This post was most recently updated on October 31st, 2017
Welcoming over 700,000 visitors per year and holding over 1,700 religious services, Durham Cathedral is home to some astonishing artefects.
The coffin of Saint Cuthbert dates back to the year 698 and was described by one historian as “the Tutankhamun’s tomb of the north-east”.
The most important wooden object to survive from the ‘dark ages’, the coffin is displayed alongside the objects found inside it – a portable altar, a cross and an ivory comb.
The Bishop’s throne, or cathedra, is the most important object in any Cathedral as it elevates the building from a church to a Cathedral. Durham’s throne is bigger than any other in Christendom.
On the order of Bishop Hatfield, monks visiting the Vatican measured the height of the Pope’s throne so the Bishop could ensure his own was one inch taller.
The relics and remains of three different saints rest within the walls of Durham Cathedral: Saint Cuthbert, the Venerable Bede and Saint Oswald.
In later years, mere mortals were also interred there. In the 14th century Ralph Neville was buried there in an elaborately carved tomb. The figures which adorn it are said to represent his 19 children, with one figure facing inwards – perhaps the black sheep of the Neville family.
The bold Bishop Hatfield also has an ornate tomb within Durham Cathedral. The bishop’s tomb is the only non-royal tomb in existence that features a royal coat of arms, a gift from his friend King Edward III.
A place of religious worship and learning, Durham Cathedral has stood as a symbol of the power of the Catholic Church for almost 1000 years. To look back at a time of Viking invasion, Norman Conquest, the Dissolution of the Monasteries or the Civil War, all you have to do is step through its ancient wooden doors.