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Title: Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Durham
       A Description of Its Fabric and A Brief History of the Episcopal See

Author: J. E. Bygate

Release Date: December 26, 2006 [EBook #20191]

Language: English

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Durham Cathedral, from the South-West
Durham Cathedral, from the South-West.

The Cathedral Church Of

A Description Of Its Fabric
And A Brief History Of The
Episcopal See


J.E. Bygate, A.R.C.A.


London George Bell & Sons 1905

First Published March 1899
Second Edition, Revised September 1900
Reprinted 1905
The Riverside Press Limited, Edinburgh


This series of monographs has been planned to supply visitors to the great English Cathedrals with accurate and well illustrated guide-books at a popular price. The aim of each writer has been to produce a work compiled with sufficient knowledge and scholarship to be of value to the student of Archæology and History, and yet not too technical in language for the use of an ordinary visitor or tourist.

To specify all the authorities which have been made use of in each case would be difficult and tedious in this place. But amongst the general sources of information which have been almost invariably found useful are:—(1) the great county histories, the value of which, especially in questions of genealogy and local records, is generally recognised; (2) the numerous papers by experts which appear from time to time in the Transactions of the Antiquarian and Archæological Societies; (3) the important documents made accessible in the series issued by the Master of the Rolls; (4) the well-known works of Britton and Willis on the English Cathedrals; and (5) the very excellent series of Handbooks to the Cathedrals originated by the late Mr John Murray; to which the reader may in most cases be referred for fuller detail, especially in reference to the histories of the respective sees.


As much as possible of this brief description of Durham is from the personal acquaintance of the writer with the building. Yet many authorities have, of necessity, been consulted in its preparation, notably a pamphlet by the Rev. Canon W. Greenwell, and the "County of Durham," by J.R. Boyle, F.S.A. Thanks are also due to the authorities of the Cathedral for having freely given permission to make drawings and measurements, and to the late Mr Weatherall, chief verger, for his kindly assistance and information.

The illustrations are chiefly from sketches and drawings by the writer, and from photographs reproduced by the kindness of the Photochrom Company, Ltd., and Messrs S.B. Bolas & Co.



CHAPTER I.—The Building of the Church3
CHAPTER II.—Description of the Exterior21
The Towers21
The East Front22
The West Front25
The North Door25
The South Door26
The West Door28
The Cloister29
The Chapter-House32
The Dun Cow35
CHAPTER III.—Description of the Interior39
The Nave39
The Choir40
The Neville Screen43
The Transepts50
The Tower53
The East End54
The Chapel of the Nine Altars61
The Tomb of S. Cuthbert69
The Galilee or Lady Chapel72
Monuments in the Nave and Transepts79
The Font81
CHAPTER IV.—History of the See82
CHAPTER V.—The Castle and University102
CHAPTER VI.—The City111


Durham Cathedral, from the South-WestFrontispiece
Arms of the SeeTitle Page
The Exterior, from the College2
The Dun Cow9
The West End (from an Old Print)17
The Exterior, from Palace Green20
The Central Tower23
Detail of Ironwork27
The Sanctuary Knocker25
Ironwork on Doors of Cloisters27
Ornament on South Doorway28
The Cloister29
S. Cuthbert's Chest32
The Chapter-House34
The Exterior, from the South-East36
The Nave, looking West38
One Bay of the Nave (Measured Drawing)40
Triforium and Clerestory45
The Choir, looking West47
The Transepts, looking North50
Corbels in Choir54,58
The Choir, looking East55
Triforium of Nave and Choir59
Plan of Norman East End58
Sections of Hood and Arch Mouldings62
Capitals in the Nine Altars Chapel62
The Nine Altars Chapel63
Capital in Galilee Chapel66
The Galilee Chapel67, 72
Paintings in the Galilee Chapel74
Detail of the Galilee Chapel75
The Font and Cover81
The Crypt85
Stone Coffin Lid88
The Chapter Library101
The Chapel or Crypt, Durham Castle102
Staircase in the Castle107
The Cathedral and Castle, from the North113

The Exterior, from the College
The Exterior, from the College.



Table of

The Building Of The Church

The traveller northward by the East Coast Route cannot fail to be struck by the beauty of the city of Durham, with its red-roofed houses nestling beneath the majestic site of the cathedral and castle. For splendid position the Cathedral of Durham stands unequalled in this country; on the Continent, perhaps that of Albi can alone be compared with it in this respect. The cathedral and Norman Castle are upon the summit of a lofty tongue of land which is almost surrounded by the River Wear. In parts the banks are rocky and steep, in others thickly wooded. The river itself is spanned here and there by fine and historic bridges.

The early history of Durham is obscure. There are many vague legends in existence, a natural consequence, perhaps, when we remember the various and often speedy changes of ownership to which that part of the country was for centuries subjected.

To lead up clearly to the founding of the Cathedral of Durham, it will be necessary to describe briefly the earliest introduction of Christianity into the north of England. That Christianity was known in this country during the time of the Romans there is sufficient evidence to prove. There is, however, little to show that it existed in the north to any appreciable extent. All or nearly all the carved stones, altars, etc., disinterred in that part of the country have been of undoubted Pagan origin.

The ancient kingdom of Northumbria comprised the present counties of Durham, Northumberland, and Yorkshire, and a part of the south-east of Scotland as far north as the 4Firth of Forth. This kingdom was sub-divided into two portions. The Southern, or Deira, extended from the Tees to the Humber, and the Northern, or Bernicia, reached from the Tees to the Firth of Forth. The province of Bernicia was settled about A.D. 547 by Ida, a chief of the Angles, who made his headquarters on a steep rock on the sea-coast about sixteen miles south of Berwick. He was succeeded by his son Ethelric, who built himself a stronghold, which he named after his wife Bebbanburgh, a name still retained in a shortened form—Bamburgh. Ethelric was followed by Ella, whose son Edwin was driven into exile by his fierce brother-in-law, Ethelfrith, and took possession of Deira, the southern province of Northumbria. After attaining his majority, Edwin, assisted by Redwald, regained his kingdom, and eventually ruled over the whole of Northumbria; it is during his reign that we find the first authentic history of Christianity in the north. Edwin married Ethelburga, a daughter of Ethelbert, king of Kent, who had been converted to Christianity by the preaching of S. Augustine. He himself received baptism at the hands of Paulinus (625-633), the great Roman missionary, who was sent north with the Princess Ethelburga. Paulinus fixed his headquarters at York, where he built his church, the forerunner of the present cathedral. This attempt of the Romans to christianise Northumbria was, however, of short duration. Cadwalla and Penda rose against them, and Edwin fell in battle at Hatfield Moor in Yorkshire. Paulinus, despairing of the cause, returned to Kent with the queen-widow Ethelburga and her children; and under Cadwalla and Penda, the kingdom soon relapsed into Paganism.

We must now direct our attention to a small, barren island on the west coast of Scotland, Iona. Here came a voluntary exile (A.D. 563), Columba, a monk, said to have been a descendant of the Irish kings. Here he lived and founded a great missionary monastery, which afterwards became the centre of Christian influence in Scotland and the north of England. He and his followers were active workers; they wrote Gospels and devotional books, preached, and built churches of wood. Columba died (A.D. 597), but his work was continued.

In 634, Oswald, a son of Ethelfrith, became king of5 Northumbria. In his youth he, with his brothers, had been obliged to flee to Scotland, where, during his exile, Oswald was converted to Christianity by the teachers of Iona. On his return he defeated and killed Cadwalla at Hevenfeld, or Heavenfield, near Hexham, in 634, and became the means of finally introducing Christianity into his kingdom. Soon after he became king, Oswald sent to Iona for help, and in reply came a monk, who, for some reason, said by old writers to be his harshness, failed in his mission. He was replaced by another monk named Aidan (635-651), who was eminently successful. Beda speaks of him as "a man of great piety and zeal, combined with tender charity and gentleness." Aidan became intimately associated with King Oswald, the two working together, and he chose for his headquarters the small sandy island of Lindisfarne, off the Northumbrian coast, which we now know as "Holy Island."

Lindisfarne thus resembled Iona, and it is probable that the similarity of position and surroundings influenced Aidan in his choice. However that may be, Aidan there founded his monastery and directed the work of his monks.

Passing over a short period, we find at Lindisfarne a monk who is so intimately connected with this cathedral that he demands special attention—the great S. Cuthbert, sixth bishop of Lindisfarne, and the patron saint of Durham. Little is known of his birth and parentage. Some writers give him a Scotch origin, others Irish,1 and others again say he was born of humble parents on the banks of the Tweed. The latter is most probable. Certain it is that at an early age he was left an orphan, and was employed as an under-shepherd near to Melrose. From his earliest youth he was thoughtful and pious, and watched and imitated in his mode of life the monks of Melrose. There are numerous legends and stories of S. Cuthbert's youth. He is said to have wrought many miracles, even to the extent of stilling a tempest. One of these may be told here on account of the share it played in his choice of monastic life:—On a certain night in A.D. 651, while tending his sheep, his companions being asleep, Cuthbert6 saw in the heavens a brilliant shaft of light, and angels descending. These very shortly re-ascended, bearing among them "a spirit of surpassing brightness." In the morning it was found that the good S. Aidan was dead. The vision had a marked and lasting effect on Cuthbert, and eventually resulted in his entering the monastery at Melrose. For ten years Cuthbert led a holy and studious life at Melrose, under Prior Boisil, when he was chosen among others to proceed to the newly-founded monastery at Ripon. His sojourn there was, however, short, as owing to doctrinal differences concerning the celebration of Easter, he and the other Scottish monks returned to Melrose. Some four years later, on the death of Boisil, Cuthbert was elected his successor, as prior of Melrose. In A.D. 664, we find him holding the same office at Lindisfarne, where he remained for twelve years. He then retired from his position, in order to attain a higher degree of Christian perfection by living a solitary life, first on a small island near Lindisfarne, and afterwards on the island of Farne, near Bamburgh. There are many stories told of his great piety at this time, so that even the wild sea-birds are said to have obeyed him.

In the year A.D. 685 Cuthbert was, though against his own wishes, consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne. His great activity and usefulness in this office was soon cut short, for in less than two years, on the 20th of March A.D. 687, he died. Obediently to his own request, his body was wrapped in a linen cloth, which had been given him by the Abbess Yerca; and, placed in a stone coffin, the gift of the Abbot Cudda, was interred in the church at Lindisfarne. He was not to rest, however. In A.D. 698 the monks disinterred his remains in order to place them in a specially-prepared wooden coffin. It is said they found the saint's body perfectly incorrupt. To quote the quaint Hegge:

But whiles they opened his coffin, they start at a wonder, they look't for bones and found flesh, they expected a skeleton, and saw an entire bodie, with joynts flexible, his flesh so succulent, that there only wanted heate to make his bodie live without a soul, and his face so dissembling death, that elsewhere it is true that sleep is the image of death, but here death was the image of sleep. Nay, his very funerall weeds were so fresh, as if putrefaction had not dared to take him 7by the coat.2

Whatever may be the truth of this, his body was placed in a wooden coffin, portions of which are still preserved in the chapter library at Durham.

Over a century and a half after these events the coast of Northumbria was disturbed and troubled by the piratical invasions of the Danes. The number and violence of these incursions so increased that the whole country lay practically at their mercy. Becoming alarmed for their own safety and that of their holy relics, the monks of Lindisfarne fled, taking with them the body of their saint, and all their sacred vessels and books. This occurred in A.D. 875.

Here commenced that long wandering which eventually ended in the founding of the Cathedral Church of Durham, where the bones of S. Cuthbert found their final resting-place.

Bishop Eardulph and his monks, with their sacred charge, travelled for seven years, over a great portion of the north of England and part of the south of Scotland. Many churches dedicated to S. Cuthbert in the north are thought to mark their resting-places. From a list of these given by Prior Wessington the probable route of the wanderers can be approximately, made out as follows:—First to Elsdon and down the Rede to Haydon Bridge. Up the South Tyne to Beltinghame, and then following the route of the Roman Wall to Bewcastle. Turning south to Salkeld, and thence by Eden Hall and Plumbland into Lancashire, towards the river Derwent. Here they came to a determination to cross to Ireland, and took ship from the mouth of the Derwent. Very soon a violent storm arose, the vessel became unmanageable and was nearly filled with water, which, according to Symeon, immediately turned into blood. A return was inevitable. It was during this attempt that the famous copy of the Gospels, known as the Durham Book, was washed overboard into the sea. This book is, perhaps, the most beautiful example of Anglo-Saxon writing and illumination extant, and is surpassed only by the celebrated Irish MS., the Book of Kells. It was shortly afterwards found on the coast in a comparatively uninjured condition; and is now preserved in the British Museum. The wandering monks next turned northwards as far as Witherne, on the Galloway coast, and then returned to England, through 8Westmoreland and across Stainmoor into Teesdale, staying for a time at a village, which no doubt owes it present name Cotherstone to this circumstance. Leaving here and crossing the hills, through Marske, Forcett and Barton, they arrived at the abbey of Craike, near Easingwold, where they were kindly treated by the abbot, and remained about four months. On resuming their journey the monks removed the body of S. Cuthbert to Cuncachester, or, as we now know it, Chester-le-Street, a former Roman camp. Here the fraternity remained for a hundred and thirteen years; and here was the seat of the Bishopric of Bernicia until A.D. 995. Many are the legends clustering round these journeyings. How, when leaving Lindisfarne, the sea opened a passage for them, and how in more than one difficulty the dead saint himself gave them assistance. Notably, on one occasion when the bearers were worn out and weary he appeared and showed them where they would find a horse and car in which to carry their burden. This horse and car were afterwards used on their journeys.

In the year 995, again for safety, they removed once more under Bishop Aldhun, first for a short time to Ripon, and then finally to Durham. It is of this last journey the following story is told:—

"Coming with him" (v. Sanderson), "on the East Side of Durham, to a Place call'd Wardenlawe, they could not with all their Force remove his body further, for it seemed fastened to the Ground; which strange and unforeseen Accident produced great Astonishment in the Hearts of the Bishop, the Monks, and their Associates; whereupon they fasted and prayed three Days with great Devotion, to know by Revelation from God, what to do with the holy Body, which was soon granted to them, it being revealed to Eadmer, a virtuous Man, that he should be carried to Dunholme, where he was to be received to a Place of Rest. They were again in great Distress, in not knowing where Dunholme lay; but as they proceeded, a Woman wanting her Cow, called aloud to her Companion, to know if she had seen her? Who answered, She was in Dunholme. This was an happy and heavenly Sound to the distressed Monks, who thereby had Intelligence that their Journey's End was at Hand, and the Saint's Body near its Resting-place; thereupon with great Joy they arrived with his Body at Dunholme, in the Year 997."


The Dun Cow.
The Dun Cow.

11 Arrived at Dunholm they raised a "little Church of Wands and Branches" to protect the sacred relics until a building more worthy of such a charge could be erected. This was the beginning of the Cathedral and City of Durham.

The condition of the place at this time must have been very wild, and it certainly was a natural stronghold. The only open spot seems to have been the plateau where the cathedral now stands. The site is curiously described in a Saxon poem, from which the following is a translation:—

The City is celebrated
In the whole Empire of the Britons
The road to it is steep
It is surrounded with rocks
And with curious plants
The Wear flows round it
A river of rapid waves
And there live in it
Fishes of various kinds
Mingling with the floods.
And there grow
Great Forests,
There live in the recesses
Wild Animals of many sorts
In the deep valleys
Deer innumerable.

As soon as possible a stone chapel was built, in which the body of S. Cuthbert was placed. Bishop Aldhun, not satisfied with this, determined to establish a great church. Work was immediately commenced and progressed so rapidly that the building, known as "the White Church," was consecrated in A.D. 999. Of this there would seem to be no authentic remains existing; although some authorities think portions of it are included in the present cathedral. Bishop Aldhun died in 1018. The next date of importance is the year 1081, when William of Saint Carileph was appointed Bishop by the Conqueror. He was a monk of the Benedictine order, and at once drove out and dispossessed the secular clergy at Durham, replacing them from the Benedictine Monasteries which were established at Jarrow and Monkwearmouth. Bishop Carileph is the man to whom we owe the present Cathedral of Durham. In 1088 he was obliged to flee into 12 exile in Normandy, where he remained three years, through his having taken part in the rebellion against William II. It was probably during this time of banishment that he conceived the idea that if he returned to Durham he would build a more worthy church, such as were already erected and in course of construction in Normandy.

