Durham Cathedral

Missing image
Durham Cathedral silhouetted against the sunset
Missing image
Durham Cathedral from nearby
Missing image
The Rose Window in the Chapel of the Nine Altars.
Missing image
Durham Cathedral and Castle.
Missing image
The interior

Durham Cathedral, in the city of Durham in the North East of England, was founded in 1093 and remains a centre for Christian worship today. It is generally regarded as one of the finest examples of a Norman cathedral in Europe, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Durham Castle, which faces it across Palace Green, high above the River Wear.

The Cathedral houses the shrine and related treasures of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, a 7th century saint, and these are on public view. It is also home to the remains of the Venerable Bede. One can also climb the 325 steps to the top of the 66 m tall tower, from where a fine view of Durham and the surrounding area can be enjoyed.

There are regular services sung by the Cathedral Choir, who sing every day except Mondays (except for certain vacations).

The Bishops of Durham were very powerful Prince-Bishops up to the mid-19th century. The seat of Bishop of Durham is still the fourth most significant in the Church of England hierarchy, and signposts for the modern day County Durham are still subtitled "Land of the Prince Bishops".


Missing image
Ground plan of Durham Cathedral

The cathedral was initially designed and built under the first Prince Bishop, William of St. Carilef. Construction began in 1093, although William died before completion of this phase in 1135, passing responsibility to his successor Ranulf Flambard. The building is notable for the ribbed vaulting of the nave roof, with pointed transverse arches, and flying buttresses. These features appear to be precursors to the Gothic architecture of Northern France a few decades later, doubtless due to the Norman stonemasons responsible, although the building is considered Romanesque overall.

Saint Cuthbert's tomb lies at the East. Once an elaborate monument of green marble and gold, the tomb was smashed by Henry VIII in 1538, so is now a modest stone affair. Two years later, in 1540, Henry VIII also dissolved the Benedictine monastery at Durham, although the cloisters are well preserved architecturally.

In the twelth century, Bishop Hugh de Puiset added the Galilee Chapel at the West end of the cathedral. Also known as The Lady Chapel, being the only part of the building women were allowed to enter in medieval times, the Galilee Chapel holds the remains of the Venerable Bede.

William of St. Carilef, Ranulf Flambard and Hugh de Puiset are all buried in the cathedral's Chapter House, which lies opposite the cloisters and dates from 1140.

The thirteenth century saw the construction of the Chapel of the Nine Altars, at the Eastern end of the cathedral, beginning under Richard le Poore (1228-1237). It features a large rose window originally from the 1600s and rebuilt in the 18th century, and a statue of William Van Mildert, the last Prince Bishop (1826-1836) and driving force behind the foundation of Durham University. The central tower of this time was destroyed by lightning, so the current tower dates from the fifteenth century.

In 1986, the Cathedral became a World Heritage Site. The UNESCO committee classified the Cathedral under criteria C (ii) (iv) (vi), reporting "Durham Cathedral is the largest and most perfect monument of 'Norman' style architecture in England" (View full report (PDF) (http://whc.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/370.pdf)).

Today, the Cathedral remains seat of the Bishop of Durham, an Anglican church in the diocese of Durham.


"Durham is one of the great experiences of Europe to the eyes of those who appreciate architecture, and to the minds of those who understand architecture. The group of Cathedral, Castle, and Monastery on the rock can only be compared to Avignon and Prague." - Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England'.

"I unhesitatingly gave Durham my vote for best cathedral on planet Earth." - Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island.

External links

no:Durhamkatedralen sv:Durhams katedral


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools