Hereford Cathedral is celebrating the award of a confirmed Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £241,000 towards the reroofing and lighting of its historic St John’s Walk.
The Tudor covered walkway, which links the cathedral with the College Cloisters, dates to the early 16th century and has carved roof timbers that are of particular significance.
‘We are delighted with the news,’ said the Very Revd Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford. ‘The walk is a much loved part of the cathedral and, with the choir passing through it on a daily basis to and from services, it is still used as it was intended over 500 years ago.’
The project, which will include reroofing the Walk with stone tiles, lighting of the timbers and delivering an education and interpretation programme about the works, will start early next year and take around nine months to complete.
‘We are conscious that the works will be going on during a Hereford Three Choirs Festival,’ said the Dean, ‘but this will be a wonderful way in which we can share our rich heritage with our many visitors. Many who come to the festival will have walked through St John’s Walk but I suspect few will have looked up and seen the carving or wondered about its history. It will be a pleasure to them and our many other visitors.’
The project has already revealed some new stories. It had previously been thought that the Walk had been built at round the same time as the College of Vicars Choral, better known as College Cloisters, during the 1470s. Dendrochronology work undertaken has already revealed that the timbers in the structure were not felled until at least 1504, moving the construction of it from the late mediaeval period into Tudor times. This later dating also helps to interpret some of the carving and the historical significance of it, which will be further explored as part of the main project.
The HLF grant, awarded to Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, will be matched funded by generous gifts from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Tabor Charitable Trust and the WA Cadbury Charitable Trust.
Reyahn King, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the West Midlands said: “The historic cloister at Hereford Cathedral is of significant heritage importance and we are delighted to be able to award a grant to enable its repair and secure its future. The project will also mean that local people and visitors to the cathedral will be able to learn much more about these historic architectural features through talks, activity days and guided tours.”
Further information about the project, including volunteering opportunities, can be obtained from the Perpetual Trust (01432 374261;