Hereford Cathedral is one of the great cathedrals of the British Isles and is the home of the Mappa Mundi, a 13th century map of the world and the largest mediaeval map still in existence. The current cathedral's origins date from 1079 though a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Ethelbert (and before that a church) has been on the site since the 8th century. The original cathedral was destroyed by the Welsh in 1055.
Some of the original Norman church remains though much has changed as alterations and rebuilding have continued over the centuries. The cathedral suffered some damage in the civil war but the biggest damage to the cathedral occurred in 1786 when the west front and tower collapsed. Restorations and rebuilding of the cathedral continued into the early 20th century.
The cathedral was built almost entirely from local sandstone giving it its red appearance. The various stages of construction and rebuilding have given the cathedral a characteristic look with a variety of different styles. The Mappa Mundi dates from about 1285 and hung on the wall in an aisle, little regarded though perhaps it was nothing that much out of the ordinary at the time!
'Hereford'. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, Volume 1, South west. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1931. 90-144. British History Online. Web. 3 March 2015. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/heref/vol1/pp90-144.