13 December: Durham Cathedral

Every day throughout Advent, we'll be introducing a different cathedral from around the UK and occasionally beyond

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Denomination: Anglican

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Building began: 1093

About the cathedral:

Standing majestically on its crag above the River Wear, Durham Cathedral is one of England’s most impressively situated buildings. It is just one highlight of a beautiful medieval city about which the travel writer Bill Bryson wrote ‘If you have never been to Durham before, go there at once. Take my car, it’s wonderful.’ The Norman cathedral was originally the church of a Benedictine Priory dissolved during the reformation. During the English Civil War the cathedral was used to incarcerate nearly 2,000 Scottish soldiers taken prisoner during the battle of Dunbar. In 2013, while building a new café, workers made the grisly discovery of a mass grave, thought to contain the remains of some of these prisoners of war.

Did you know?

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The young singers of Durham Cathedral Choir are educated at the Chorister School, an independent prep school next door. Both actor Rowan Atkinson and former prime minister Tony Blair are alumni of the school, although neither sang in the cathedral choir itself.