Soon after his return in 1091 he commenced to carry out his scheme; and we learn that on the 11th of August 1093, the foundation stone of the new church was laid, with great pomp.

The work proceeded rapidly, commencing at the east end. By the time of Bishop Carileph's death, which occurred in 1096, the walls of the choir, the eastern walls of the transepts, the tower arches, and a portion of the first bay of the nave, were completed. It is also very probable that the lower portion of the walls of the whole church are of Carileph's time.

After the death of Bishop Carileph the see of Durham remained vacant for three years. The monks, however, were not idle during this period, and they continued the work vigorously, completing the west walls of the transepts and the vaulting of the north transept. In 1099 Ralph Flambard was appointed bishop, and he held the office until 1128. He carried on the building as the funds at his disposal would allow, sometimes rapidly and at others more slowly. Before his death it would appear that he completed the nave as high as the wall plates and altogether finished and roofed the aisles. The western towers as far as the height of the roof of the nave are also the work of Flambard. In 1104 the work was so far advanced as to permit the removal of the body of S. Cuthbert, from the temporary shrine which Bishop Carileph had erected over it, into the new church. This ceremony was performed on August 29th, 1104, and the coffin was placed in a shrine behind the high altar.

On Flambard's death in 1128 the see was again left vacant for five years, but we are told that the monks continued the work and completed the nave. The portion built by them at this time must of necessity have been the vaulting and roof, the architectural features of which are quite in accordance with the date, being late Norman.

Flambard's successor was Galfrid Rufus, who was Bishop from 1133 to 1140.

13 During his episcopate the chapter-house, which had been commenced by the monks, was completed. Rufus also replaced the then existing north and south doorways of the nave, by those standing to-day.

The next bishop, William de St Barbara (1143 to 1152), does not appear to have added anything to the cathedral. During his time of office the see was usurped by William Cummin, and building operations were no doubt neglected through the troubles arising from the usurpation. His successor, Hugh Pudsey (1153 to 1195) was, however, a great builder; appointed to the see at a comparatively early age, and, living as he did, at a time when very great changes were taking place in architectural style, he was able to carry out a great deal of beautiful work.

He began to build a Lady Chapel at the east end of the choir, but although he had made careful preparations, and engaged skilled architects and workmen, great cracks appeared in the walls before the work had proceeded far, and the building was stopped. Bishop Pudsey, taking this as a divine revelation that the work was not pleasing to God, and the patron S. Cuthbert, abandoned it and commenced another chapel at the west end of the church, using in its erection the Purbeck marble bases and columns which he had had prepared for his eastern chapel. This second attempt was successful and remains to us in that beautiful and unique specimen of Transitional work, the Galilee Chapel. Its date may be taken, says Canon Greenwell, "as about the year 1175." Besides this work Pudsey built the hall and solar now called (at the top) the "Norman Gallery" of Durham Castle.

Little or nothing further seems to have been done until the translation of Bishop Poore from the see of Sarum to Durham in 1229. The name of Bishop Poore is inseparably connected with the building of the present Salisbury Cathedral, and after his removal to Durham he conceived the idea of, and made preparations for, commencing the eastern transept of the Cathedral, which is a special feature of Durham, now known as the Chapel of the Nine Altars. He was not, however, destined to live to see his idea carried out.

The eastern termination of Carileph's choir had been apsidal; it was found to be in a very unsafe condition, cracks and fissures appearing in the walls. Various bishops and priors 14 sent aid towards "the new work," but actual building did not commence until after the death of Bishop Poore in 1237. The erection was commenced by Prior Melsanby and, of course, necessitated the taking down of Carileph's apses. The revaulting of the choir was undertaken at this time, doubtless, for artistic reasons, to bring the new work into harmony with the old. The Chapel of the Nine Altars is a rare and valuable specimen of Early English Gothic architecture of remarkable and graceful design. Below each of its nine lancet windows was originally an altar, dedicated to different saints. Its great height was obtained by lowering the floor, so that the unity of the whole exterior should not be destroyed. Prior Melsanby is also said to have put a new roof on the church.

Prior Hugh de Derlington, who was at the head of affairs from 1258 to 1272, and later from 1285 to 1289, added a belfry to the central tower.

John Fossor, made prior of Durham in 1342, inserted the large window in the north transept and the west windows of the nave.

Bishop Thomas de Hatfield (1346 to 1381) seems to have done no architectural work beyond the erection of his own throne and tomb (in which he was afterwards buried) on the south side of the choir. This is an elaborate and sumptuous piece of work, and shows remains of rich colouring and gilding. About this time, also, the beautiful altar screen known as the Neville screen was erected. Its cost was principally borne by Lord John Neville, though the Priors Fossor and Berrington and the subordinate cells of Jarrow and Monkwearmouth were also contributors. The screen is of stone—very light and graceful, and originally contained in the niches 107 figures, which have unfortunately been destroyed.

Bishop Walter de Skirlaw, who occupied the episcopal throne from 1388 to 1405, was a great builder. To him mainly we owe the present cloisters, though they were completed by his successor, Cardinal Langley, in 1418.

The monks' dormitory on the western side of the cloister is also of this time. On the southern side was the refectory. This portion was rebuilt by Dean Sudbury between 1661 and 1684 and converted into a library, and such it remains to-day.

Near the refectory is the kitchen, built by Prior Fossor. It 15 is octagonal in plan, and possesses a fine groined roof. It is now attached to the deanery, and known as the dean's kitchen.

We must now turn our attention to the erection of the present central tower. The belfry added by Hugh de Derlington was in 1429 struck by lightning and set on fire. It must after this have been repaired in some way, but in 1456 it was in a very unsafe and dangerous condition, as the following letter written by the prior, William Ebchester, to Bishop Neville testifies:—

"The Belfry of your church, both in its masonry and timber, in consequence of winds and storms is so enfeebled and shaken, that doubts are entertained of its standing for any length of time. We have called in workmen in both capacities, and they have reported to us that three of its sides are out of perpendicular, that many of the Key and cornerstones of its windows have fallen out, that in other respects it is defective, and that besides, its woodwork is in a state of great decay so that it cannot be expected to stand for any length of time. Some are of opinion that the belfry should be totally removed as it cannot stand longer; others on the contrary, wish it to be perfectly restored; a thing which exceeds our means, unless we have the advantage of charitable aid. In this state of doubt and hesitation, we have recourse to you, as members to their head, presuming not to engage in any such great and stupendous alteration with reference to your church, without your advice.

"If, which God forbid, the tower should fall, the solemn fabric of our choir, and the shrine of our most holy patron, would without doubt, be broken down and irrevocably laid flat on the ground, for that is the direction in which it leans. We confess that whenever winds and storms are high, and we are standing at our duty in that part of the church we tremble for our fate, having positive danger before our eyes."

Shortly afterwards, the rebuilding of all the upper part of the central tower was commenced and continued for some years. It was not complete in 1474 when Richard Bell was prior, as in a letter written at the time he mentions the "reedificacion of our steeple, begun but nogt fynyshed, in defaulte of goods, as God knoweth." It is therefore most 16 probable that the upper portion was not completed until towards the close of the fifteenth century.

We have now reached a period when the glories of Gothic architecture were fading, during which many of our finest churches suffered considerably. Durham is no exception to the rule, and we find during the next two centuries a long record of destruction and so-called improvement. This, perhaps, reached its worst stage during the time of Wyatt, who in 1796 pulled down the magnificent Norman chapter-house. During the last decade, however, this has been completely rebuilt from as nearly as possible the original design. Wyatt also rebuilt the turrets on the eastern transept or Nine Altar Chapel from his own design, and removed the great Early English rose window in the east end and replaced it by the present one. The original stained glass was taken out of all the windows of the east end, and Raine, in his history, tells us that it "lay for a long time afterwards in baskets upon the floor, and when the greater part of it had been purloined, the remainder was locked up in the Galilee.... At a still later period, about fifteen years ago, portions of it were placed in the great round window, and the rest still remains unappropriated." This was written in 1833. It is also on record that Wyatt formed a scheme to re-open the great western doorway of the cathedral by the pulling down of the Galilee Chapel, from which he intended constructing a carriage-drive to the castle. This abomination was actually commenced when Dean Cornwallis arrived, and he, with the assistance of John Carter, and the Society of Antiquaries, was fortunately able to put a stop to it. Thus was this beautiful and unique specimen of Transitional Norman architecture preserved to us.

Wyatt contemplated several other "improvements" of a similar character, one of which was the surmounting of the central tower by a spire, but fortunately he was not allowed to carry them out.

During the present century many restorations have been made, of which we will mention only the most notable:—The central tower was restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1859.17

The West End (from an Old Print).
The West End in the Seventeenth Century.

18 During 1870 to 1876 extensive internal alterations were made. A new choir screen and pulpit were erected, the floor of the choir laid in marble mosaic, the choir stalls returned to their original positions, and the walls of the church scraped in order to clear them from the many coats of lime and distemper which lay on them.

The Norman chapter-house has lately been restored and in great part rebuilt as a memorial to the late Bishop Lightfoot.


The Exterior, From Palace Green.
The Exterior, From Palace Green.

Table of


Description of the Exterior

Approaching the Cathedral Church of Durham from the north by the large open space between it and the Castle, known as the Palace Green, we obtain a complete elevation of the whole structure. There is little room to doubt, though the details naturally vary with the date of erection, that the original plan of Carileph's church has been carried out in its entirety, with two exceptions. These are the addition of the eastern transept or nine altar chapel at the east, and the Galilee or Lady Chapel at the west end. The entire length of the building, not including the Galilee chapel, is 431 feet, which is made up as follows:—Nine altar chapel 51 feet, the choir 120 feet, the transept 57 feet, and the nave 203 feet.

The Western Towers are square and solid, and were evidently included in Carileph's own scheme, as the wall arcades on both the interior and exterior are carried round them. The Norman work is continued as far as the nave roof, and it is extremely probable that they were originally terminated at this height, in accordance with the Norman custom, with low pyramidal spires, probably of wood. Exactly at what date they were raised is not on record, but the style of architecture of the upper portion suggests the early part of the thirteenth. century. The added portion, namely that above the clerestory, consists of four stages, and is beautifully varied by moulded arcading, with blind and open arches. The first and third stages have pointed arches, while those of the second and fourth are round. Above this again were tall wooden spires covered with lead. These were removed about the year 1657, and towards the close of the eighteenth century the present pinnacles and open parapets were added. At this time, also, much of the surface of the towers was renewed.

The Central Tower.—The present central tower is noble 22 in proportion, and forms a fitting and harmonious summit to the whole group. It must needs be of a very different character from the old Norman tower, of which no trace now remains; and was most probably of the usual type, low and square, and surmounted by a short pyramidal spire. The existing structure may be attributed to Bishop Booth and Prior Richard Bell, about 1474, when the letter previously quoted was written. Externally the tower is divided into two storeys. The lower portion contains, on each side, a pair of two-light windows, glazed, each divided by a transom, and their heads having an ogee label crocketed and finished with a tall finial also crocketed. Between and on either side of these windows are panelled pilasters and brackets carrying figures. The lower and upper stages are divided by a narrow external gallery running round the tower, and protected by a pierced, embattled parapet. This is known as the Bell Ringers' Gallery, and certainly adds greatly to the effect of the tower as a whole. The upper stage, which is much less lofty, has also two two-light windows on each face, surmounted by crocketed ogee label mouldings and finials. These lights are louvred. The whole is surmounted by a deep open-work parapet. On each angle of the tower are two buttresses, which are decorated with panelling and canopied and crocketed niches containing figures. The interior of the tower or lantern is remarkable for the gallery which runs round it, which is reached from the roofs of the nave and choir transepts by doors. It rests on corbels, each alternate one being carved with grotesque heads, and is protected by a parapet pierced in quatrefoils. The four doorways are ogee-headed, with crockets and finials. There is strong evidence in the construction of the present tower that it was the original intention to surmount it by some other erection, probably a spire. Each interior angle contains strong and massive squinches which are of no constructive use at present, and must have been originally inserted to carry some superstructure. The buttresses at the angles are also carried up to the parapet, which would seem to point to the same conclusion. Why this project was never carried out cannot be said, but probably it would not have added to the artistic effect of the tower. The belfry contains a peal of eight bells.23

The Central Tower.
The Central Tower, From Palace Green.

The East Front.—The circumstances which led to the removal of Carileph's apses and the erection of the eastern 25 transept have already been referred to. The present east end is divided into three bays by massive buttresses, each of which contains three lofty lancet windows separated by smaller buttresses. Over all, and in the gable, is the famous large rose window. The north and south ends of the transept are finished with the tall pyramidal pinnacles erected by Wyatt.

Detail Of Ironwork.
Detail Of Ironwork on South Door.

The West Front of Durham has, curiously enough, also lost its original character. The western doorway of the cathedral is hidden on the exterior by the Galilee or Lady Chapel, which was added by Pudsey in 1175. Above the Galilee roof is the large window inserted about the year 1346, while John Fossor was prior. The pointed arch of this window has over it, on the exterior, the original great semi-circular arch. Above this again, and between the two flanking western towers, is a small gable. The west end of the cathedral, when seen from the opposite side of the river, is extremely picturesque. The projecting mass of the Galilee, the western towers, the foreshortened nave roof, and the majestic central tower behind and above, form a group of high and rare excellence.

The Sanctuary Knocker. The Sanctuary Knocker.

The North Door is now the principal entrance to the cathedral. Externally the present porch is the work of Wyatt. The first porch was Norman, of four orders depth, with detached shafts in the recesses. Above this was a high-pitched gable and roof, the front being ornamented with a semi-circular-headed wall arcading. The inner side of the doorway is of two orders only, and is probably the only remaining portion of the original. The outer shaft is left plain, while the inner one, in each case, is most elaborately carved. The capitals are all carved, and the arch moulds richly ornamented with chevrons, foliage, and lozenges, as well as many curious figure subjects. While examining this doorway, notice should be taken of the ironwork of the door itself, and particularly of the sanctuary knocker. In mediæval times all churches afforded sanctuary to wrong-doers, but at places where the shrines of saints existed the sanctuary privileges were much greater. Durham being one of these, there are many curious cases on record of persons claiming the privilege, and protection from the secular law. The earliest instance, of which any record has been kept, of sanctuary being claimed at the shrine of S. Cuthbert is during the episcopate of Cynewulf, who was bishop from 740 to 748, and the last recorded was in 1524. Criminals claiming 26 sanctuary were admitted by two janitors, who occupied two small chambers over the doorway, traces of which may still be observed. The knocker itself, as may be seen from the illustration, is a great grotesque head, made of bronze, and hanging from its grinning mouth is a ring. Originally, there is no doubt, the eyes were filled with crystals or enamel, as small claw-like pieces of bronze remain by which the filling was attached. The age of this piece of work is probably the same as that of the doorway itself.27

Ironwork On Doors of Cloisters.
Ironwork On Doors of Cloisters.

The South Doorways.—There are two doorways into the south aisle, one, known as the Monks' Door, opening from the western portion of the cloisters and immediately opposite the north porch just described. On the cloister side this shows a Norman arch resting on double shafts, which are enriched with a lozenge pattern. 28 On the inner or aisle side there are two orders, with shafts in the recesses, which are also decorated with the lozenge. The inner arch is carved with chevrons, and the outer with conventional foliage and medallions. The capitals are richly carved with foliage and grotesques. On the abacus and arch of this doorway occurs a leaf pattern strongly suggesting the Byzantine influence which at one time was found in Norman decoration. Here again, on the door itself, we have a fine specimen of very elaborate and characteristic Norman iron-work. The second, known as the Priors' Door, opens into the south aisle from the eastern alley of the cloister, is also Norman. The outer or cloister side is of the time of Bishop Pudsey, and has an arch of four orders, with three shafts in the recesses on either side. Its once elaborate sculpture is now much decayed, not enough remaining to suggest that in its original state this doorway must have been a noble specimen of the architectural design of its period. On the inner side it exhibits work of Carileph's time, with an early arch, cushion capitals, and shafts.

