A special treat was waiting for us in Hereford Cathedral today. When we arrived at the cathedral we started with a guided tower tour. What the tour consisted of was climbing a spiral stair case in one pier of the tower to the bell ringing chamber, then from there proceed to the roof of the center crossing tower.
Hereford Cathedral was originally built in the Norman Romanesque style and then later changed into a gothic style cathedral. The original plan had a tower at the west end of the cathedral and a spire on top of the crossing tower. However the west tower was damaged by a small earthquake in the 1780’s and collapsed to be rebuilt be E. G. Scott. At the same time restorations took place and the spire was taken down.
On the inside it is constructed with a tri level elevation, with the nave being the only original Anglo- the chapter house no longer remains and it is unclear why. The story we were told was during the civil war, the army was running low on musket balls and took the lead from the roof to make more, then the chapter house fell into disrepair. And fortunately for us in the footprint of the old chapter house there was a jazz concert going on where we could eat our lunch in a little courtyard between the chapter house and the cathedral. Norman construction. The description and history of the building can be similar to Southwell with its Romanesque nave and gothic uppers, and also because Hereford was a major church for the clerics and bishops.
For the tower tour, we started to climb up and then walk across inside one of the transept roofs to a small pathway around the crossing. The slits in the wall that can be seen up high are where we were walking.
This led to the bell ringing chamber where we were told a bit about ringing the bells and what is involve with it. They told us how the bells were arranged to ease the ringing and what can be involved in making the sequence for ringing. To play a special peel, as it is called I believe, takes quite a bit more math than you would think and even more time. When the tower was renovated they added the extra cast iron supports and the automatic clock ringer. The clock ringer was automated because the previous gentlemen who did it retired and they thought it best to go mechanical.
After the bell room we headed to the top of the tower through this very small doorway. It was tight, but I fit.
Once up, we had a view of the whole countryside.
And I even conceded at took a selfie.
One cool thing is that the bells started to ring and you could feel the tower rocking back and forth with the bells. It’s then you realise the weight of the bells and the momentum they have. After the tour we went and had our lunch with the jazz festival and afterwords went to the Mappa Mundi exhibit. The Mappa Mundi is a medievel map of the world. It was very cool to see their interprtation of the world. What they also had was a chained book library.
I got very excited with this because of a few titles I found. They have some copies of 17th C. classical historians books. For example Cicero, Livy, Plutarch, and Thucydides.
I couldn’t really ask for any more than that. Except it is still a working library and that there is a possibility of going back to actually reserve them and read them…