County Durham

Durham Cathedral, County Durham

Full Dedication: Cathedral Church of Chirst and Blessed Mary the Virgin
Became a Cathedral in 997

Durham Cathedral is unusual as it was founded as a Cathedral in 997 (the Diocese dating back to around 635).  Many other Cathedrals were converted monasteries or churches. When the monks from Lindisfarne arrived here with the bones of St. Cuthbert in 995 they built what was known for a while as "the White Church".  Work on a full blown Cathedral was started in 1093 and by 1133 what is generally regarded as the greatest Romanesque Church in the World was largely completed.

Durham is an impressively massive structure, largely unaltered from it's Norman architecture.  Sir Walter Scott described it as "half house of God, half Castle against the Scot" (although Durham possesses it's own Castle too). It was probably a good idea to build such strength into the Cathedral as Durham was often under siege during the Border Wars.

The Venerable Bede is buried here, and St. Cuthbert is one of the few saints whose shrine was not destroyed by either the Reformation or the Civil War.

The sight of Durham Cathedral and the Castle looming over the River Wear is one of northern England's finest (and sadly not one we have a very good photograph of).

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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© Text copyright - Raving Loony Productions and Andrew J. Müller, Roy Barton
and Shaun Runham
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