Standing proudly on a rocky peninsula looking out over the city, Durham Cathedral seems to have been around forever.
A familiar point in the northern landscape to anyone who regularly travels by train on the East Coast Main Line, the cathedral has over nine centuries of stories to tell.
Durham itself was founded and populated by the community of Saint Cuthbert around the year 995AD. The first inhabitants had originally lived on Lindisfarne, an island known to locals as ‘Holy Island’.
Forced from their land by devastating Viking raids, the followers of Saint Cuthbert were in need of a safe place to worship. The geography of Durham, sitting high on a bend in the river Wear with steep river banks, fitted the bill.
The first order of business was to build a suitable resting place for the remains of Saint Cuthbert. The ‘White Church’ was constructed where Durham Cathedral now stands and a shrine to Saint Cuthbert attracted pilgrims from all over England.