Like most of the other woodwork in the Cathedral, the font cover dates from late seventeenth century. Much of the building's woodwork was destroyed during the civil war and had to be replaced. This was done during the Bishopric of John Cosin, also the patron of the famed Black Staircase in Durham Castle.

The marble baptismal font (basin) and its towering wooden cover, date from the post- reformation refurbishment of the building under Bishop Cosin. (In this case, 1663). The wooden cover, like the woodwork of the Quire, was the work of the Durham architect, James Clement.  

The location of the font close to the main entrance of the Cathedral is traditional: Baptism marks the initiation of children and adults into the church, and the font is therefore a symbol of entrance and belonging.