Publication Date

January 2004


Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Catography, is published by Taylor & Francis,


Although antiquarians, historians of cartography, palaeographers and art historians have written about the Hereford mappa mundi for more than three hundred years, we know little about its original placement or use. This paper relies on new masonry and endrochronological evidence and the system of medieval ecclesiastical preferments to argue that this monumental world map was originally exhibited in 1287 next to the first shrine of St Thomas Cantilupe in Hereford Cathedral’s north transept. It did not function as an altarpiece, therefore, but as part of what I call the Cantilupe pilgrimage complex, a conglomeration of items and images which was for a time one of England’s most popular pilgrimage destinations. In this location, the map would have added to the complex’s attractive power and served as a multi-media pedagogical tool.


English Language and Literature