Ornament On South Doorway.
Ornament On South Doorway.

The Western Doorway.—The exterior of this great doorway is now within the Galilee chapel. It was built by Flambard (1099-1128), and is comparatively plain. On the Galilee side it consists of an arch of four orders ornamented with chevrons. The inner face is very similar to the outer, but is shallower, having only two orders. The shafts and capitals are without decoration, and the arch ornamented with chevron and a leaf pattern with medallions carved with grotesque animals. In 29 order to reopen this doorway and make a carriage road up to it, Wyatt proposed pulling down the Galilee chapel.

The Cloister.
The Cloister.

The Cloister occupies a large open space, bounded on the south, east, and west by the various monastic buildings, and on the north by the cathedral itself. The existing cloister was commenced during the time of Bishop Skirlaw (1388 to 1406), and was completed by Cardinal Langley (who held the see from 1406 till 1438), probably in the earlier part of his episcopate. The contracts (the first dated 1398) for building the cloister are still preserved in the treasury. We are indebted to Bishop Skirlaw for their very existence, as it is recorded that he contributed sums of money for this purpose, both during his life and by his will. The cloister, as seen to-day, has been very much altered and restored, and probably the only original 30feature remaining is the fine oaken ceiling. This is panelled, and moulded, and decorated with shields, upon which are painted and gilded various coats of arms. In the centre of the cloister garth are the remains of what was the monks' lavatory. It was erected in the years 1432 and 1433, and was of octagonal shape. Some of the stone for its construction was brought from Egglestone-on-Tees, on payment of rent to the abbot of that place to quarry it. It is said to have had twenty-four brass spouts, seven windows, and in its upper storey a dovecote, the roof of which was covered with lead.

There is no doubt that there was a cloister attached to the monastery in its early days, but of this no trace remains. It is also probable that one was erected by Bishop Pudsey, though this also has entirely vanished, unless (as suggested by Canon Greenwell) some marks of a lean-to roof on the north and east walls may be traces of its presence. In the western alley of the cloister is the old treasury, rich in records, and the vestries for canons, king's scholars, and choristers. The alley opens at the end into what is now called the crypt (see p. 85). This was undoubtedly the common hall of the monks. It is a spacious stone-vaulted chamber. The columns are low and massive, with simple moulded caps, from which the chamfered vaulting ribs diverge. Over the hall or crypt is the dormitory, which for a long time formed part of a residence attached to one of the stalls. It is now, however, used as a library. It occupies the whole of the western side of the cloister, and is 194 feet long. It was originally subdivided, by wooden partitions, into separate sleeping-rooms for each monk. Its massive roof of oak is worthy of attention, the tree trunks being merely roughly squared with an axe (see p. 99).

In the south alley was the refectory and the monks' common dining-hall. The original building is now entirely altered, though there remains beneath it a very early crypt, with plain, short square piers, and a simple quadripartite vault without ribs. Another portion is covered by a wagon-head vault. Whether the original refectory was of similar architectural character it is now impossible to say, as, whatever it may have been, it was removed early in the sixteenth century and rebuilt, and after the dissolution of the monastery was used by the Minor Canons of the church as a common hall. It seems to have fallen into a bad state of repair, and was again31 entirely reconstructed by Dean Sudbury (1661-1684), who was elected to that office immediately after the Restoration. He converted it into a library, to which use it is still put. The account of this building, given in the "Antiquities of Durham," is of sufficient interest to bear quotation.

"In the South Alley of the Cloysters," says our authority, "is a large Hall, called the Frater-house, finely wainscotted on the North and South sides; and in the West and nether Part thereof, is a long Bench of Stone in Mason-work, from the Cellar Door to the Pantry or Cove Door: Above the Bench is Wainscot Work two Yards and a Half high, finely carved, and set with imboss'd Work in Wainscot, and gilded under the carved Work. Above the Wainscot was a large Picture of our Saviour Christ, the blessed Virgin Mary, and S. John, in fine gilt Work, and most excellent Colours; which Pictures having been washed over with Lime did long appear through it. This Wainscot had engraven on the Top of it, Thomas Castell, Prior, Anno Domini, 1518 Mensis Julij. Whence it is manifest that Prior Castell wainscotted the Frater-house round about.

"Within the Frater-house Door, on the Left Hand at entering, is a strong Almery in the Wall, wherein a great Mazer, called the Grace Cup, stood, which every day served the Monks after Grace, to drink out of round the Table; which cup was finely edged about with Silver, and double Gilt. In the same place were kept many large and great Mazers of the same sort.... Every Monk had his Mazer severally by himself to drink in, and had all other Things that served the whole Convent, and the Frater-house in their daily Service, at their Diet, and at their Table.... At these Times (at meals) the Master observed these wholesom and godly Orders, for the continual instruction of their Youth in Virtue and Learning; that is, one of the Novices appointed by the Master, read some Part of the Old and New Testament in Latin, during Dinner, having a convenient place at the South End of the High Table, within a beautiful Glass Window, encompass'd with Iron, and certain Stone Steps, with Iron Rails to go up to an Iron Desk, whereon lay the Holy Bible....

"This Fabrick retained the Name of the Petty Canons' Hall till Dr Sudbury, Dean of the Cathedral, generously erected a 32 beautiful Library in its Place; but he not living to finish it compleatly, did by (a clause) in his Last Will, bind his Heir, Sir John Sudbury, to the due Execution thereof."

S. Cuthbert's Chest.
S. Cuthbert's Chest in the Castle.

The contents of the library are both numerous and interesting. There are several thousands of volumes, many of them being rare and valuable. Numerous ancient illuminated MSS., among which is a copy of the Gospels of S. Mark, S. Luke, and S. John, written before the year 700; and several books given by Bishops Carileph and Pudsey. Among the latter is a Bible, in four volumes, in its original stamped leather binding. A collection of ancient copes belonging to the cathedral, and the remains of the robes of S. Cuthbert, and other relics taken from his coffin when it was exhumed, in 1827, may also be seen here. Numerous specimens of Roman altars, tablets, and sculptured stones, from various Roman stations in Durham and Northumberland, notably from Hexham, are preserved in this library, which is open to the public on Tuesday and Friday in each week from eleven to one. The room is finely proportioned, and has a magnificent open timber roof.33

The Chapter-House.
The Chapter-House.

The Chapter-House opens upon the eastern alley of the cloister. The present building is a very recent restoration of the original, which is acknowledged to have been the finest existing Norman chapter-house remaining in England. It was erected, or more probably completed, during the time of Bishop Galfrid Rufus (1133-1140), and was in existence until 1796, during the episcopate of Bishop Barrington. At that time it was almost totally destroyed, on the advice of Wyatt, who reported to the chapter that it was in a ruinous state. The truth of this report is doubtful, but the partial demolition of the building was ordered in November 1795, and also the construction of a new room on the site. The work of destruction was begun by knocking out the keystones of the vaulting and 34 allowing the roof to fall in. The eastern half of the building was then altogether removed, and the remaining portion enclosed by a wall. Its interior was faced with lath and plaster, a plaster ceiling and a boarded floor being added. Fortunately authentic records of its original appearance, both exterior and interior, are in existence. They are the drawings made for the Society of Antiquaries by John Carter in 1795. Its dimensions were 78 by 35 feet; the east end being apsidal and the roof a vault of one span. Round the wall of the interior ran a stone bench raised on two steps, which was surmounted, except at the west end, by a wall arcade, of round-headed intersecting arches, similar to that in the aisles of the cathedral, but with single instead of double shafts. Above the arcade was a string course carved with zig-zag ornament. The entrance was from the west end, and the east end was occupied by two seats, one for the bishop and one for the prior. In the apse were five three-light windows of the Decorated period, and above the western door a five-light Perpendicular window, which contained coloured glass, illustrating the "Root of Jesse." On either side of this was a window of two lights, divided by a shaft and enclosed under one arch, carved with chevron ornament. There was also a round-headed Norman window in each of the north and south walls. A doorway in the south wall led to three chambers, one larger, and two smaller, which are stated in the "Rites of Durham" to have been used as a prison for the monks. The chapter-house was used in early times as a burial-place for the bishops, and many of their graves with inscriptions were in existence previous to the demolition of 1796. During excavations in 1874, the graves of Bishops Flambard, Galfrid Rufus, S. Barbara, de Insula, and Kellaw were opened, when various rings and the head of a crozier were discovered and removed to the dean and chapter library.

The chapter-house has now been entirely restored as a memorial to the late Bishop Lightfoot.

The Northern Alley of the Cloister, running along the south wall of the church, contains little of interest, except the two doorways previously described.

The effect of the cloister as a whole, in its original condition, with the windows glazed, many containing fine stained glass, 35 the oak roof with its heraldry and colour, and the lavatory in the centre of the garth, must have been exceptionally fine.

A sculptured panel on the north-west turret of the Nine Altar Chapel is now known as the Dun Cow. The original sculpture was replaced in the last century by the existing panel, but the legend connected with it is interesting. After their flight from Chester-le-Street, the monks, bearing the body of S. Cuthbert, remained some time at Ripon. While trying to return to Chester-le-Street, at a place called Wardlaw, the coffin stuck fast, and remained absolutely fixed. A fast of three days was proclaimed and kept, when it was revealed to them that they were to carry their saint to Dunholme. Still they were in difficulties, not knowing where Dunholme was, but fortune, or Providence, again favoured them. A woman, who had lost a cow, passed, calling to a companion to inquire if she had seen the animal. The reply was that her cow was in Dunholme; and, to the relief of the monks, they and their precious charge soon safely arrived there. In grateful 36 commemoration of the incident Flambard erected this monument of a milkmaid and her cow. (See p. 9.)

The Exterior, from the South-east.
The Exterior, from the South-east.

The exterior of Durham Cathedral as a whole may at first sight be disappointing to the visitor. Seen from a near view there is a certain flatness of effect and want of light and shade which is, perhaps, slightly unpleasant. This is, however, largely attributable to the scaling and scraping process to which the building was subjected during the last century, when some inches of the outer surface of the stone, and with it much architectural detail, were removed. The result is the flatness previously alluded to, and a general newness of appearance pervades the structure. Seen, however, from a distance, where only the finely-grouped and proportioned masses of masonry, towers, and turrets stand against the sky, the result is magnificent, giving an impression of grandeur and dignity unsurpassed by any other English cathedral.


The Nave, looking West.
The Nave, looking West.

Table of


Description of the Interior

If the exterior of Durham is in any way disappointing, the interior more than compensates for its shortcomings. The general impression on entering the church is one of simple dignity and solemnity. The great massiveness of the structure and absence of elaborate ornament no doubt contribute to this feeling. The pious builders of old have certainly contrived to stamp on their work their own feeling of awe in the presence of the All-Powerful and Eternal God. Whatever has been lost through vandalism and the restorer, this remains unaltered. The general design of the church, exclusive of detail, which, of course, changed and developed with the progress of Gothic art, has undoubtedly been carried out on the plan intended by Bishop Carileph, the only important variation being the addition of the transept at the east end, known as the Nine Altars Chapel. The original plan consists of a nave and aisles, transepts with aisles on their eastern side, a choir also with aisles, and the three apses of the east end, with a central tower over the junction of transepts, nave, and choir, and towers flanking the west end.

Each bay of the Nave is divided into two sub-bays. The main bays have massive piers with engaged shafts on the recessed faces. The bases of these are cruciform in plan, though the arms of the cross are very short. At the height of the springing of the arch the shafts are surmounted by plain cushion capitals. The division into sub-bays is effected by the introduction midway of a massive round column on a square base. These columns are ornamented in various ways, by channels cut on the face. Some take the form of a zig-zag, some a spiral, others a spiral in two directions, forming a trellis-like pattern, and others again are reeded vertically. Their capitals are octagonal cushions. The arches of the sub-bays 40 are recessed square, with the usual Norman roll moulding, decorated with chevrons, and on the wall face a square billet. The chevron ornament is absent in the earlier work in the choir and transepts. The triforium is almost uniform throughout the whole church. In each sub-bay it consists of two small arches under one larger one, with the tympanum solid. Here also the capitals are cushions and perfectly plain.

Above the triforium is the clerestory, which contains one light to each sub-bay, and surmounting all is the vaulting, which springs from the piers and from grotesquely carved corbels between the triforium arches. The vaulting ribs are ornamented with chevrons on either side of a bold semi-circular moulding. So much for the general arrangement of the bays. Some idea of the massiveness of the structures may be gathered when it is known that each group of the clustered pillars separating the bays covers an area of two hundred and twenty-five square feet at its base, while those of the cylindrical columns of the sub-bays are twelve feet square, and the columns themselves have a circumference of over twenty-three feet. There is little room to doubt that the effect obtained by the old builders of Durham was intentional. The masterly way in which great masses of solid masonry, greater than was constructively necessary, are handled, and the reticence and delicacy of the ornament combine to prove this. There is in the whole scheme a delightful union of great power and vigour in the masses, and of tenderness and loving care in the detail.

The Choir is the earliest part of the church. Its two western bays show Carileph's work, but the eastern piers have been considerably altered owing to the addition at a later period of the eastern transept, when Carileph's apses were taken down. This bay contains some very rich and beautiful detail. The piers on either side of the choir are decorated with arcades, the lower stage having six arches, and the upper three, all richly carved with foliage in the caps and hood moulds, and with heads and half figures. There is also a square aumbry on each pier. Above the upper arcade, which breaks through the level of the triforium string course, which is also carried round it, there is on each pier a figure of an angel beneath a canopy. These are the only two figures remaining of many which formerly added to the beauty of the interior of the church. The vaulting of the choir is thirteenth-century work, quadripartite, the ribs decorated with dog-tooth ornament and square leaves, and has fine bosses at the intersections of the diagonal ribs. The choir of Durham is especially interesting to the student of architecture, showing as it does the Early Norman work of Carileph, combined with the Early English and Early Decorated work of the newer eastern portion.41

One Bay Of The Nave (Measured Drawing).
One Bay Of The Nave (Measured Drawing).

43 On the south side of the choir stands the monument of Bishop Hatfield, who directed the see of Durham from 1345 until 1381. This monument is beneath the Episcopal Throne, which was erected by Bishop Hatfield himself. It consists of an altar tomb surmounted by a recumbent effigy of the bishop, in richly-worked robes, beneath a canopy, richly groined, with foliated bosses at the intersections of the ribs. On the walls at the east and west ends may still be seen the remains of fresco painting, representing in each case two angels. Beneath the staircase leading up to the throne is a very fine decorated arcade, containing several shields bearing the bishop's and other arms. The whole structure was originally richly coloured and gilded, and remains of this work can still be made out. It is a noble specimen of the work of its date.

Immediately opposite the tomb of Bishop Hatfield, on the north side of the choir, the visitor will notice the recently-erected memorial to the late Bishop Lightfoot. This is an altar tomb of black and coloured marble. The sides are ornamented with panels of Perpendicular tracery containing shields. Round the upper mouldings runs a Latin inscription in brass. The whole is surmounted by a recumbent figure of the bishop in white marble, his hands on his breast, and his feet resting against three books. Originally designed by Sir Edgar Boehm, R.A., at his death the monument was completed by Alfred Gilbert, R.A.

The beautiful altar screen is usually known as the Neville Screen, and was erected about the year 1380, mainly from moneys supplied by John, Lord Neville of Raby. It spans the whole of the choir, and is continued along the sides of the sacrarium, forming sedilia of four seats on either side. It is pierced by two doors, which lead to the shrine of S. Cuthbert, immediately behind the screen. Though very light and graceful in appearance, the screen, as it is at present, can give the beholder little idea of what its appearance must 44 have been when each of its canopied niches contained a figure aglow with gold and colour. There were originally 107 of these statues, the centre one representing Our Lady, supported on either side by S. Cuthbert and S. Oswald. Unfortunately none of the figures remain in situ.

