Hereford, UK - Hereford Cathedral/Library; Clinton, MA - Bigelow Free Public Library
The County of Herefordshire is home to the historic cathedral city of Hereford. Hereford Cathedral has been an important landmark since it was founded in 696CE. In 794CE. King Ethelbert was murdered, and they scattered his remains in the church. The church was dedicated to this man and was blessed by the Virgin Mary because he was a saint. The cathedral was rebuilt around 1020-1040CE. but was destroyed later in 1055 by a Welsh army. Nearly everything was destroyed, and it was rebuilt over sixty years later in a Norman or Romanesque style of architecture. The cathedral was built by the Normans as a place of worship for the community. Two popular displays at the cathedral are the Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library. The Mappa Mundi is the only completed world map created by Richard of Holdingham. It was created around 1300CE. and it was drawn on a sheet of calf skin. The map was used during the medieval period, and now it is one of the most important attractions at the Hereford Cathedral. The Chained Library is a unique exhibit. During the Middle Ages, many libraries used to chain their books as a form of security for the library. Each book has a chain attached at the bottom of the front cover then attached to a rod that runs along the bottom of the shelf. The chains allow for books to be taken from the shelf but not removed from the bookcase. Many repairs were made to the Hereford Cathedral because of all the drama between royal families. The beautiful tourist attraction is still receiving many visitors to this day.
Clinton, MA - The Bigelow Free Public Library (Photo forthcoming)
The Bigelow Free Public Library is an important part of the community in Clinton, Massachusetts. It was originally a subscription library founded by a group of gentlemen interested in building a “school of scientific instruction ” with a reading room. The subscription library was part of a wave of mechanics’ institutes that crossed the nation, originating in Britain in the early 19th century and showing up in America soon after. The importance of learning and knowledge provided by reading rooms was fundamental to growth of colleges and universities. Many mechanics’ institutes ended up as university libraries and public libraries in the United States. The original location for the Bigelow Library was the building that currently houses the Russian Museum of Icons located in Clinton, and it remained there until 1873 when the library was donated to the newly incorporated town of Clinton by the Bigelow brothers. For a while the library was scattered amongst many locations until in 1903 it was moved to a new building constructed on land donated by Dr. Samuel A. Morse. The library holds significance as a learning center to this day.
Bigelow Free Public Library. WordPress. 2017, http://bigelowlibrary.org/about/library-history/.
“Chained Library.” Hereford Cathedral, www.herefordcathedral.org/chained-library.
Ford, Andrew E. History of the Origin of the Town Clinton Massachusetts 1653-1865. Historic Buildings of Massachusetts. WordPress. 2017, http://mass.historicbuildingsct.com/?p=6999.
“Hereford Cathedral.” Hereford Cathedral / Cathedral / Hereford / Hefordshire, www.visitherefordshire.co.uk/explore/thedms.aspx?dms=3&venue=1401488&feature=1&pn=cathedral&pvieflag=V&townid=609&miles=8.
“Mappa Mundi.” Hereford Cathedral, www.herefordcathedral.org/mappa-mundi.
"Mechanics' Institutes." Dictionary of American History. Encyclopedia.com. 2016, http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/modern-europe/british-and-irish-history/mechanics-institutes.
"Our history.” Hereford Cathedral, 9 Dec. 2016, www.herefordcathedral.org/our-history.
Strange, Dominic. The Misericords and History of Hereford Cathedral, 7 Feb. 2015, www.misericords.co.uk/hereford.html#History.