Durham Cathedral, Durham

Durham Cathedral, Durham (must see)

Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England. Its recorded history dates from the 6th century AD. Several saints came from Lindisfarne. Among them was St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, who died in 687. In 875, monks carrying Cuthbert's body fled Lindisfarne to escape repeated Viking incursions.

While looking for a safe place to settle, the monks followed two milkmaids, the saying goes, who were looking for their lost cow. The search led them to a high peninsula of the Wear River. It was here that Cuthbert's coffin could be moved no further. It was a sign, without a doubt. They founded the shrine that would become the City of Durham.

Protected by the Earl of Northumbria, the monks built a chapel to house St Cuthbert. It was wood and wattle. They called it the White Church. It was replaced in 998 by a stone structure also called White Church. Durham became a popular pilgrim site where King Canute was a frequent visitor. The White Church became a cathedral in 1018.

The Norman monk, William de St-Calais, was appointed Bishop of Durham by the first king of England, William the Conqueror, in 1080. In August 1093, St-Calais, together with Prior Turgot of Durham, began the construction of the new cathedral. The new building was intended, among other things, to house the bodies of St Cuthbert and the English monk Venerable Bede.

The interior features rib vaults in the choir aisle and the nave. Pointed arches are supported on piers and massive columns. The triforium gallery over the aisles masks lateral abutments. The main features are pre-Gothic, but the cathedral overall is considered Romanesque.

Saint Cuthbert's tomb is at the east end of the chapel feretory. Fragments of his coffin are on display. Twenty-two other bodies are entombed within the cathedral: in the chapter house, the transepts, and the chapels, in front of the high altar and outside the cathedral.

In 1986 the Durham Cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and placed among the significant monuments of the Norman Conquest of Britain. It is also one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Durham. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Durham Cathedral on Map

Sight Name: Durham Cathedral
Sight Location: Durham, England (See walking tours in Durham)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Durham, England

Create Your Own Walk in Durham

Create Your Own Walk in Durham

Creating your own self-guided walk in Durham is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Durham Introduction Walking Tour

Durham Introduction Walking Tour

The monks from Lindisfarne were on the run in 995, the Vikings hot behind. The monks were carrying the body of Saint Cuthbert. The Saint's bier stopped. Along came a milkmaid who had lost her dun cow. The coffin moved and the monks followed the maid to a high hill by the River Wear. The bier stopped again and, despite the effort of the monks, would not move. The monks had found their place.
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles