The Neville Screen
The gift of Lord John Neville who is buried in the Cathedral among with other members of his family, the Neville Screen was commissioned for Durham Cathedral from Henry Yevele – the most renowned master mason in England at the time. It is reported to have cost 500 marks.
The screen was manufactured in London using stone that probably came from Caen in France. It was then packed in crates and sent by sea to Newcastle. From there, it was taken to Durham by wagon and erected in 1380 – a process which took seven masons almost a year of work.
How the Screen Looked in 1380
Impressive as a fine piece of gothic sculpture, the screen is today bereft of the 107 statues that would have once been its most striking features.
During the Reformation, these were removed by the monks of Durham to prevent their destruction. They were probably hidden somewhere for safekeeping, but have never been found.
Historic accounts mention that a statue of the Virgin was to be found on the central pedestal, flanked by St Cuthbert and St Oswald (under the two other spires).
Originally, the screen would have brightly painted and gilded.