Immediately in front of the steps of the high altar will be seen the matrix of a large brass. It covers the grave of Ludovick de Bellomonte, Bishop of Durham from 1318 to 1333. The slab, which is in two pieces, measures fifteen feet ten inches by nine feet seven inches, and an examination will show the brass to have been an elaborate and sumptuous composition. Unfortunately all the metal work has disappeared.

The Stalls, as they originally existed, were destroyed in 1650 by the Scottish prisoners, who were kept in the cathedral after the battle of Dunbar. The present stalls we owe to Bishop Cosin (1660 to 1672), and they are remarkable pieces of carving for that date. In general character they imitate Perpendicular work, though the details do not adhere altogether to that style.

Before leaving this part of the church a note may be devoted to the alterations and additions made during the years 1870 to 1876. A new screen between the nave and choir was then erected; the choir floor relaid with marble mosaic; the stalls replaced in their old positions, and new portions made to replace those destroyed in 1846. A new organ, pulpit, and lectern were also added.

The new Choir Screen is very much open to criticism. Though no doubt beautiful in detail, and of excellent workmanship, its effect, as a whole, is not pleasant, when seen from the west end silhouetted against the light of the choir. A screen previously existed in this position erected by Bishop Cosin. This was removed in 1846, with the idea of improving the appearance of the church from the west end by obtaining a "vista" through to the Neville screen and rose window of the eastern transept. The effect seems, however, to have been disappointing, hence the erection of the present screen, which may or may not have improved matters. In the two western piers of the choir holes may be seen cut in the stonework. These received the rood-beam from which, during Lent, the Lenten curtain was suspended.45

Triforium and Clerestory.
Triforium and Clerestory.


The Choir, looking West.
The Choir, looking West.

49 The North Aisle of the Choir, again, shows the joining and harmonising of the "new work" of the eastern transept with the earlier Norman work. Inside the church the most easterly bay appears to be altogether of Early English date; but on the exterior it will be seen that the Norman wall runs right up to the western wall of the eastern transept. The interior of the bay, however, is enriched with a wall arcade similar to that in the Nine Altars Chapel, and the arch and vault are decorated with foliage and dog-tooth ornament.

Along the side wall of this aisle runs a stone bench bearing the arms of Bishop Walter de Skirlaw (1388 to 1405), near which he was buried, but his monument and brass, erected by himself, have disappeared.

Slightly westward of the bench is a doorway which at one time opened into the Sacrist's Exchequer, erected by Prior Wessington, but it has long ago been destroyed.

The piers of the west end of this aisle bear marks which were originally holes cut in the stone. These served to support a porch, having a rood and altar, which is thus described in the "Rites of Durham":

"Right over the Entrance of this North Alleye, going to the Songe Scoole (the Exchequer mentioned above) there was a porch adjoyninge to the quire on the South, and S. Benedick's altar on the North, the porch having in it an altar, and the roode or picture of our Saviour, which altar and roode was much frequented in devotion by Docteur Swalwell, sometime monk of Durham, the said roode havinge marveilous sumptuous furniture for festivall dayes belonginge to it."

The South Aisle Of the Choir is similar architecturally to the north aisle. Here may be seen a doorway, of late thirteenth-century work, which originally led to the revestry, now destroyed.

Here again the eastern piers bear marks left by holes in the stonework, which originally earned the supports of a screen, in front of which the Black Rood of Scotland, which was taken from King David at the battle of Neville's Cross (1346), was placed. The rood is described as having been brought from Holyrood by David Bruce, and was made of silver, with effigies of our Saviour, S. John, and Our Lady, having crowns of gold on their heads. The Black Rood was restored to its original possessors at the close of the war.

50 The windows of both the choir aisles originally contained very fine old stained glass, representing various saints, and scenes in the life of S. Cuthbert.

The Transepts.—Leaving the choir by its western end the visitor at once enters the transepts. A large portion of these, including the great piers and arches which carry the central tower, are, without doubt, of the time of Carileph. The eastern side of both is certainly his work, while the western is probably the building which was carried on by the monks in the interval between Carileph's death, in 1096, and the appointment of Flambard to the see in 1099. The work on the eastern sides differs little from that of the choir, while that of the western sides, being plainer, has been thought by some to indicate a want of means on the part of the monks, while carrying on the work in the interval just alluded to. Each transept consists of two bays, with an aisle on the eastern side, access to which is gained by the ascent of three steps.

Each of the three sub-bays nearest the north and south extremities originally contained an altar, those in the north transept being dedicated to S. Nicholas and S. Giles, S. Gregory and S. Benedict. Over the site of the latter may still be seen remains of fresco painting. The altars in the south transept were dedicated—one to S. Faith and S. Thomas the Apostle, one to our Lady of Bolton and the other to our Lady of Houghall. The north transept is closed by a large window, which is the work of Prior Fossor, probably about the year 1362. The window is of six lights, and the head contains late geometrical tracery. The architectural feature of this window, especially for its date, is the transom which crosses the mullions, and which is not visible from the exterior. Below the transom is a second inner set of mullions supporting a small gallery, by means of which access may be had to the triforium. In the year 1512 the window was repaired by Prior Castell, who filled it with stained glass containing large figures, among others of S. Augustine, S. Ambrose, S. Gregory, and S. Jerome. From this circumstance the window became known as the window of the Four Doctors of the Church. Prior Castell also contrived to introduce a figure of himself kneeling at the feet of the Virgin. The large window at the end of the south transept, also named from the glass it contained, the Te Deum window, is in the Perpendicular style, and is of six lights. It may possibly have been the work of Prior Wessington, 1416 to 1446. Along the sill of this window also access may be had to the triforium.51

The Transepts, looking North.
The Transepts, looking North.

53 Both the north-west and south-west corners of the transepts contain stairways, opening at their various levels on to the triforium, clerestory, and the space between the vaulting and the roof. That in the south transept also gives access to the central tower and belfry, an ascent of which, if the day be clear, will repay the visitor for his fatiguing climb of three hundred and forty steps by the magnificent view spread at his feet. The transepts were no doubt the earliest part of the building to be vaulted; that of the northern arm being plain is probably the earlier, while that of the south arm, though of similar character, has zig-zag ornaments. Several of the priors of Durham were buried in the transepts, the first, Prior Fossor, 1364, and the last, Robert Ebchester, who died in 1484.

On the piers of the transepts projecting brackets may be noticed. These are of Perpendicular date, and originally carried statues.

The crossing, or space between the four piers supporting the central tower, gives us a fine view of the interior of the lantern.

The Tower is carried on four large clustered Norman piers with semi-circular arches. Over the arches, and seventy-seven feet above the floor of the church, is the lower stage of the lantern, round which is a gallery with an open pierced parapet. It rests on corbels, each alternate one being carved with a grotesque head. The walls are panelled up to the base of the great windows,—each panel having two cinquefoiled arches under a crocketed canopy and final; while between them are small buttresses, also panelled, and ending in a finial which reaches the same height as the canopy. Over the panelling is a string course ornamented with that characteristic ornament of the Perpendicular period, the Tudor flower, and above this on each face two tall windows near together. Each window has two lights, and is divided by a transom. The roof of the lantern is groined, with fine bosses at the intersections of the ribs. The whole seen from below has a very fine effect, and must be very different in appearance from the original Norman structure. The whole of the 54 lantern was refaced, and the statues which had been removed from their niches were replaced, some thirty years ago, by the Dean and Chapter of Durham.

Corbel in Choir.
Corbel in Choir at Junction of Old and New Work.

The Norman East End.—The original form of the Norman east end has long been the subject of discussion and conjecture. It was practically safe to assume that the choir ended in an apse, though whether the aisles were also apsidal, or continued round a great apse as an ambulatory, was a debatable point. This question has now been finally settled.55

The Choir, looking East.
The Choir, looking East.

57 During some operations necessitating the opening of the floor, in January 1895, certain indications were found which led the diocesan architect, Mr C.H. Fowler, and Canon Greenwell to continue the excavation. The result was the discovery that Carileph's church certainly possessed three apses—a large one terminating the choir, and smaller ones the aisles. The apses of the aisles were square externally, and apsidal internally. The great apse consisted of five bays, one on either side next to the choir, forming an oblong between the choir and the springing line of the curve of the apse, over which would be the great sanctuary arch. The remainder, or apse proper, was divided into three bays by engaged clustered shafts, similar to those of the choir and nave. It was surrounded by a wall arcade of the same character as that of the rest of the church. The base of one of the shafts of the arcade was found in position. An extremely interesting point in this discovery is the fact that the levels are the same as those of the nave and choir. The foundations are on the rock at the same depth, and the aisle walls and apse walls are in the same line. The external square line of the aisle apses is in line with the springing of the choir apse. The foundations of the apse to the north aisle have been thoroughly excavated, and there is every reason to believe that that on the south side of the church entirely corresponds. The width of the north aisle apse from north to south is nine feet eight inches. There can be little doubt, judging from the remainder of Carileph's work, that all three apses were covered with stone vaults, though of precisely what character can only be a matter of conjecture. The cracking, previously spoken of, which led to this part of the church being taken down and the new eastern transept being erected, cannot have arisen from any subsidence of the foundations. It, in all probability, was the result of the thrust of the apse vaults on to walls which were insufficiently buttressed. The marks on some of the stones found during this excavation, and the shape of others, seem to point to the conclusion that here we have the earliest part of the church, and that Carileph used up in his foundations much of the stone of Aldhun's White Church.

Of the two usual eastern endings to Norman churches—viz. those with three apses, and those having the aisle carried round as an ambulatory—the latter is far more common in 58 England, and the former on the Continent. There are two other notable instances of the three apsidal arrangement in England: S. Albans, 1077, which is earlier than Durham; and Peterboro', 1117, which is later than, and was probably modelled on, Durham. There are many examples of ambulatories—the White Tower Church (London), Winchester, Gloucester, Worcester, and Norwich being among them.

Corbel in Choir.

The apses of Durham are of considerable depth from east to west, the oblong bay previously mentioned, which is fourteen feet wide in that direction, adding greatly to this effect. The width of the foundations is fourteen feet, and the width of the wall has been seven feet. The diameter of the choir apse from north to south was about thirty-two feet.

These discoveries are specially interesting, completing as they do the whole chain, and leading us with very little imagination to see in its original condition what must have been, and may even now claim to be, the most noble example of Norman architecture in our country.


Triforium of Nave and Choir.
Triforium of Nave and Choir, Showing Junction of Old and New Work.
Plan of Norman East End.
Plan of Norman East End, With Tomb and Shrine of St. Cuthbert at A.
Sections of Hood and Arch Mouldings.

61 The Nine Altars Chapel.—Leaving the consideration of what once occupied the site of the east end of Durham, we will turn our attention to the beautiful erection which now stands there, the eastern transept, or, as it is named from the altars of the saints it once contained beneath its windows, the Chapel of the Nine Altars. It is approached from the aisles by steps, the floor level being lower than that of the church proper. It is altogether a remarkable and interesting structure. With its lightness and loftiness contrasting grandly with the massive Norman nave and choir, its clustered columns of polished marble alternating with stone, its fine bold sculpture, its splendid vaulted roof and rich arcading, it forms a perfect example of the Early English style. Though regular and symmetrical in general design, the detail shows great variety, and even irregularity, a quality so often present in old work, and so much to its advantage. In 62 general character it may be compared with that at Fountains Abbey, which was built during the same time.

The circumstances leading to its erection have been already referred to. The Norman apses having been partly removed, owing to their dangerous condition, the "New Work," as it was always called, was commenced in the year 1242. The eastern wall, with its rose and nine lancet windows, is the earliest part of the chapel, the north and south walls being later. The joining and blending of the work with the Norman of Carileph's choir had evidently been accomplished when the chapel was almost completed. The eastern wall is of three bays, each bay having three lofty lancet windows. The bays are not of equal width, the centre one being regulated by the width of the nave of the church, and narrower than the north and south bays.

Capital in the Nine Altars Chapel. Capital: Chapel of the Nine Altars.
Capital in the Nine Altars Chapel. Capital: Chapel of the Nine Altars.

A very beautiful arcade runs completely round the walls. It is of trefoil arches, deeply and richly moulded, supported on marble columns carved with foliage. Over the arches is a hood mould terminating with heads. In the spandrels are a series of deeply-sunk and moulded quatrefoils, two of which contain sculpture. The bases of the columns rest on a plinth. Surmounting this arcade is a moulded string, from the level of which rise the windows, and above the windows another string course and a second range of windows. In the centre bay, however, is the large rose window, which is over thirty feet in diameter.63

The Nine Altars Chapel.
The Nine Altars Chapel. Looking North, With Tomb of St. Cuthbert on the Left.

65 The division of the chapel into three bays is effected by two main vaulting arches, which spring on the western side from the piers of the east end of the choir, and on the eastern side from responds of clustered shafts alternately of marble and stone, banded at intervals and having richly carved capitals. The arches themselves are deeply moulded and ornamented with dog-tooth ornament and foliage. The vault of the central bay has eight ribs—two springing from each of the clusters just described, and two from each of the choir piers. The vaulting of the remaining bays is quadripartite, but has peculiarities which are worthy of notice, arising from inequality of width. We must not omit to call attention to the exquisite sculpture of the vaulting. The centre has figures of the Four Evangelists, while in the north is a beautifully executed carving of vine and grapes, and in the south, figure subjects. Among the sculptured heads on the wall arcade at the south end, at the western side of the two bays into which the south wall is divided, are two which are portraits of the men to whom we owe the design and execution of the beautiful sculpture of this chapel. One is an elderly man, the other much younger, and both wear linen dust-caps over their heads.

The nine lancet windows were originally filled with ancient stained glass, which, as the reader will remember, was removed, Below each window was an altar. They were dedicated a follows, beginning at the south end of the chapel:—

1. S. Andrew and S. Mary Magdalene. } South bay.
2. S. John the Baptist and S. Margaret.
3. S. Thomas of Canterbury and S. Catherine.
4. S. Oswald and S. Lawrence. } Middle bay.
5. S. Cuthbert and S. Bede.
6. S. Martin.
7. S. Peter and S. Paul. } North bay.
8. S. Aidan and S. Helen.
9. S. Michael the Archangel.  

The rose window over the lancets of the middle bay is Wyatt's "restoration" of the original one. It consists of an outer circle of twenty-four and an inner circle of twelve radiating lights, the mullions of which are received on a foliated circle in the centre.

66 In the north wall of the chapel is a very fine window, known as the Joseph window, on account of the stained glass it originally contained, which illustrated the life-history of Joseph. It is a beautiful example of Early Decorated or geometrical Gothic, and is of six lights. There is an inner plane of tracery resting on clustered shafts, which is connected to the mullions of the window proper by through stones. The window occupies the complete width of the north end of the chapel. The painted glass which it once contained is thus described in the "Rites of Durham":

Capital in Galilee Chapel.

"In the North Alley of the said Nine Altars, there is another goodly faire great glass window, called Joseph's Window, the which hath in it all the whole storye of Joseph, most artificially wrought in pictures in fine coloured glass, accordinge as it is sett forth in the Bible, verye good and godly to the beholders thereof."

This window deserves the attention of the architectural student, as it is an exceedingly fine specimen of the tracery of its date.

The south wall of the chapel contains two windows, each divided by a central mullion, and having an inner mullion connected by through stones. They are widely splayed inwards, and separated by a group of vaulting shafts. One or both of these windows contained stained glass, with the history of the life and miracles of S. Cuthbert. As seen at present, they contain tracery of the Perpendicular period, a restoration of that inserted by Prior Wessington. Each window is of two lights, crossed by a transom. Entry to the nine altars was provided for, as well as from the choir and aisles, by two doors on the western side of its north and south walls. The northern doorway is now walled up. They enter through the wall arcade. The writer of the "Rites of Durham" says the north door was made in order to bring in the body of Bishop Anthony Bek, who is buried in the chapel. The architectural features of the doorway would, however, seem to contradict this theory, and there is little room to doubt that both north and south doorways formed part of the original design of the structure.67

The Galilee Chapel.
The Galilee Chapel.

