The numerous miracles that usually attended the burial of a betrayed and murdered person of eminence then commenced, and were so wonderful that Offa sent two bishops to Hereford to inquire into the matter. They saw a Welsh bishop cured of palsy at the tomb, and at once confirmed the reports of its sanctity and power.
Offa believed their account of the miracle, and was not a little alarmed at finding that he had murdered, or permitted the murder, of a saint. He at once erected a magnificent tomb over the remains of his victim, and gave the tenth of all his possessions to the saint, i.e., to the monastery where he was buried. He was so troubled by his conscience that he made a pilgrimage to Rome to get absolution from the Pope, and consented, at the request of his Holiness, to make his kingdom pay Peter's Pence in future.
Milfrid, governor of Mercia under King Egbert, built over the tomb a stone church. By the beginning of the eleventh century it became decayed, and Bishop Athelstan rebuilt it. The Welsh destroyed his building in an incursion in 1055, and one of William the Conqueror's Norman bishops, Robert de Lozing or Lozinga, built instead of it the existing cathedral. This bishop was an able architect as well as priest and mathematician; but he was extremely superstitious. It may be remembered by the reader that he was an astrologer, and that when invited to attend the dedication of Lincoln Cathedral by Remigius, he declined, because, he said, the stars foretold that the cathedral would not be dedicated during the lifetime of Remigius. He was the only bishop not present when the dedication took place; but then Remigius himself was dead, having died suddenly the day before that fixed for the ceremony, and thus confirmed the superstition of his friend.
During the illness of Wulstan, Bishop of Worcester - he who fixed his staff, as we have told, in Edward the Confessor's tomb - Lozing being then at court, had a dream in which the form of his friend appeared before him, saying, "If you wish to see me before I die, hasten to Worcester."
Hurrying to the king, Lozing obtained leave to go there, and travelled night and day till he reached Cricklade, where, overcome by fatigue, he slept. His friend again appeared to him in a dream saying, "Thou hast done what fervent love could dictate, but art too late. I am now dead; and thou wilt not long survive me; but lest thou shouldst consider this only a fantastic dream, know that after my body has been committed to the earth a gift shall be given to thee which thou shalt recognise as having belonged to me."
Lozing, much depressed, hurried on, however, the following morning to Worcester, but found on his arrival that Wulstan, the last of the Saxon bishops, lay dead. In much sorrow he read the service over his noble old friend's grave, and was then preparing to return home when the priest said to him, "Receive as a testimony of our departed lord's love this lambskin cap which he wore."
Lozing shuddered, and doubted not that he had really seen and heard Wulstan.
The prophecy probably wrought its own fulfilment. Wulstan died in January, 1094, Lozin; in June of the same year.
The cathedral stands near the banks of the beautiful Wye. Its chief characteristic is its broad, low, and highly enriched square tower. The original west front was lost, being destroyed by the fall of a tower - a noble one. A very inferior one now supplies its place.
In its extreme length the cathedral measures 325 feet; the extent of the great transept is 100 feet; the height of the body of the church, 91 feet. There were two beautiful appendages formerly to the cathedral - the chapter-house and a genuine Saxon chapel; but they were destroyed during the last century. There are many, objects of great interest, and some very fine and highly decorated monuments in Hereford Cathedral.