This post was most recently updated on October 31st, 2017
Power to the People
Things were peaceful for Durham Cathedral throughout the 18th and into the 19th century, until Great Britain was transformed by the Industrial Revolution.
As Britain’s inhabitants struggled to adjust to the rapid shift from an agricultural and feudal society to an aggressively capitalist-industrial one, the issue of reform resurfaced.
The Catholic Church was incredibly wealthy but what good did that wealth do for the local community, many of whom engaged in back-breaking labour in newly created coal mines?
To appease the people, Durham Cathedral was forced to give up part of its property to found the University of Durham.
Still, in 1840 an Act of Parliament stripped the Cathedral of much of its property, leaving behind only a dean and a few canons to keep things ticking over.
Now the Cathedral had to look to the local community to keep it afloat, a necessity that has continued to this day.