69 Before leaving this interesting portion of the building we must direct our attention to its most important contents, the Tomb of S. Cuthbert. This, as at present to be seen, is a great oblong platform, thirty-seven feet long by twenty-three feet wide, and its upper surface or floor six feet above the floor of the chapel. Beneath a slab in the centre the bones of the patron saint rest. The shrine of S. Cuthbert at one time stood upon this platform, but of that no vestige remains.

The floor of the platform is reached by two doors through the Neville screen in the choir, and by a small stairway from the south aisle. The wanderings of the monks of Lindisfarne with the body of their saint, their many difficulties and trials, and their ultimate settlement at Dunholme or Durham, have already been described. The shrine was eventually set up in its present position by Bishop Carileph, in 1104, when he brought it from the cloister garth from the tomb he had there set up for its temporary reception, until his church was sufficiently advanced to permit of its removal thither. It was visited by large numbers of pilgrims, and many important personages were among them. Of these may be mentioned William the Conqueror, Henry III. (1255), Edward II. (1322), and Henry VI. (1448). The shrine was destroyed soon after the surrender of the monastery to the Crown, in 1540, when the body was buried beneath the place where its former receptacle had stood. There have since this time been traditions that the exact place of the burial was secret, and known only, according to one account, to three Benedictine monks, who each handed the secret down to a successor. The other tradition places the knowledge of the place of burial in the hands of the Roman Catholic bishops of the Northern Province. One of these traditions was made public in the year 1867, and gave the place of interment as being under the second and third steps leading to the tower from the south transept. This place was excavated and examined, but no trace of any burial could be found there. It 70 is to these traditions that Scott refers, in Marmion, in the following lines:—

Chester-le-Street, and Ripon saw
His holy corpse, ere Wardilaw
Hailed him with joy and fear;
And after many wanderings past,
He chose his lordly seat at last,
Where his cathedral, huge and vast,
Looks down upon the Wear.
There deep in Durham's Gothic shade
His relics are in secret laid;
But none may know the place,
Save of his holiest servants three,
Deep sworn to solemn secrecy,
Who share that wondrous grace.

In May 1827 the grave in the Nine Altars Chapel was opened in the presence of two of the church dignitaries and other persons. Dr Raine, who was also present, has left a careful account of the discoveries then made.3 The outer coffin, that made in 1542, was first removed, revealing a second and much decayed coffin and many bones. After the removal of these relics the lid of a third oak coffin was revealed, in a very advanced state of decay. This innermost coffin was covered over its entire surface with carvings of human figures, the heads surrounded by a nimbus. When this coffin was removed the skeleton was exposed to view, wrapped in coverings, the outer of which had been of linen. The robes beneath were much decayed, and only portions of them could be preserved. On the breast of the body, among the robes, a comb was found, answering exactly to that described by Reginald in 1104. Among the most interesting of the finds were a stole and maniple.

The stole is of very early date, and is of needlework in colours and gold. The centre design is a quatrefoil, inside which is a lamb with nimbus, and the letters AGNV DI. On either side are figures of Old Testament prophets, with their names. Near the ends the embroidery occurs on both sides of the stole, on the back of one of which among foliage is the inscription ÆLFFLAED FIERI PRECEPIT, which is continued on the back of the opposite end, thus—PIO EPISCOPO FRIDESTANO. The translation of this inscription 71 is to the effect that Aelfled commanded the stole to be made for the pious Bishop Frithestan. The maniple is of a similar character, and also bears ornament, figures, and inscriptions.4 Frithestan was made Bishop of Winchester in 905. Aelfled, who was Queen of Eadward, the son and successor of Alfred, died in 916. It was therefore during these ten years that she caused this stole and maniple to be made for the Bishop Frithestan. It is recorded that the son and successor of Eadward, by name Athelstan, when on a journey in the north visited Chester-le-Street and the shrine of S. Cuthbert, which was then at that place. Among other presents he left as offerings a stole and maniple, and a girdle and two bracelets of gold. It is a curious fact that a girdle and two gold bracelets were found along with the stole and maniple in the grave, in 1827, and leaves very little doubt that they are the ones mentioned above. The bones of the saint were quite intact, and none were missing. They were, with the other relics, placed in a new coffin, and the grave re-covered. Some portions of the inner coffin, with the stole, two maniples, the girdle and bracelets and fragments of the robes are now carefully preserved in the Dean and Chapter Library. A large gold cross found among the robes, decorated with garnets, and of workmanship of the time of S. Cuthbert is also preserved in the library. These discoveries seem to speak for themselves, and to leave very little room for doubt that the body exhumed and examined in 1827 was really that of the patron saint of the church.

There were also found in the grave bones of infants, supposed to be relics of the Holy Innocents, and a skull, most probably that of S. Oswald, which was known to have been placed in the coffin of S. Cuthbert.

Two smooth grooves may be observed on the platform, which are said to have been worn into the stone by the knees or feet of generations of pilgrims visiting the shrine.

There are several other tombs and monuments in this chapel, chiefly wall tablets of not exceptional interest. At the north end, however, is a colossal statue of the last of the prince bishops, Bishop van Mildert, who died in 1836. The monument is of white marble, the figure seated on a throne 72 and holding a book. It was erected by public subscription, the sculptor being John Gibson, R.A. Near this monument is a blue slab covering the remains of Bishop Anthony Bek, patriarch of Jerusalem, who died in 1310. It was to bring in the body of this bishop that some writers have thought the north doorway of the Nine Altars Chapel was constructed. This is, as we have seen already, extremely improbable.

The student of architecture will find very much to interest. him in this Chapel of the Nine Altars. The beautiful sculpture and variety in the capitals of the shafts of wall arcading, not to mention the rich carving of the vaulting bosses and capitals of the vaulting shafts, will well repay his earnest study.

The Galilee Chapel.
The Galilee Chapel.

The Galilee or Lady Chapel is situated at the west end of the nave. It is well known that for some reason women were not allowed to enter any church where S. Cuthbert's shrine stood, nor even any church dedicated to him. At Lindisfarne a separate church was provided for them, and at Durham the Galilee Chapel was added for the same purpose. It was alleged that S. Cuthbert himself had made this rule, but there is no proof that he ever issued such a command. 73 The Venerable Bede makes no mention of any special feeling of antipathy to women on the part of the saint. Bede was contemporary with, and survived S. Cuthbert forty-eight years. Whatever may have been the origin of the practice, it is certain that in later times women were jealously excluded from the churches of S. Cuthbert, and to this circumstance we owe, in the chapel under our consideration, the most beautiful and perfect example of Transitional Norman architecture existing in England.

Paintings in the Galilee Chapel.
Paintings On the East Wall of the Galilee Chapel.

74 Let us recall briefly the circumstances attending its erection. Hugh Pudsey, who occupied the episcopal throne, 1153 to 1195, commenced to build a Lady Chapel at the east end of the church. The work had not gone far before accidents happened, and cracks and fissures appeared in the walls, which the builder thought "gave manifest indication that it was not acceptable to God and His servant S. Cuthbert."5 The work was therefore abandoned, and another chapel was commenced at the west end of the church, "into which women might lawfully enter, so that they who had not bodily access to the secret things of the holy place, might have some solace from the contemplation of them" (Geoffrey de Coldingham). Pudsey caused to be moved here the marble shafts and bases he had previously brought from "beyond the sea," and intended to be used in the construction of his chapel at the east end. Entering the chapel by the steps leading from the Norman nave, the visitor is at once impressed with the lightness and delicacy of the work before him, as compared with the massive grandeur of the Norman cathedral behind. Here we have, in fact, one of the latest uses of the round arch influenced by the rapidly developing Early English Gothic. In plan the chapel consists of a nave with double aisles, which perhaps might be more properly called five aisles. These are divided by arcades, each of which is of four bays. These arches and the columns which support them are the chief beauty and characteristic of the chapel. The arches are semi-circular, of one order, with three lines of chevron, one on each face, and one on the soffit between two roll mouldings. The capitals are light and graceful and carved with a volute, and the columns clusters of marble and freestone shafts. The arches, however, rest on the marble columns, which are, no doubt, those previously alluded to. The whole seems to have been coloured in fresco, and remains of this are still to be seen. The stone shafts, which alternate with those of marble, do not carry any of the weight of the arch, and are, undoubtedly, an addition, probably in the time of Cardinal Langley, when they 75 must have been added, with a view to improving the appearance. The dimensions of the chapel are forty-seven feet from east to west, and seventy-six feet from north to south. The existing roof and the three perpendicular windows on the west end are also additions by Cardinal Langley. On the walls above what were once the altars of the Virgin and Our Lady of Pity, remains of fresco painting may be noticed, all that remains of what has evidently been beautiful work. These were only brought to light by the removal of successive coats of whitewash with which they had been covered.

Detail of the Galilee Chapel.
Detail of the Galilee Chapel.

77 When the Galilee was erected, access from the church was by the great west door of the cathedral. This was, however, closed up by Cardinal Langley, who constructed the two doorways at the end of the aisles by which the chapel is now entered. Those portions of the Norman wall arcading, which had to be removed by reason of the breaking through of the new doorways, were used to fill up the lower part of the great west door. The latter was again removed in 1846, when the west doorway was re-opened. Langley's two doorways have four centred arches enclosed beneath a square label moulding, with shields bearing the Cardinal's coat-of-arms in each spandrel. To Langley also may be attributed the five massive buttresses on the exterior of the western wall of the chapel, which partly cover the arcading and panelling with which it was decorated. In adding the new roof Langley raised the walls above the arches to carry it, giving a somewhat peculiar effect to the interior. The original roof lines can still be made out on the west wall. Of the contents of the chapel remaining, perhaps the most interesting to the visitor is the grave and site of the shrine of the Venerable Bede. The shrine, like that of S. Cuthbert's, is gone, and all that remains is the stone slab on which it once stood, and which bears the inscription (placed there in 1831):

Hac sunt in Fossa
Bædæ Venerabilis Ossa

This remarkable man was contemporary with S. Cuthbert, whom, as we have said, he survived forty-eight years. His holiness and piety, together with his great learning, earned for him the title Venerable, and after his death, in 735, his bones were enshrined. Of his parentage we know nothing, except 78 that, from his own writings, he was born in the territory of the Abbey of Wearmouth. At the age of seven he was being educated in that monastery, and by the time he was ten years old he moved to the newly-founded Abbey on the Tyne, at Jarrow. He had able and learned teachers in Benedict Bishop and Ceolfrid, and appears to have turned his advantages to the best account. Deacon at nineteen, and priest at twenty-nine years of age, he led a holy and studious life. After his ordination he wrote his "Commentaries on the Scriptures," and writings on all the known sciences—geography, arithmetic, and astronomy. The greatest work of his life is, however, his "Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation," to which we owe all our knowledge of the introduction of Christianity into Great Britain, and the early history of the English Church. It is dedicated to King Ceolwulf. His information was collected from various sources—by letter as to Canterbury, by communication with bishops and priors as to England generally, and from personal knowledge and very recent tradition as to Northumbria. He lived most of his long life between the monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, and was buried at the latter. In the year 1022 his remains were secretly removed from Jarrow by Elfrid, who was the most unscrupulous relic-hunter of that time, who deposited a portion of them in the same coffin with those of S. Cuthbert. From here they were removed by Bishop Pudsey, and placed in the newly-erected Galilee Chapel, where he caused them to be enclosed in a magnificent shrine. "There, in a silver casket gilt with gold, hee laid the bones of Venerable Bede, and erected a costly and magnificent shrine over it."6 When the shrine was destroyed at the suppression of the monastery, in 1542, the bones were interred beneath the place it occupied, where they remained undisturbed till the year 1831. In that year they were exhumed and examined, and, after being enclosed in a lead-lined coffin, were replaced in the tomb, with a parchment giving full details of the exhumation. Some coins and a ring which were found at this time are preserved in the Dean and Chapter Library. The inscription previously quoted was then cut on the upper slab of the tomb.

In the Galilee Chapel is also the tomb of its restorer, Cardinal Langley, which was erected by himself in front of the 79 principal altar. On its head may be seen three shields bearing the arms of the cardinal.

Four of the western windows of the chapel originally contained beautiful stained glass, a most careful description of which may be found in the "Rites of Durham."

Why this chapel has always been known as the "Galilee" Chapel has been the subject of much discussion and conjecture, and is still a matter of uncertainty. That it was erected for a Lady Chapel there can, however, be no doubt. In the nave of the church, between the piers immediately to the west of the north and south doorways, the visitor will notice a dark-coloured marble cross, beyond which no woman was allowed to pass eastward.

Monuments in the Nave and Transepts.—The church of Durham is not rich in tombs and monuments to the dead. This is to be accounted for partly by the fact that for some centuries the Bishops of the diocese were interred in the chapter-house, and even most of these tombs have been lost or destroyed. Another reason for the scarcity of monuments is that no layman was allowed to be buried in the church until 1367, when Lord Ralph Neville obtained that distinction for himself and his wife, the Lady Alice de Neville, who was buried in 1374. This monument occupies the third sub-bay from the east, on the south side of the nave. It is an altar tomb, and though it has suffered severely from mutilation during the unsettled times of the Reformation, sufficient remains to enable us to see that it was once a well-designed and noble monument. Its mouldings are bold, and there are indications of the places where figures were once attached to the sides. The recumbent effigies of the noble lord and his wife, on the top of the tomb, are, however, hopelessly smashed. It is probable that Lord Ralph Neville obtained this honour for himself through his services and victory at the Battle of Neville's Cross, near Durham, in 1346. In the next bay westward is the tomb of Lord John Neville, who died in 1386. This is also an altar tomb, and has suffered severely, though it remains in a better state of preservation than the one just described. Its sides each have six niches, with elaborately ornamented canopies, and containing figures, while the ends have three similar niches with figures. The carving of the canopies is exceedingly beautiful. Between each of the 80 niches are two square panels with trefoiled heads, each panel bearing a shield with the arms of Neville and Percy. Both above and below the niches much delicate carving may be noticed. Surmounting all are the broken effigies of Lord John and his wife, who was the daughter of Lord Henry Percy, the well-known Hotspur. All the figures on this tomb, including the recumbent figures, are headless, but sufficient remains to show that they were of great excellence. Remains of colouring and gilding can also be distinguished in places on the monument.

The Font and Cover. The Font and Cover.

Close to this is the slab and matrix of a brass to Robert Neville, who was bishop of the diocese from 1438 to 1457. The brass has all been removed, but the matrix shows a dignified figure of the bishop holding a crozier and a scroll, while an inscription formerly existed on a plate at his feet. Bishop Neville was known for his generous qualities, as well as for his high descent.

In the western wall, on its south side, near to the entrance to the Galilee, is a mural tablet to a former Prebendary in the cathedral, and a well-known antiquary, Sir George Wheler, who died in the latter part of the seventeenth century. On the northern side is a slab to 81 the memory of Captain R.M. Hunter, who was killed while charging a Sikh battery at Ferozeshah.

Opposite to the monument of Ralph Neville is a modern altar tomb to a former headmaster of Durham Grammar School, the Rev. James Britton, D.D., erected by his pupils. It is surmounted by a reclining figure of Dr. Britton, in academic robes, reading a book.

In the south transept is a fine monument, by Chantrey, to the memory of Bishop Barrington, who held the see from 1791 to 1826, dying at the advanced age of 92 years, beloved by all. He was a great prelate, and used his immense powers as Prince Palatine with great wisdom. The kneeling figure, with bowed head, the left hand resting on a book, in an attitude of deep reverence, is worthy of the name of its sculptor. On the west wall of the same transept is a tablet to the memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the Durham Light Infantry who were slain or died during the Crimean War.

Near to this is a recently inserted brass to the memory of the officers and men of the 2nd Durham Regiment who died in Egypt and the Soudan.

