Results 1-10of 11 Reviews
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
November 20, 2010
From journal 'You must go at once - please, take my car'
Durham, England, United Kingdom
November 15, 2010
From journal Attractions in Central Durham
ashbourne, United Kingdom
December 23, 2009
From journal Cathedrals we have visited
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
September 19, 2009
Places to visit, and hotels in the North of England,
The North East & Surrounding Countryside
New Haven, Connecticut
April 18, 2006
From journal A Few Days in Durham
January 24, 2005
From journal A Prize For Scenic Looks
Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
July 19, 2004
The Monk’s Dormitory, in which over a hundred monks once slept, now houses part of the Cathedral library. Its 600-year-old roof is made out of twenty-one oak trees, tie beams spanning the width of the room over arched braces and heavy posts mounted above walls crammed with 19th century bookshelves and thirty thousand books. There are seventy Anglo-Saxon stones sited throughout the room in addition to pre-1066 crosses, two log coffin and capes worn by the Bishop of Durham at the coronation of King Edward VII.
The Treasures of Cuthbert are kept in an atmospheric stone room, near silent and dimly lit. This is the repository of the original 12th century Refuge Door Knocker, a lion’s head, mane radiating out behind, that once hung on the main doors outside and is now the most well-known symbol of the Cathedral. The surrounding glass display cases contain wonderful artefacts such as the 16th century Wolsingham Cross, a handwritten book of sermons preached by Bishop Cosin, who was exiled to Paris along with Charles I after the Civil War, from the late 17th century, the seals of Charles I, Henry VIII and Edward VI, and an 11th century commentary from Bede on Cuthbert’s Book of Revelations.
Among the more memorable exhibits are the two-metre high Neasham Cross, a 12th century bible decorated with gold foliage and the Orbit Roll, a parchment carried around the country to announce the death of an important person. But its Cuthbert’s cross and coffin that really stand out in my mind. The coffin was made out of oak planks cut from a single tree in 698 and represent a unique example of Anglo-Saxon wood carving. The lid is illustrated with Christ on the Day of Judgement, surrounded by apocalyptic beasts, the angel of St Matthew, a calf representing Luke, an eagle for John and St Mark in lion form. Nearby is a woven Byzantine silk found in the tomb; brought from Constantinople, its covered with a map of the entire known world. Though the extent of our geographical knowledge may have improved since then, it would be difficult to top the wonderful craftsmanship of the silk, or indeed of the 7th century oak and silver portable altar also found in the grave.
From journal Ways of Escape: Days out in Durham
I could tell you about the history of the Cathedral, how the 179 symbols cut into the stonework identify each individual mason’s work, how the foundations are only eighteen inches deep, and how it served as a stronghold for the Prince Bishops. I won’t because you can read about that on a hundred different sites. Instead I’ll tell you why I love this building more than any other I’ve been to in Britain.
It’s easy to lose track of the small things when you’re faced with beauty on such a huge scale. So you’ll stand transfixed by the Rose Window and the Chapel of the Nine Altars and then miss the smaller Millennium Window, whose panes offer a silent eulogy to the region’s moribund glass blowing, coal mining, engineering and shipbuilding industries, the sources of innovation behind Stephenson’s Rocket and the identical bridges over the Tyne and Sydney Harbour.
Look closely at Prior Castell’s Clock in the South Transept. The Scottish thistle on top of the case was probably all that stopped it from being burnt along with all the other wood inside the Cathedral when Cromwell used it as a prison for 3,000 Scottish soldiers. The face has only four marks dividing the time between hours, a relic from when the clock only had one hand and told the time to the nearest quarter hour – obviously before the advent of MTV. The Durham Light Infantry Chapel is just to the left, the regimental colours hanging over a book of remembrance listing over fifteen thousand names from the two world wars. There’s a simple memorial cross that once stood on the Butte de Warlencourt at the Somme in 1916 "In Memory of the Gallant Officers, NCOs and Men of the 6th, 8th and 9th Battalions." The Miner’s Memorial is nearby, paying tribute to those involved in an industry that had 147 mines in County Durham as recently as 1945, and died out in 1993.
