouble and it is good to be part of the team.

Likewise, in general terms, the visitors to the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library are keen to learn and inquisitive in their questioning. It is good to meet people from all over the world and inform them, with pride, about the map and books. Occasionally, a question will be posed and the answer not known. If a rapid Google search cannot help, the Cathedral Library team are always on hand to help!

So, why do we volunteer? We enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the Cathedral; the lovely people we work with; meeting visitors to the Exhibition Area; the opportunity to continue learning and, of the greatest importance, it is FUN!"

David & Rosemary   

"I enjoy my time volunteering in the exhibition because as a believer in “life-long learning” I learn so much each week, both from the other volunteers and because most weeks a visitor will ask a question to which I do not know the answer so it prompts me to go away and find out. Sometimes I learn directly from the knowledge visitors bring with them. One day I had a fascinating conversation with a young couple who were doing a blacksmith course and explained how skilled you needed to be to hand forge the chains. It is lovely to share the rich history of the Mappa and the Chained Library with visitors and especially to see children’s eyes widen when you tell them that in the 13th century you could probably buy a small farm for the cost of one of these books."


"I have been a volunteer in the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library for nearly three years. I absolutely love it. The other volunteers made me so welcome and I’ve made new friends here.

It’s such a privilege to help the Cathedral share these amazing treasures with visitors. People often say they have wanted to come for years and there is real pleasure in sharing their excitement at seeing the map and library. I love explaining things to people and seeing their amazement at the intelligence, knowledge and skill of our ancestors.

It’s a wonderful way to indulge my love of medieval history and learn more about the period  alongside engaging with people of all ages, nationalities and walks of life."


"Working as volunteer at Hereford Cathedral’s Mappa Mundi and Chained Library has been an opportunity for me to learn about life in the Middle Ages, for pilgrims, priests and other mere mortals. The Mappa itself is unique and exquisite, and it is gratifying to be able to share some of my learning with visitors to the Exhibition, many of whom knew little about it before their visit. Oh, and let’s not forget the Cathedral’s copy of the Magna Carta, also on display! Meeting and welcoming the visitors and working alongside the other volunteers and Cathedral staff has been such a great experience, I often find myself telling my family and friends why they need to visit to!’’


If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer in the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library, please get in touch with Owen Towndrow via [email protected] or call 01432 374 202. Full training is given by the team, all you need is an interest in history and the ability to provide a warm welcome to visitors!

We are committed to being an accessible organisation and welcome applications for volunteering from everyone who is interested in getting involved. If you are concerned that your personal circumstances may prevent you from volunteering at Hereford Cathedral, we would strongly encourage you to call a member of our team who will happily discuss different options with you.

Safeguarding within our community is very important here at Hereford Cathedral and depending on the role you are applying for, you may have to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service check and give references. Our team will help you through this process.