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30 November 2012

Rather English - See the Hereford Mappa Mundi

The Mappa Mundi is held by Hereford Cathedral and is a fascinating map dating from around 1285, which shows the world as it was seen in medieval times. Apparently drawn on calf skin by Richard of Haldingham and Lafford, the map places Jerusalem at the centre, with the British Isles on the outer edges of the known world.

The map displays only what was known by Richard and his contemporaries, reaching no further than the River Ganges in India, the Nile in Africa and Norway and the Caspian Sea to the North, and for your author one of the most interesting aspects was the strange beasts, creatures and quasi-human animals which lurk around the edges of the map, presumably representing an acute fear of the unknown.

For more, see http://www.herefordcathedral.org/visit-us/mappa-mundi-1

^Picture from the Wikimedia Commons^

From November 2012 until January 2013, Tired of London, Tired of Life will briefly be posting as RatherEnglish.com and featuring interesting things to do in England


  1. Pretty bloody impressive! I imagine that during the pilgrimages and especially during the early crusades, Jerusalem really WAS the centre of the world. What is interesting is that at the very end of the thirteenth century, Mappa Mundi was still reflecting a very medieval world view. I mean both religiously and geographically.

  2. Agreed Hels, you always bring such great insight to your comments. Thank you.