In the north transept we may give some attention to a monument to the Rev. John Carr, a former headmaster of Durham School. It was erected to his memory by his pupils. The monument was designed by Rickman, and is in the style known as Decorated Gothic.

The Font stands at the west end of the nave. It is a comparatively modern work, covered by a tall wooden canopy which was erected by Bishop Cosin in 1663. The original Norman font was destroyed by the Scottish prisoners in 1650, and was replaced by a large marble basin by Bishop Cosin. This font, in its turn, was removed to Pittington Church, where it is now in use, its place being filled by the present modern one. It is designed in the Norman style, and is square, supported on short columns. The sides are carved with medallions, copied from illuminated MSS., which represent scenes from the life of S. Cuthbert. The cover deserves attention as a specimen of the woodwork of the seventeenth century, exhibiting a curious and characteristic mixture of Classic and Gothic forms and details.

Table of


History of the See

The earlier history of the see of Durham has already been referred to in order to lead up to the founding of the cathedral. We have seen how the bishop and monks of Lindisfarne fled and wandered with the relics of their beloved S. Cuthbert, eventually settling at Chester-le-Street, until, in the year 990, Bishop Aldhun, in terror of the Danes, again fled southward to Ripon. The country at this time was ruled by that weak monarch, Ethelred the Unready, and the Danes, finding no determined opposition, continually made piratical incursions, and eventually, through the treachery of three chieftains, the Castle of Bamburgh fell into their hands. After an interval of three or four months peace was made with the invaders, and Aldhun and his monks ventured to return towards Chester-le-Street. It was during this journey, at a place called Wredelau, that the car carrying the saint stuck fast, and the incidents previously related occurred, which led to the founding of the Bishopric of Durham.

Aldhun may therefore be called the first Bishop of Durham. He held the see for twenty-nine years, and died in 1018. Aldhun it was who built the first or White Church, now destroyed. It is extremely probable that some of the stones of this church were used in the foundations of Carileph's choir and apses.

After Aldhun's death the see remained vacant for three years, when he was succeeded by

Edmund (1020-1040). It is said that the monks could not agree as to who should succeed Aldhun, when one day Edmund, a presbyter, asked in a joke, "Why not appoint me?" Being a pious and a faithful man, they took him at his word, and, after much persuasion and fasting and prayer, he was consecrated. The choice was a 83 good one. Edmund was an energetic and beloved prelate. He died at Gloucester in 1041. One of the most important events during his episcopate was the invasion of Northumbria by Duncan, King of the Scots. He besieged Durham, but was beaten off, with great slaughter, and the heads of many of his men were exposed in the market-place.

Egelric (1042-1056) was the next bishop. He was an alien, and made himself obnoxious to the clergy and people. With the intention of rebuilding, he pulled down the wooden church at Chester-le-Street, which had been the seat of the bishopric for one hundred and thirteen years. A large quantity of treasure was found while digging foundations, and this Egelric appropriated and sent to his monastery at Peterborough, where he soon followed it. Before resigning the see of Durham, however, he secured the appointment of his brother to the bishopric. Some years later William the Conqueror called him to account for his behaviour in the matter of the treasure, and threw him into prison at Westminster, where he died in 1072.

Egelwin (1056-1071) succeeded, through the influence of his brother. He took part in the rebellion of Eadwin and Morcar, and, like his predecessor, died in prison. He was the last of the Saxon bishops.

Walcher (1071-1080). William I. found the Church in great disorder and made many changes. He filled most of the sees by the appointment of Norman bishops. To Durham he elected Walcher. The latter was a man of gentle disposition, but his chaplain, Leobwin, and Gilbert, a kinsman of his own, to whom he entrusted most of his affairs, were hated by the people, over whom they exercised great tyranny. At length a noble, named Lyulph, ventured to remonstrate with them, and in their rage they had him assassinated. The people were furious, and the bishop vainly denied any knowledge of the deed. He called a meeting at Gateshead. Here a tremendous tumult arose, the mob crying, "Good rede, short rede, slay ye the bishop," and eventually setting fire to the church. The bishop was eventually reduced to a choice of facing the mob or being burnt in the church. He chose the former, and, covering his face with his robe, went out. He was immediately slain on the threshold, and dreadfully mutilated. His body was removed 84 by the monks to Jarrow, and afterwards to Durham, where he was buried.

William of S. Carileph (1080-1096) was next appointed bishop. He was a man of great attainments. To him we owe the founding of the present cathedral. Carileph also made an important change, by the removal from Durham of the secular clergy, and their replacement by Benedictine monks drawn from Jarrow and Monkwearmouth. The foundations of the new church were laid on 29th July 1093, the Bishop and Prior Turgot being present. He did not live to see it very far advanced, being taken ill at Windsor. He died about Christmas 1096.

Ranulph Flambard (1099-1128).—The see was kept vacant for three years by William Rufus, when he appointed Flambard, a great builder. He built the nave and aisles, the west doorway and lower part of the western towers, and vaulted the aisles. He also built Framwellgate Bridge over the Wear at Durham, erected and endowed S. Giles' Church, Durham, and was the founder of Norham Castle on the Tweed.

Galfrid Rufus (1133-1140) was his successor. His episcopate was much disturbed by wars with the Scots. The chapter-house was finished during his time of office.

William de S. Barbara (1143-1152) was next appointed. Extraordinary events marked his election. William Cumin, chancellor of the Scottish king, attempted to take the bishopric for himself, and succeeded so far as to capture the castle with the aid of the Scots. The rightful bishop was not able to gain possession for sixteen months after his election. Cumin submitted in 1144.85

The Crypt.
The Crypt.

Hugh Pudsey (1153-1195) now succeeded to the bishopric at the age of twenty-five. He bought for life the earldom of Northumberland and the manor of Sadberg. In 1187 the news of the capture of Jerusalem by the Saracens spread consternation in the Church, and Pudsey prepared to accompany King Henry to the East. He fitted out ships and galleys in a most sumptuous manner, his own having a seat for himself of solid silver. Neither he nor King Henry embarked in the crusade, however. The king died, and Richard his son undertook the expedition, leaving Bishop Pudsey and Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, as justiciaries for the northern and 87 southern portions of the kingdom respectively. These two quarrelled, and Pudsey was decoyed to London by Longchamp, and committed to the Tower. He soon obtained his release, but was compelled to resign the earldom of Northumberland. In 1195 he undertook a journey to London to see the king, and endeavour to obtain restitution of his honours and possessions, but was taken ill, and died on the way, at Howden. His work in the cathedral we have seen. He also built the great hall of the castle, most of the beautiful Church of S. Cuthbert at Darlington, and the Elvet Bridge over the Wear at Durham, and founded the hospital at Sherburn, near Durham. Darlington Church, which would well repay a visit, is a fine specimen of Early Pointed architecture, second only to the Galilee of Durham, the two showing in a wonderful manner the rapid development of the change which was taking place in architectural style during Pudsey's time.

Philip de Pictavia (1197-1208), elected at the urgent request of the king. He was continually at loggerheads with his clergy. He supported King John against the Pope, and was for this excommunicated; died in 1208, and was buried in unconsecrated ground. This bishop is said to have had the permission of the king to coin money at Durham.

Richard de Marisco (1217-1226) was elected after an interval of nearly ten years. The feud with the monks continued during his episcopate, and the bishop swore the Church of Durham should have no peace while he lived; threatened that if a monk should show himself beyond his cloister he should lose his head; and once, when his servants had beaten a monk, and the man complained, he replied that it was a pity they did not kill him. He died at Peterborough in 1226.

Richard le Poore (1229-1237), who was the next bishop, elected after the see had been vacant two years and four months, was translated from Salisbury, where he had commenced building the new cathedral. He ended the dispute between the monks and the Bishop of Durham by an agreement known as "Le Convenit."

Nicholas de Farnham (1241-1248) became bishop after a three years' dispute with the king. He resigned in 1248.

Walter de Kirkham (1249-1260), Dean of York, was next elected.

Stone Coffin Lid. Stone Coffin Lid.

88 Robert de Stitchill (1261-1274), Prior of Finchale, succeeded him. Dissensions again arose between the bishop and the monks. He died on his return from France, where he had attended a council at Lyons. He was buried in a monastery in France, but his heart was brought to Durham, and buried in the chapter-house.

Robert de Insula (1274-1283), a native of Holy Island, as his name suggests, was then elected bishop. His tenure of office was peaceful.

Anthony Bek (1283-1310). The next bishop was of noble birth, the son of Walter Bek, Baron of Eresby, in Lincolnshire. He took part with Edward I. in his expedition to Scotland, and, being very wealthy, was of great assistance to the king. His following consisted of twenty-six standard bearers, one hundred and forty knights, and an army of five thousand foot and five hundred horse. He was employed by the king, with success, in many important State matters. In the year 1300 trouble again arose with the monks. Some of them being dissatisfied with the Prior Hotoun, the bishop proposed to hold a visitation. The prior refusing to admit him unless he came unattended, the bishop deposed and excommunicated him. The convent took sides, some with the bishop and some with the prior, and it was only on the interference of the king that a partial peace was restored. The quarrel soon reopened. Some men made a complaint against the bishop. He had compelled them to take arms under him in the Scottish war, and had imprisoned some who had returned without leave. The barons upheld the men, and it led to them taking sides with Prior Hotoun in his dispute. 89 The bishop, calling the monks together, ordered them to elect a new prior, which they promptly refused to do. On this the bishop appointed Henry de Luceby of Holy Island to be prior of Durham, and brought men from Weardale and Tynedale to expel the old prior. They laid siege to the convent, and for three days Prior Hotoun and forty-six monks were shut up with only six loaves and sixteen herrings. They continued the services however. On the third day a Tynedale man was sent to pull the prior out of his stall, but was so awed by his venerable appearance that he dared not touch him. A monk on the bishop's side, however, did the work. Prior Luceby was installed, and Prior Richard seized and imprisoned. He soon escaped, however, and carried his complaint before Parliament, and afterwards to the Pope, Boniface VIII. The Pope decided in his favour, and Hotoun returned to Durham, and Luceby and his friends were obliged to go, though they tried, when doing so, to carry off some silver plate and other valuables. Bek continued in great splendour until his death in 1310. When he died he was king of the Isle of Man, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Bishop of Durham, and Prince Palatine.

Richard de Kellaw (1311-1316), formerly a monk of Durham, succeeded Bek. He was a good and learned man, and lived in harmony with the monks.

Louis de Beaumont (1318-1333) was next appointed bishop, after great competition and intrigue. He was chosen in opposition to the wishes of the chapter, who had elected Stamford, Prior of Finchale, to succeed Kellaw. On his way to Durham for consecration and enthronement, accompanied by two cardinals and a large retinue, he was waylaid at Rushyford by a band of ruffians under Gilbert Middleton. They plundered the cardinals, but carried the bishop a prisoner to Mitford Castle. His release was only secured on payment by the monastery of a heavy ransom. He was an ignorant man, and so innocent of Latin that he could not read his profession of obedience, being continually prompted. Later, at an ordination, he stumbled over the words "in œnigmate" and cried in French, "Par Seynt Lewis, il ne fuit pas curtays qui cest parole ici escrit." "By Saint Lewis he was no gentleman who wrote this word."

Richard de Bury (1333-1345), who succeeded, was a 90 great scholar, tutor to Edward III., and author of "Philobiblon," a book still extant. He was a good man, and very kind to the poor.

Thomas de Hatfield (1345-1381) was, like Bishop Bek, a warrior ecclesiastic. Soon after his election he led eighty archers to the siege of Calais. His episcopate was notable for the wars with the Scots, and the great victory obtained over them, with the capture of King David and many nobles, at Neville's Cross, near Durham. Fifteen thousand Scots were slain. The victory was attributed to the presence of the sacred banner of S. Cuthbert, which Prior John Fossor took to a place near the battlefield, kneeling in prayer the while for success. A hymn of thanksgiving was appointed to be sung on the top of the cathedral tower on each anniversary of the battle. This custom is still carried out, though the day has been changed to the twenty-ninth of May. Hatfield was a liberal supporter of Durham College at Oxford. He erected his own tomb in the choir of the cathedral, in which he was afterwards buried.

John Fordham (1381-1388), secretary to Richard II., and Canon of York, was next elected. Suspected of giving bad advice to the king, he was compelled to resign, but was given the inferior bishopric of Ely, where he lived to extreme old age, dying in 1425.

Walter de Skirlaw (1388-1405), translated from Bath and Wells, was a munificent prelate. He built bridges at Shincliffe, Bishop Auckland, and Yarm; a refuge tower, a beautiful chapter-house (now in ruins) at Howden; and was a large contributor to the expense of building the central tower of York Cathedral. His work in the building of the cloisters of Durham has already been referred to.

Thomas Langley (1406-1437) succeeded. He was Chancellor of England, Dean of York, and in 1411 was made a cardinal. He occupied the see during part of the reign of Henry IV., the whole of that of Henry V., and fifteen years of that of Henry VI. He founded two schools on the Palace Green at Durham, and in his will left collections of books to many colleges.

Robert Neville (1437-1457), son of the Earl of Westmoreland and his wife Joan, who was a daughter of John of Gaunt. He was therefore uncle of the Earl of Warwick, 91 the "king-maker" of Richard III. and of Edward IV. He had a peaceful episcopate of nineteen years, and was buried in the cathedral, in the south aisle near his ancestors.

Laurance Booth (1457-1476), Canon of York and Lichfield, Archdeacon of Richmond, and Dean of S. Paul's, was the next bishop. He was a supporter of the House of Lancaster. He was translated to the archbishopric of York in 1476, the first of the bishops of Durham who was raised to that dignity.

William Dudley (1476-1483), Dean of Windsor, succeeded him.

John Sherwood (1483-1494), who was appointed next, was a learned man, and made a large collection of Greek manuscripts. He died in Rome in 1494.

Richard Fox (1494-1501) was translated from Bath and Wells after the see had remained vacant for eleven months. Nothing of particular moment occurred during his episcopate. He was an early patron and helper of Wolsey, and lived to regret having assisted him. He made alterations in the castle at Durham. He was translated to the see of Winchester in 1501, and died in 1528.

William Sinews or Sever (1502-1505), translated from Carlisle. He is said to have been the son of a sieve-maker at Shincliffe, near Durham.

Christopher Bainbridge (1507-1508), Dean of York, was next elected, and after an episcopate of one year was translated to York. In 1511 he was sent to Rome as ambassador by Henry VIII., and while there was created cardinal. He died in Rome, poisoned by a servant whom he had struck in anger.

Thomas Ruthall (1509-1522), Dean of Salisbury, was the next bishop. He was immensely wealthy, and his love of money brought him into disgrace. King Henry commanded him to draw up an account of the lands and revenues of the Crown. The bishop, in error, sent to the king the wrong book, in which was set forth an account of his own possessions. The king, though tampered with by Wolsey, made no use of the knowledge thus obtained. But the affair rankled in the mind of the bishop, and is said to have hastened his death.

Thomas Wolsey (1522-1528) was appointed to succeed 92 him. The famous cardinal held the see for six years, as well as that of York. During the whole of his episcopate he never visited Durham, and in 1528 he resigned it for the see of Winchester.

Cuthbert Tunstall (1530-1559) was translated from London by a Papal Bull, the last used for this purpose. Tunstall was a remarkable man, and he occupied the see during an important period of Church history, the Reformation, all the stages of which he saw. During his episcopacy, the great privileges of the bishops of Durham as Princes Palatine were very much curtailed. In 1526, while Tunstall was Bishop of London, the English translation of the New Testament by Tyndall appeared, causing great alarm among the clergy. The part played by Tunstall in relation to this is well known. He opposed the supremacy of King Henry as head of the Church, but eventually gave up the struggle and preached in its favour. The monastery of Durham was suppressed in 1540, and a dean and twelve canons appointed. Soon after the accession of Edward VI., Bishop Tunstall was committed to the Tower and deprived of his see, on a charge of having encouraged rebellion in the north. On the accession of Mary to the throne he was released and restored, but there would seem to be no grounds for supposing that he took any part in the cruelties practised during her reign. When Elizabeth became queen, Tunstall refused to take the oath, and was again deprived of his see, and, being now an old man, was committed to the custody of his friend Archbishop Parker (Canterbury), with whom he lived till his death in 1559. He was a scholarly prelate, of a kindly nature, and was held in universal esteem.

