Photos of Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral
View all photos »

Maps of Durham Cathedral

Location of Durham Cathedral
Map of Durham Cathedral

Aerial View of Durham Cathedral

Add Your Comments

Quick Facts on Durham Cathedral

Short URL
Cathedral Church of Christ and St. Mary the Virgin Durham Cathedral
DurhamDH1 3EH
Durham  locality
County Durham  county
England  country
United Kingdom  country
Europe  continent
Main date(s)
54.773513° N, 1.576034° W
Free admission; but donation requested.
0191 386 4266

Listed Building Description


14/365 Cathedral Church of 6/5/52 Christ and St. Mary the Virgin


Cathedral church, originally of Benedictine Priory, refounded 1541 as secular cathedral.

Main body 1093-1130, begun by Bishop William of St. Calais; Galilee 1189 for Bishop le Puiset. West tower tops, east bay and Chapel of 9 altars, 1242- c.1280. 1464-88 tower top stage. Restorations of late C18, early C19 and mid C19, notably by Bonomi and Jackson, Pickering and Robson and Fowler. Dressed sandstone; slate roofs. Cruciform with aisles, east transept aisles, transeptal eastern chapel, crossing tower, twin west towers and western Galilee. Galilee one storey with battlemented parapet and richly-moulded north entrance. Large, restored C14 and C15 windows. West towers have 4 lower stages aligned with those on nave: all have shafted round-arched openings (those on south side enriched), the ground stage a blank arcade, the clerestory set back under a corbel table. Elaborately-moulded opposed entrances in second nave bays have medieval doors, the north now with replica of sanctuary knocker. 2 upper stages to towers have pointed-arched openings under bands of blank arcading; corbel table below pierced battlemented parapet with crocketed pinnacles. Transepts have outer west stair turrets, blank arcading and large inserted Perpendicular windows north and south. Crossing tower of 2 stages with tall openings under crocketed ogee hoods, and high, pierced parapet. Chancel elevations similar to nave except for 2-light windows in triforium and C19 Decorated windows in aisles. Eastern transept 9 bays wide, divided into 3 and then into single bays by large buttresses. Angle towers with short spires, the southern with elaborate restored panelling.

Interior: tall 7-bay nave has alternating compound and incised round piers. Intersecting blank arcading to ground stage with single lights above; paired arches to gallery bays, 3 stepped arches in clerestory. Rib-vaulted throughout, many ribs enriched. Galilee: 5 aisles of even width, 4 bays; quatrefoil piers with waterleaf capitals and rich chevron mouldings to arches and vault ribs. 2-bay transepts with intermediate round arcade piers. South transept aisle now D.L.I. chapel. Stellar vault in crossing tower. 5-bay chancel, the east bay rebuilt in rich C13 style, all rib-vaulted, the aisle vaults being specially early examples. 9 altars chapel 2 bays by 9 bays wide, the central 3 treated as a unit. Two stages of tall lancets, multi-moulded and shafted with alternate shafts of Frosterley "marble"; trefoiled blank arcading below. Quadripartite vaults, the centre section double-ribbed with a central circle.

Fittings: Choir reredos (The Neville Screen) 1380, much restored and original figures lost. Choir stalls and aisle screens, 1665 for Bishop Cosin, eclectic mixture of Gothic and Renaissance motifs. Font and cover also of this period. Remains of wall paintings of late C12-early C14 in Galilee and nave. Several medieval tomb slabs, chests and figures, badly preserved, notably Bishop Hatfield's monument and throne, 1363. Figures of later bishops, Shute Barrington d. 1826 by Chantrey, the most moving. Much good C19 stained glass and collections of rearranged medieval glass. Prior Castell's clock, early C16 reconstructed 1938 by S. Dykes Bower.

Sources: Pevsner Durham, revised Williamson, pp 162-201. V.C.H. Vol III, B.A.A. Transactions III, 1980 (records of 1977 conference at Durham).

Listing NGR: NZ2731142150

Source: The National Heritage List for England. Reprinted under license.

Historical Timeline of Durham Cathedral

Blog Posts on Durham Cathedral

Bibliography of Durham Cathedral

Comments on Durham Cathedral

Have you visited Durham Cathedral, or do you have personal connections or insider knowledge? Please tell us about it below!

Please rate for beauty, interest, importance, visitor experience, etc.
Can be 20-3000 characters (about 5 to 450 words). If submitting a correction, please include the correct information and your source.
Required. Will be displayed with your comments.
Required. Will not be displayed unless you request it. We do not sell or share your e-mail with anyone.
  Check the box if you want to display your e-mail address so you can be contacted by other readers.
Required. This just shows you're not a spam bot.