Durham has a long and varied history. It rose to prominence in the eleventh century with the construction of the Norman Cathedral, built to honour St Cuthbert who had helped spread Christianity across the region some 400 years earlier.
The Cathedral and the Castle represented the enormous power of the medieval Prince-Bishops. Even after the Reformation in the sixteenth century, Durham remained the political, spiritual and governmental centre of the North East until well into the nineteenth century. Its wealth owed much to the development of a mining industry, based on coal and lead. The online Durham Mining Museum records the terrible toll that was paid for this wealth – the lives of 20,000 men and boys were lost in the Durham coalfield – remembered in the annual Durham Miners’ Gala and procession of banners and brass bands.
A state within a state, ruled by Prince Bishops — discover the intriguing history of Durham.