We have been working with Professor Catherine A.M. Clarke on the St Thomas Way project, a new heritage tourism trail from Swansea to Hereford. The website will launch on Saturday 7 July alongside the launch event here at the cathedral. With so much interest in the project already, Professor Clarke has shared four teaser articles with us to give more background to the project.

Who was St Thomas of Hereford?

Mention a medieval St Thomas today, and most people will think of St Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered in 1170 by soldiers of King Henry II. But St Thomas of Hereford – also known as St Thomas Cantilupe – was another major medieval saint, and his shrine was a very important pilgrimage destination in medieval Britain. The surviving collection of miracle records for St Thomas of Hereford is second only to that of Thomas Becket.

St Thomas of Hereford had a varied and colourful career, including training in the law, serving as Chancellor of Oxford University, and involvement in high-level politics as Lord Chancellor of England. He was Bishop of Hereford from 1275 until his death in 1282.

St Thomas’s life included a number of colourful disputes and conflicts. At the time of his death, he was involved in an argument with John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury – who had excommunicated him. Thomas died on his way to Rome to protest against the excommunication. So, technically he died excommunicate – a tricky challenge for those who later campaigned for his canonisation.

Some years after Thomas’s death, the Pope sent a team of investigators to compile and assess the case for making him a saint. It’s these detailed records which reveal so much about medieval life – including the story of William Cragh, Swansea’s ‘hanged man’, and his pilgrimage to Hereford.

The image above shows St Thomas Becket, left, and St Thomas of Hereford.

The St Thomas Way will launch here at Hereford Cathedral on Saturday 7 July with a day of fun, free activities. To find out more about the event click here.To keep up to date with the latest news you can follow the project on Twitter @StThomasWay