James Pilkington (1560-1575) left the buildings of the see in a ruinous condition.

Richard Barnes (1575-1587), translated from Carlisle. He is said to have been removed to Durham in order to spy upon the correspondence and messengers of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots.

Matthew Hutton (1589-1594), Dean of York, was the next bishop. A man of great learning, and considered one of the best preachers of his day. He was translated to York in 1594.

Tobias Matthew (1595-1606), Dean of Durham, was his 93 successor. He was also a great preacher, and was celebrated for his wit. He was translated to York.

William James (1606-1617), Dean of Durham, was next elected.

Richard Neile (1617-1627) was translated from Lincoln. He was remarkable as being the only bishop who held six sees successively—viz. 1608, Rochester; 1610, Lichfield; 1613, Lincoln; 1617, Durham; 1627, Winchester; and 1631, Archbishop of York. He did much to help forward men of learning and ability by giving them preferment in his see, and reserving apartments for their use in Durham House, London, which became known as Durham College. He spent large sums of money on repairs to the buildings at Durham.

George Monteigne (1628), Bishop of London, only held the see of Durham for three months, when he was translated to York.

John Howson (1628-1631), Bishop of Oxford, held the see for two years, and died in 1631.

Thomas Morton (1632-1659), translated from Lichfield. The North of England was much disturbed in 1640 by the invasion of the Scots, and Bishop Morton fled—first to Stockton, afterwards to York—and never returned to his diocese. The successful Scots levied heavy taxes on the district for the maintenance of their troops, as much as £850 a day being demanded. In 1646, Episcopacy was abolished, and the estates of the bishops ordered to be sold. Thus we find at Durham the castle sold to the Mayor of London for £1267 and Durham, Borough, and Framwellgate disposed of to the Corporation for £200. The bishop lived a life of suffering in London, cared for by his friends, till his death in 1659, at the age of ninety-four. During his episcopate, in 1656, Oliver Cromwell arranged for the founding of a college in Durham, but his death prevented him carrying out his scheme. His son, however, did so, and it flourished until the Restoration, which, by giving back property to its rightful owners, put an end to its existence.

John Cosin (1660-1671), Canon of Durham, was the first bishop after the Restoration. He was a most munificent prelate, leaving many charitable bequests. He spent large sums in the restoration of the cathedral and castle and the 94 palace at Bishop Auckland. He built a hospital for eight poor people, and erected a library on the palace green.

Nathaniel Crewe (1642-1722), translated from Oxford. He was a strong supporter of King James II., but afterwards took the oath of allegiance to William and Mary. He was noted for his charity and munificence, and left large sums to the poor, and in scholarships tenable by natives of Durham.

William Talbot (1722-1730), translated from Salisbury.

Edward Chandler (1730-1750), Bishop of Lichfield, was next elected. He gave £2000 to be laid out for the benefit of the widows of clergymen of his diocese.

Joseph Butler (1750-1752) was translated from Bristol. He is best known as the author of "The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed."

Richard Trevor (1752-1771), Bishop of S. David's, a learned, pious, and unostentatious man. He left £200 in his will to the poor of Durham and Auckland.

John Egerton (1771-1787), Bishop of Lichfield, was next elected. He married the daughter of Henry, Duke of Kent, and his eldest son afterwards became Earl of Bridgewater.

Thomas Thurlow (1787-1791) was translated to Durham from Lincoln. He was brother of the Lord Chancellor.

Shute Barrington (1791-1826) was the next bishop, having previously held the sees of Llandaff and Salisbury. A most beneficent prelate; his charities, especially those for the founding of schools and augmentation of poor livings, were magnificent. During his episcopacy, external repairs to the cathedral having become absolutely necessary, James Wyatt, who had already done such mischief at Salisbury, was given charge of the work. Then it was that the paring process, spoken of previously, was completed, the chapter-house destroyed, and the Galilee Chapel only saved from destruction by the intervention of Dean Cornwallis. Wyatt's other wild schemes, to extend the choir eastwards, to the utter ruin of the Nine Altar Chapel, to remove the beautiful Neville screen, and surmount the central tower of the church by a spire, were happily checked in time, or there is no saying to what extent the building would have been mutilated. Bishop Barrington died in London, in his ninety-third year.

William Van Mildert (1826-1836), Bishop of Llandaff, succeeded to the see. During his episcopate, many important 95 changes were made. The Ecclesiastical Commission, appointed in 1833, to consider in what manner the funds of the Church might be made more available for the purposes for which they were intended, decided to give future bishops a fixed yearly payment, and to reduce the number of canons from twelve to six. On the appointment of a new bishop, the Palatinate was to be annexed by the State. Thus Van Mildert was the last Count Palatine. Before these changes came into force, however, the bishop and the dean and chapter founded and endowed the university out of the revenues of the see, for the use of which the bishop gave up the castle. Bishop Van Mildert was a man of great charity, and though his income was immense, he died comparatively poor. He died in February 1836, and was interred in the chapel of the Nine Altars.

Edward Maltby (1836-1856), his successor, was translated from Chichester, and held the see for twenty years, when, owing to advanced age and increasing infirmity, he resigned in 1856.

Charles Thomas Longley (1856-1860), first Bishop of Ripon, was next elected. He was a popular and much-beloved prelate. In 1860 he was created Archbishop of York, and two years later was translated to Canterbury.

Hon. Henry Montague Villiers (1860-1861) was translated from Carlisle. A fine preacher, his episcopate was all too short. He died, after much suffering, in 1861.

Charles Baring (1861-1878), Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, succeeded him. A man of unbounded charity and goodness, he won the affection of all who knew him personally. He was compelled, through illness, to resign the see in 1878, and did not long survive his retirement.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1879-1889) was then elected to the see. A man of scholarly attainments, he is still too well known and remembered to need any detailed note. He came to Durham pledged to accomplish as soon as possible the division of the diocese, which promise he carried out by restoring the suppressed see of Hexham to Newcastle-on-Tyne. A fine tomb to the memory of Dr Lightfoot has been placed on the north side of the choir of the cathedral, and as a memorial of his episcopate the mutilated chapter-house has been restored.

96 The present bishop is the Right Rev. Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D.

In this place may conveniently be given the rough draft of the settlement of the see by King Henry VIII. at the Reformation. Although departed from in many instances, it throws a curious light on the king's intentions to keep up some semblance of a conventual institution with an active educational purpose.

[Fol. 30.] Duresme
cum Cellis.
First a provoste of the College cc li.
Item xii prebendaryes and the moste parte of theym preachers vi of them 1 markes and vi of them xxvi li. xiii s. iiii d. by the yere ccclx li.
Item a Reader of humanytie in greke by the yere xx li.
Item a Reader of dyvynytie in hebrewe by the yere xx li.
Item a Reader bothe of devynytie and humanytie by the yere xx li.
Item a Reader of physyke xx li.
Item lx scollers to be tawghte both gramer and logyke in hebrewe greke and lattyn every of them by the yere iii li. vi s. viii d. cc li.
Item xx studyentes in dyvynytie to be founde x att Oxenford, and x att Cambryge every of them by the yere x li. cc li.
Item a Scolmaster for the same Scollers xx li.
Item an ussher x li.
Item viii petycanons to synge and serve in the quere every of them x li. by the yere xxiiii li.
Item x laye men to synge and serve also in the quyre every of them by yere vi li. xiii s. iiii d. lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item x Chorysters every of them by the yere fyve marks xxxiii li. vi s. viii d.
Item a master of the Chylderne x li.
Item a Gospeller vi li.
Item a pysteller v li.
Item ii sextens vi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item xii poore men beynge olde servynge men decayed by warres or in the Kyng's servyce every of them vi li. xiii s. iiii d. by yere lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
[Fol. 30. dors.]
Item yearly to be distrybuted in almes to poore house-holders lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item for yearly reparacions lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to be employed yerely in makynge and mendynge of hyghewayes lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to a Steward of the Landes vi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to an Audytor x li.
Item to ii porters to kepe the gates and shave the Company x li.


Item to one cheyf Butler for hys wages and dyete iiii li. xiiis. iiiid.
Item to an under Butler for hys wages and dyete iii li. vis. viiid.
Item one Cheyf Cooke for hys wages and dyete iiii li. xiiis. iiiid.
Item oone Under Coke for hys wages and dyete iii li. vi s. viii d.
Item for the provostes expences in receyvyng the Rentes and surveyeng the landes by yere x li.
Item to a Cator to bye there dyetes for his wages and dyete and makynge hys bockes of reconyngs by the yere vi li. xiiis. iiiid.
[Fol. 31.]
MlDC xx
viiili xis viiid.
Porciones deductæ
MlDC xx
xiiili xiiis iiiid.
Reman' lxxxxiiiili xviiis iiid.
[Fol. 32.]
A proporcion for mayntenance of Hospitalite Lernynge Dyvine Service Almes and other necessarie Expences in the Cathedrall Churche of Duresme to be erectyd foundyd and establysshed by the King's Majesties goodnes.
Sma MlDC xx
 viiili xi s. viii d.
The dean cclxiii li. x s.—Prebend' xxxii li. vi s. viii d.
Corpus of the deane and prebendaries.
Fyrste for the Deane for the corpus of his promotion which he shall certaynlye receyve and accordinge wherunto he shall paye the tenthes and fyrst frutes xl li.
Item to twelve prebendaries iche of them for the corpus of his promotion viiili which he shall receyve certaynly by yere and accordinge whereunto he shall paye the tenthes and fyrste fruytes
xvi li.
Item to the deane for every daie of his residence to be payd by waie of Cotidiane distribucion out of the common possession xii s. v d. to be paid out of the same common possession which amountyth in the yere ccxxvi li. xii s. i d. D
Item to eche prebendarye for every daie of his residence to be payd by waie of Cotidiane distribucion out of the common possession xvid ob. over and besydes iiii s. ix d. ob. to be payd to every of the prebendaries out of the same common possession which in the hole yere amountith to the twelve said prebendaries to the Summe ccciiii li.
[Fol. 32 dors.]
Item a reader in divinite for his yerely stypende to be paid of the common possession xxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to twelve scolers to be found at the Universite off Oxforde every of them ix li. xi s. viii d. by yere cxv li. c
Item to xviii scolers to be taught Gramer Greke and Latyn every of them iiii li. by yere lxxii li.
Item to a scolemaster for the same scolars x li.
Item to an ussher for them vi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to twelve petycanons eche of them x li. by yere for ther dyet and wagys cxx li. c
Item to tenne laymen syngars eche of them to have yerely for their dyet and wagys vi li. xiii s. iiii d. lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to tenne Choristers eche of them lxvi s. viii d. xxiii li. vi. s. viii d.
Item for a master to the Children for his dyet and wagys x. li.
Item to a Gospeller and Epistoler eche of them vi li. xiiis. iiiid. xii li.
Item to twoo sextens xii li.
Item to a Cator vi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to twoo buttellers xii li.
Item to two Cookes xii li.
Item to thre other commen servaantes as portor and ryngars eche of them v li. xv li.


Fol. 33.]
Item to eyght poore men eche of them yerely vi li. xiii. s. iiii d. liii li. vi s. viii d.
Item to be yerely distributed in almes to householders lxvi li. xiii s. iiii d.
Item to be yerely spente in mendynge of hyghways xx li.
Item for yerely reparacions by Estymation. cxxxi li. viii s. v d. xx


Item in exspences yerely in surveynge the landes and receyvinge the Rentes xx li.
Item in expences for wyne and wax xiii li. vi s. viii d.
Item to a Stewarde of landes for his fee x li.
Item to an Auditor x li.
Sum of the common MlCCC xx
vi li. xiii s. xd.
xvili xv d.
Sum totall of all thies percels MlDxxiili xiiis xd.

Above which chargys the church indewyd with landes to susteyne the same muste pay yerely tenthes and a certayne summe by composition for the fyrste frutes deducted and abbayted.

Cxxxvi li. payd by the deane and prebendaries severall.
cxl li. to be allowyd by statute for almes.
x li. for the stewarde allowyd by statute.
x li. for the Auditors fee allowyd by statute.

The hole sume of deductions
CC xx
xvi li.
And so remaynes chargeable with tenthes and fyrst frutes MlCCxxvi li. xiii s. x d.
[Fol. 33. dors.]
Whereof to be payd for the tenthes of the commen possession ccxvi
cxliiii li. vi s. iiii d.
Item a yerely Rent to be payd by composition for the fyrste frutes
lxxii li. xii s. iid.

And so the Cathedrale Churche for mayntenance of the said yerely charges and paymente touchinge hospitalite lernynge divine service almes necessarie exspences tenthes and fyrst frutes after the Rates before mentionyd must yf the said shall lyke the Kings majestic be indewyd with yerely Revenues of the summe of MlDCCxxxixli xiii s. iiii d.

MDCCxii li. x s.


The Chapter Library.
The Chapter Library.

Table of


The Castle and University

No notice of Durham and its cathedral would seem complete without some mention being made of its fortress, the growth of which has been contemporary with, and, we might almost say, inseparable from that of the monastery itself.

The Chapel or Crypt, Durham Castle. The Chapel or Crypt, Durham Castle.

There can be little doubt that other than the miraculous considerations assigned to them by tradition influenced the monks and the congregation of S. Cuthbert in their final choice of a resting-place for the bones of their beloved saint. The almost impregnable position of the rocky promontory upon which both Cathedral and Castle stand suggests a careful selection on their part, with a view to the prevention of attack and consequent further disturbance of their sacred relics. What the first fortification was is a matter of doubt; most probably it was merely a wall or rampart of earth, with a large artificial mound at the weakest point. This seems to have been the usual practice at an early date at many other places in England, and in some cases their date is known and corresponds to the time at which Durham was probably first fortified. Whatever the earliest protections were, we know that in 1072 William the Conqueror, on his way from Scotland, passed through Durham. He quickly perceived the natural advantages and strength of the position, and gave orders for the erection of a castle. This was at once set about, during the episcopacy of Bishop Walcher, and continued under Carileph and Flambard. Of this building, which might be styled "The Conqueror's Castle," not much remains. The most important is the Chapel or Crypt, which belongs, no doubt, to the earlier part of the period named (1080 to 1096). In plan the chapel has a nave and two aisles. The roof is vaulted, the ribs being plain, semi-circular, and square recessed, and is supported by six circular columns. The 103 capitals of these columns are a somewhat interesting feature, owing to their Lombardic character. The abaci are square and moulded, while the caps proper carry at their angles rudely carved volutes such as occur in the White Tower, London. Each capital is also carved differently with curious and rude 104 devices. Of the three windows which terminated the nave and aisle at the east end, one has been destroyed to make way for a staircase and the other two are built up. The original windows of the chapel were very narrow and widely splayed. In the walls are an aumbrey and the remains of two altars.

Other remains of this date are somewhat scattered. Two windows in the undercroft of Bishop Bek's, or what is now known as Bishop Hatfield's Hall, are examples. They have converging jambs, the semi-circular heads being cut from one stone and the inside very widely splayed. The wall from the keep to the chapel, and that from the keep to the gateway are also Norman work, as are also portions of the gateway itself.

The next important changes in the castle were made by Bishop Pudsey, 1153-1195, who not only repaired the existing work but built a hall, known as Pudsey's Hall. Although this hall has now almost entirely disappeared, through repairs and alterations, sufficient evidence as to its whereabouts and general plan is forthcoming. It was of two storeys, the lower and upper halls. Entrance to the lower hall was originally gained by a staircase which led from the courtyard to the splendid doorway now enclosed in Tunstall's Gallery. This magnificent entrance having been covered with lath and plaster, and for long completely forgotten, was unearthed by, and at the expense of Bishop Barrington, early in the present century. It is in good preservation and is a splendid specimen of rich Norman architecture. It consists of five orders, all richly carved and moulded. Three orders rest on carved capitals and shafts, and two are carried down the jambs of the doorway. The stairway has entirely disappeared, but there is little room to doubt that it would be of much the same character as that in the close at Canterbury; and to the protection afforded by the staircase roof, we are, no doubt, indebted for the good preservation of the arch mouldings of the doorway itself.