My favourite view of the interior is from St. Cuthbert’s Shrine, the banners of Cuthbert and King Oswald hanging over a green marble tomb that was once one of the major pilgrimage sites in the world. Ahead a central circular window surrounded by glorious pointed arches. Away at the opposite end, the Galilee Chapel forms a wonderful counterpoint. Wide, draughty and propped up by rows of limestone arches, it’s a work of architectural genius concealed by the impression of simplicity.
One last thing; though there’s no compulsory entrance fee for the Cathedral, almost £40,000 is needed each week to keep the building and its precincts in order. Dig deep.
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
February 25, 2003
In medieval times, the Durham Cathedral was one of England's great pilgrimage centres -- the chief reason for pilgrimage was the rich and glorious Shrine of St Cuthbert that once resided here. Today, the simple greystone tomb inscribed 'Cuthbertus' is all that remains.
Bishop William St Carileph designed the Cathedral and began construction in 1093; 40 years later it was complete. The nave’s boasts striking massive spiral and zigzag-decorated cylindrical columns; larger and compounded colums support the impressive diamond-ribbed high-ceiling vaulting.
At the west end of the cathedral above the gorge formed by the River Wear is the Gailee Chapel, a later addition. It’s famous as the home of the black marble-topped tomb of The Venerable Bede (673-735 A.D), who was the first historian of England. The Chapel known also as the Lady Chapel was once the only part of the cathedral open to women.
The huge Chapel of the Nine Altars at the east end of the cathedral was also added later. It has a prominent statue of Bishop William Van Mildert -- the last Prince Bishop of Durham and the man largely responsible for the foundation of Durham University in 1832. The Chapel has a beautiful rose window, too -- the rose itself measures 90 feet across, and its central core depicts Christ surrounded by the 12 apostles.
To the south are the cloisters, clustered around a small square called the Cloister Garth, that once served as the monastic priory buildings and included the Chapter House, the Monk’s Dormitory, the Refectory, and the Great Kitchen. A walkway on the northern side of the cloisters, by the main cathedral wall, was the monk’s Scriptorium. This contained reading chambers in which the monks could study. At the western end of this walkway, a plaque announces that an ancestor of George Washington's was a prior at Durham Cathedral.
The cathedral’s restaurant, bookshop, and Treasury Museum lie in the southwest corner of the cloisters. This Museum, one of the most important in the north of England, contains many relics of Northumbria’s past.
Most visitors to the cathedral will have entered the building from Palace Green and by the north door -- look for its imposing, bronze sanctuary-knocker. This is a replica of the 12th-century original currently on display in the Treasury Museum. It has the face of a repugnant lion-like beast and represents the ancient privilege of sanctuary that was formerly granted criminal offenders; criminals could seek refuge at Durham by loudly banging the knocker to alert the attentions of the watchers who lived in two small chambers overlooking the door.
From journal County Durham - Castles, Cathedrals and Museums
Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
July 21, 2002
Inside the magnificent nave with its Norman arches and columns is one of the outstanding exhibits of this form, most places of anything approaching the size having been partially restored, rebuilt or 'historically modified.'
The cathedral contains the tombs of two eninent figures from early Chritianity in England, St Cuthbert with Lindisfarne connections and the Venerable Bede who was originally buried at St Paul's in Jarrow, one of the county's Saxon churches. Bede was a prodigious author, mainly of theological and historial work of the Saxon periop.
Another favourite is the wonderful clock in the South transept. Prior Castell's clock dates from about 1500 and is an object of great beauty. Its oddest feature is the division of its face into 48 instead of 60 parts. The explanation is that the clock was initially one-handed and each marking represents a quarter of an hour!
From journal County Durham - an introduction