Although there has been a place of worship on the site of Hereford Cathedral since at least the 8th century, much of the building as it stands today was rebuilt in the 12th century.
Hereford Cathedral is also home to the medieval Hereford Mappa Mundi. This map, drawn on a single sheet of vellum, records how thirteenth-century scholars interpreted the world in both spiritual and geographical terms.
Hereford Cathedral has a long musical tradition, with a choir dating back at least as far as the 13th century and now has three organs.
The Festival Organ was built by Nicholson & Co. in 1927, specifically for use at the Three Choirs Festival. This smaller instrument, located at the rear of the cathedral nave, is built on stilts so that its console is at the level of the festival platform. This enables the whole structure to be moved so as to be level with the orchestra for the festival. It is also used regularly for teaching, practice, and concerts by the Hereford Choral Society and others at the west end of the cathedral.
After 85 years’ service the organ was restored by Nicholson & Co. in time for the Three Choirs Festival held at the cathedral in July 2012. The restoration encompassed the removal of the pipework, soundboards, chests and reservoirs to the workshop for renovation, and included the application of gilding to the case pipe mouths. The work took approximately three months to complete.