What was originally Pudsey's Upper Hall is now styled the Norman Gallery. The greater portion of this gallery is at the present time divided into chambers of residence for the students of the university. It is reached by the Black Staircase and a doorway in the Early English Gothic style. The 105 interior of the south and west walls are enriched by arcades in groups of three, the central bay of each of which is larger than those flanking it, and is pierced by a window. The arches of the arcade rest on shafts and cushion capitals, and are carved with chevron ornament. The whole arrangement hereabouts bears the impress of having been a portion of one great building, which an examination of the roof, lead, and general outline makes even more certain.

On the western side of the courtyard stands the great Bek's Hall, built by the bishop of that name. It is above the Norman undercroft, previously mentioned. Much of its original character is now lost, owing to restorations, curtailments, and alterations. Bek's doorway is still in existence, though much hidden by the porch erected later by Bishop Cosin. It has a pointed arch of two orders, with detached shafts in the jambs. Another original relic, unrestored, is part of the window nearest the fireplace, which is valuable as evidence of the date of the erection of the hall. The tracery is geometrical, and the shafts in the angles of the splays are banded. About the year 1350 Bishop Hatfield enlarged and altered Bek's hall. At the west end he inserted two light windows, which are now blocked, though the tracery may be seen from students' rooms inside, and partly from the outside. The open oak roof, with the exception of some necessary later repairs, is of Bishop Hatfield's time. Hatfield repaired and altered Pudsey's upper hall by the addition of east and west windows, and probably a new roof. He also rebuilt the Keep, which time and war had greatly injured. The existing keep, which was erected in 1840, is similar to Hatfield's, and in many places stands upon the old foundations. It is now used entirely as apartments for students of University College.

Bishop Fox (1494-1501) is responsible for the next important changes. He curtailed the great hall by a partition wall near its south end, which still exists. The wall bears his badge in two places—a pelican feeding her young with blood from her breast. He also adapted part of Pudsey's buildings, near the south-west corner of the castle, to the purposes of a kitchen, erected three fireplaces, and windows, and the oak buttery hatch which opens from the kitchen, and which again has carved upon it "the pelican in her piety."

106 Bishop Tunstall (1530-1558) built Tunstall's Gallery, which extends from the great hall to the clock tower. It is entered by Cosin's staircase (erected later) and by an eastern stair built by Tunstall himself. A curious feature of this stairway is a port-hole which commands the main entrance to the courtyard. The present beautiful little chapel is also the work of Bishop Tunstall. It contains some notable carved oak stalls, of earlier date than the chapel itself, which were brought from the castle at Bishop Auckland. The carved devices of the miserere seats of these stalls are curious and worthy of attention. The doors in the gateway of the courtyard are the work of Tunstall's time.

Bishop Cosin (1660-1672) found the castle in a dilapidated condition. During the Commonwealth it had been sold to the then Lord Mayor of London, who used it badly, to say nothing of the ruin caused by the Scots. He spent large sums in its restoration. He added the present porch or entrance from the courtyard to the great hall. The great staircase in the north-west corner of the courtyard is his and bears his arms. Within and leading to Tunstall's Gallery is the Black Staircase, also the work of Cosin. He enlarged the chapel, and constructed and fitted several apartments in the castle, besides several minor works. In his will, he says, he spent the greater part of his temporal estate in "rebuilding and repaireing the two episcopall Castles of Durham and Bishop Auckland." This, he states, cost him seventeen thousand pounds, including the furnishing and ornamenting of the chapels, which he did "for the use of my successors in those Chappells for ever." Many of the agreements between Bishop Cosin and his masons, plasterers, carpenters, and painters, from which the exact dates and prices paid for the work may be learned, are preserved.

The latest important work at the castle was the rebuilding of the keep, in 1840, which was described at that time as "a picturesque ruin." It was entirely rebuilt on its original plan. The gateway to the courtyard was repaired and modernised by Bishop Barrington, with the existing inartistic result.

Durham Castle owes its picturesque appearance to two causes—first, its magnificent and commanding position, on a rocky escarpment; and second, no doubt, to the many vicissitudes through which it has passed, the alterations and additions 107 made necessary by time and constant war, and later, the entirely different uses to which the building is put.

Staircase in the Castle. Staircase in the Castle.

It is now chiefly used as a hall of residence for university men and as lodging for the Judges of Assize.

108 The most favourable time for the architectural student to visit the castle is during one of the university vacations, otherwise many interesting features would be denied him. Many portions (except students' chambers) are, however, open to the public every week day.

The University of Durham.—From an early date, frequent mention is made in the history of the see of Durham, of a college at Oxford called the Durham College. Its origin is not exactly known, but by the liberality of several bishops and priors its original endowment increased, until provision was made for eight fellows and eight scholars. This was the case at the time of the suppression of the monasteries by King Henry VIII., when, owing to its connection with the monastery of Durham, the college was also dissolved. Its revenues, were, however, rescued, and in 1541 were handed over by the king to the newly created dean and chapter. Thus the matter stood till 1650, when a petition was presented to the Protector, showing the great disadvantages to the North of England arising from the long distance of Oxford and Cambridge, and praying that the houses of the dean and prebendaries might be converted into a college. Cromwell took a favourable view of the idea, and in a letter to Lenthall, the Speaker, in its support, he says:—

Truly it seems to me a matter of great concernment and importance, as that which (by the blessing of God) may much conduce to the promotion of learning and piety in these poore, rude, and ignorant parts, there being also many concurring advantages to this place, as pleasantness, and aptness of situation, healthfull aire, and plenty of provisions, which seeme to favour and pleade for theire desires therein.7

Various delays occurred, however, and it was not until 1657 that the Lord Protector issued his patent for the erection of the proposed college, in a document consisting of twenty-three heads.

The college thus commenced made great progress, and would no doubt have continued to do so, but for the constant opposition of the two great universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Then followed the Restoration, and with [it] 109 came a reaction against all measures established during the Protectorate. This feeling, combined with persistent petitions from the universities, soon accomplished the downfall of the College.

Bishop Van Mildert, who was translated to Durham in 1826, during his short episcopate saw many changes, not the least of which was the successful revival of the scheme for a university. Powers were obtained in 1832 for the training of students in divinity and the conferring of degrees in other faculties. The new foundation was endowed out of the revenues of the cathedral, and the bishop gave up the Castle of Durham for the use of the college, besides financial assistance of £1000 for the first year and £2000 for the following years until his death in 1836. The first warden was Dr Charles Thorp, Archdeacon and Canon of Durham, but it was provided by an order, on the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners that in future the office of warden should be permanently attached to the deanery, and that a canonry in the cathedral be annexed to each of the professorships of Divinity and Greek.

The government of the university is in the hands of the dean and chapter, and the affairs administered by a warden, senate and convocation. A royal charter was obtained in 1837 making the university a corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal.

The university, besides its original schools of arts and divinity, has established schools of physical science and medicine, in connection with the Durham College of Science at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and has recently admitted women students to its courses and lectures.

There are many foundation scholarships and exhibitions in arts, classics, mathematics, and theology, besides a long list of private foundations and fellowships.

The university consists of one college and one hall. The former, University College, occupies the Castle, and the latter, Bishop Hatfield's Hall.

It is well supplied with libraries. The university library founded at the opening, to which Bishop Van Mildert contributed a valuable collection.

The library given in 1855 by the late Dr Martin Routh, president of Magdalen College, Oxford.

110 The library presented by the late Bishop Maltby in 1856, which he endowed with £1000.

A library was also bequeathed to the university in 1859 by the late T.M. Winterbottom, M.D., of Westoe, South Shields. A large collection of books was bequeathed by the late Bishop Lightfoot.

Two other important libraries may here be mentioned, though they do not belong to the University—viz. the Chapter Library and Bishop Cosin's Library.


The City

Besides the Cathedral and Castle, the City of Durham possesses several churches of decided interest to the student of architecture, which deserve a brief notice.

The Parish Church of S. Mary in the North Bailey.—This small church is generally known as S. Mary le Bow, owing to the fact that in its original steeple was an arch, through which the roadway passed. This steeple fell in 1637, and the ancient structure was allowed to lapse into complete ruin. The present church was built in 1685, and its most noticeable feature is the open carved screen between the nave and chancel erected in 1707. The site of the church is the oldest in the city, and some writers have thought it probably identical with that of the White Church in which the body of S. Cuthbert was placed during the building of the cathedral.

S. Mary-the-Less is a small but picturesque church situated in the South Bailey, and is of Norman date. Its original architectural character is, however, almost entirely lost, owing to extensive restorations which took place in 1846-7. The round-headed window now in the south wall of the chancel, but formerly in the west wall of the nave, is the only remaining original feature. The church is entered by a porch on the south side, and consists of a nave and chancel only. Some stones in the churchyard, which were removed from their position when the church was restored, are carved with chevron ornament, and would seem to show that the date of the original structure was the earlier part of the twelfth century.

S. Oswald.—This church stands on high ground overlooking the river Wear, at the head of New Elvet; and is the parish church of the ancient borough of Elvet. The first church was erected by Bishop Carileph, though the earliest 112 parts of the existing building are of the time of Bishop Pudsey, who also built the bridge across the river, known as the Elvet Bridge. To this date (about 1190) belongs the eastern part of the nave arcade, the arches of which are semi-circular and rest upon tall round piers. Early in the fourteenth century a new chancel was built, the aisles rebuilt and extended to the west end, and two new arches added to the west end of the nave arcades. In the early part of the fifteenth century a clerestory and open parapet were added, and a new oak roof placed over the nave. This was most probably a hammer-beam roof, and was coloured and gilded and decorated with angels holding shields. The only parts remaining at the present day are the grotesque carved corbels, and the angels. The tower was also constructed at this time. In 1834, owing to subsidence of the ground, it became necessary to rebuild the south aisle and a large part of the chancel, which caused the destruction of much architectural beauty. The open parapet was removed, the clerestory windows replaced by the present inferior ones, and the fine oak roof destroyed. The east end of the chancel was rebuilt in 1864. Special attention should be directed to the fine oak stall-work in the chancel, boldly carved in the style of the early part of the fifteenth century. The tower, which forms a beautiful and conspicuous landmark, is reached by a stone staircase of unusual character. It is placed in the thickness of the wall, and is covered in with twenty-four gravestones of thirteenth and fourteenth century date, on which may yet be seen portions of inscriptions and symbols. Built into the tower was part of a Saxon cross, which has now been removed for preservation to the dean and chapter library. This cross is interesting as evidence of the existence on the same site of a pre-Norman church. The tower was carefully restored in 1863. It contains a peal of six bells, which were re-cast in 1694, and bear the following inscriptions:—







The Cathedral and Castle, from the North.
The Cathedral and Castle, from the North.

115 The second bell was cast in 1885.

S. Margaret's Parish Church is situated on the steep hill called Crossgate. It is opposite to and across the river from the Castle, and from its churchyard a fine western view of the cathedral is obtained. The church was built during the early part of the episcopate of Bishop Pudsey (1154) and was formerly a chapel under the church of S. Oswald. Here again alterations and restorations have obliterated much that originally existed. The church at present consists of a nave and aisles, a chancel with aisles, a western tower, and north and south porches. The existing portions of the original church are the chancel arch, and the south arcade of four bays, together with part of the clerestory and the north wall of the chancel. The arcade consists of low massive circular piers, with cushion capitals and plain chamfered abaci, which support semi-circular arches of one order also chamfered.

The north arcade is also Norman, and very similar in character to that of S. Oswald. No doubt it is of the same date, and probably built by the same architect. The chancel arch has two orders, recessed square and chamfered, with a plain chamfered hood mould. On both north and south sides of the arch is a squint. With the exception of two which are Norman, the windows are nearly all of modern date. One is in the north wall of the chancel and is widely splayed. It is not seen on the outside owing to the vestry which now covers it. The other, a very interesting specimen, is situated over the western bay of the south arcade, and is a portion of the original clerestory and the earliest known clerestory window in the county. The roof of the nave is of oak, and a good specimen of Perpendicular work. The tower is of fifteenth-century date, and exceedingly plain externally, but vaulted in the interior. It opens on to the church by an arch which has been inserted in the west wall. There is an interesting font of Frosterley marble, 116 which is apparently of the same date as the chancel. The vestry which is raised above the level of the church floor is of the fifteenth century, and has on its gable the original gable cross.

The Parish Church of S. Giles occupies a very elevated position at the north-east end of the city, and commands one of the finest views of the cathedral, castle, and city, which it is possible to obtain. It was built by Bishop Flambard and finished as early as 1112; but the north wall of the nave, containing two small Norman windows, widely splayed inwards, and a walled-up doorway is all that remains of this early church. The chancel is of later Norman of the time of Pudsey. Both within and without a bold chamfered string course runs round the chancel. On the south side is a semi-circular headed window, with a carved dripstone and nook shafts, the capitals of which bear a similar character to those in the Galilee Chapel of the cathedral. In the north wall of the chancel is the priests' door, now walled up, and the corbels and springers of the original chancel arch built by Pudsey. The present arch was erected in 1876. In 1414 considerable alterations were made during the episcopate of Bishop Langley, when the walls of the nave were raised, the upper stage of the tower built, and the west window inserted. The font is a fine stone bowl resting on a shaft, and is undoubtedly of the time of Flambard. The chancel contains some monuments of the Tempest and Heath families, who were the ancestors of the Marchioness of Londonderry, patroness of the church and parish of S. Giles. The tower contains three bells, the first and second of which are pre-Reformation and the third bears the date 1646.

On the north side of Gilesgate near to the North-Eastern goods station, are the ruins of the little Chapel of S. Mary Magdalen, of which only a small portion remains. At the west end of the north and south walls are two doorways, the latter walled up. Portions of the east window are still in position, but it would appear to have been of earlier date than the surrounding walls, and probably had been brought from some other building. In the interior are the remains of a Frosterley marble font, and a gable cross of thirteenth-century date is in the custody of the dean and chapter. The chapel was 43 feet by 16-1/2 feet wide. It is supposed to 117 have been founded by Sir John Fitz Alexander. In 1370 it was almost entirely rebuilt, and again in 1449, on a site near the original one. The reason for this was the moisture of the ground, which caused the foundations to become insecure. The government was in the hands of the almoner of the cathedral, who distributed doles to the poor. The chapel was used as a place of worship until nearly the end of the seventeenth century, when, owing to its ruinous condition, services were finally discontinued.

Table of

Length of Nave2010
Width of Nave390
Width of Nave Aisles210
Length of North Transept660
Length of South Transept660
Width of Transepts370
Length of Choir1326
Width of Choir396
Width of Choir Aisles190
Length of Nine Altars Chapel1310
Width of Nine Altars Chapel386
Height of Vaulting of Nine Altars Chapel770
Height of Vaulting of Choir746
Height of Vaulting of Nave720
Height of Vaulting of Lantern1550
Width of Lantern E. to W.406
Width of Lantern N. to S.390
Height of Tower Arches686
Length of Galilee Chapel770
Width of Galilee490
Height of Western Towers1446
Height of Central Tower2180
Total length of Church (interior)4696
Thickness of Wall at West End80
AREA:44,400 sq. ft.


1 Sanderson, in his edition of "Rites of Durham," 1767, says: "He is said to be descended from the Blood Royal of the Kings of Ireland, being son of one Muriardach and Sabina his wife, a King's daughter. He was educated in the Abbey of Mailrose."

2 "County of Durham," by J.K. Boyle, F.S.A.

3 Raine. S. Cuthbert

4 Photographs, coloured by the late J.I. Williamson, are exhibited in the South Kensington Museum.

5 Geoffrey de Coldingham.

6 "Rites of Durham."

7 Hutchinson, vol. i


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  2. Some page numbers are missing, as there were often blank pages before or after full page photographs.

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