Sunday, 11 June 2017

Another road to follow

This is a place I love, Durham Cathedral. Lots of other people love it too, it's recently been voted Britain's best loved building, not a bad thing to be.

When I'm travelling back from London up the East coast after my tours and I see it from the train, I know I'm home. It's often referred to as the greatest example of Romanesque architecture in Europe or as US author Bill Bryson described it "The best cathedral on planet earth."

I've visited it numerous times and I've probably posted about it earlier. Last time I was there it was being used for the production of the Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War and it was closed for some of the time which must have been annoying for those who had travelled a long way to visit it. So if you are an Avengers fan look out for it. Have to say I'm not but might go to see the film just to see the Cathedral. There were some additional bits of "furniture" there and all the benches had been removed which changed the look of it but essentially it was the same place.

Over the last three months I've been there about 6 times and I realised I didn't really know a lot about it. Mostly over the years I've gone for a carol service or just wandered around with the children and grandchildren taking in the atmosphere mainly. 

I visited in March for a day where you learned about the Cathedral's Benedictine heritage; it was a Benedictine monastery until 1539 when it was handed over to King Henry V111. It is now an Anglican cathedral but it still carries on some of the Benedictine tradition of being a place of prayer and of welcome and hospitality to visitors just as it was when it was first built in 1093. There is no charge for visiting the cathedral itself unlike many other UK places of worship such as Westminster Abbey & York Minster; it is up to the visitor to make a voluntary donation. I find it offensive to have to pay to go into churches but I understand that it is expensive preserving them for future generations never mind heating & cleaning them. I hope there never comes a day when they have to start to charge in Durham.

I decided recently to become a volunteer at the Cathedral to welcome people and help them get the most out of their visit. I now have to start the training which is extensive, there's a health & safety course, gaining knowledge of the cathedral and sadly a course in awareness of potentially dangerous situations and what action to take. 

I will have to do some guided tours of the Cathedral to pick up more about the architecture, the history of how it was built as well as more knowledge of the Northern saints who are buried there. 

Just hope my brain is up to all this and I can blog more about my progress.


  1. Have the modern day conveniences like electricity and running water been added since the 1500's? I would not be able to tour for very long without a bathroom. Funny the things we think about.

  2. Although it was built in 1093 they do have electricity, running water & the toilets are in a separate little listed building (modern toilets & sinks). Sadly you can't stay in the Cathedral now Annie, not unless you're Harry Potter! (They filmed some of the first film there in the cloisters).

    It's part of the UNESCO World Heritage site & the Castle is there too. You can stay in the Castle which is great but only when the students are on holiday as it's part of the University. Quite unique really being a student & living in a real castle. Yes they have proper bathrooms, electricity & running water hot & cold!

  3. Hello Winifred--
    Glad to see your post.
    Thanks for telling us about this what fun it would be to
    see this place. I am reading a book call (A Quit Life In The Country)
    A Lady Hardcastle Mystery-- This place will give me idea and picture of a English country village with a castle.
    english country village

  4. It's a magnificent example of architecture, vast in quantity and quality. How exciting you will be a tour guide and will enjoy it's beauty often.
    Enjoy !

  5. wow, beautiful church and you sure are busy - traveling and now being a volunteer there. Nice.


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