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Monday, 13 September 2010
In those days people felt it important, when they prayed for help or healing, to be as close as possible to a saint's relics. And so, if a community made relics available that was equivalent to a declaration of sainthood. The monks of Lindisfarne determined to do this for Cuthbert.
They decided to allow 11 years for his body to become a skeleton and then 'elevate' his remains on the anniversary of this death (20th March 698). We believe that during these years the beautiful manuscript known as 'The Lindisfarne Gospels' was made, to be used for the first time at the great ceremony of the Elevation. The declaration of Cuthbert's sainthood was to be a day of joy and thanksgiving. It turned out to be also a day of surprise, even shock, for when they opened the coffin they found no skeleton but a complete and undecayed body. That was a sign of very great sainthood indeed.
So the cult of St.Cuthbert began. Pilgrims began to flock to the shrine. The ordinary life of the monastery continued for almost another century until, on 8th June 793, the Vikings came. The monks were totally unprepared; some were killed; some younger ones and boys were taken away to be sold as slaves; gold and silver was taken and the monastery partly burned down. After that the monastery lived under threat and it seems that in the 9th century there was a gradual movement of goods and buildings to the near mainland.
The traditional date for the final abandonment of Lindisfarne is 875ad..
The body of St.Cuthbert, together with other relics and treasures which had survived the Viking attack were carried by the monks and villagers onto the mainland.
For over 100 years the community settled at the old Roman town of Chester-le-Street. It was said that fear of further attack took them inland to Ripon but not for long and on their journey back from there they finally settled at Durham.
999 A Saxon stone church is built to replace a wooden one
'As well as being an important defensive site Durham was also an important place of pilgrimage. The early cathedral and shrine at Durham were visited by hundreds of pilgrims who came to visit Durham in the same way as the pilgrims who had visited Lindisfarne a century before. Among the visitors to Durham was King Canute the Dane (1017 - 1035), who as a mark of respect, walked six milesbare footed to the site from Garmondsway, which is now a deserted medieval village situated near Coxhoe. As a gift King Canute returned some of the land that had been taken from the Bishops of Durham by his Viking ancestors. The land included the large estate owned by King Canute in the Tees valley, centred upon Staindrop and Gainford, near Darlington.'
1069 Normans seize the city of Durham
1072 William the Conqueror orders the building of Durham Castle
1093 Foundation stone laid on Durham Cathedral
1100 – 1162 Bridges are constructed
1132 A mint is established near Durham Castle
It is often thought Silver Street is named after the existence of a mint here. However it is more likely Silver street gets its name from the existence of a silver trade here. It is known that a mint existed at palace Green
1133 Durham Cathedral nave, Choir, Apse and Transepts were completed
1180 A charter is granted for markets to be held outside the castle wall
1346 The battle of Neville's Cross
The battle of Neville’s Cross, between Scottish and English forces, took place on 17th October 1346, on moorland just to the west of Durham.
The battle of Neville’s Cross was disastrous for the Scots. Not only was their King captured and imprisoned and many men lost, but the following year the English pursued their advantage and were able to occupy almost the whole of Scotland south of the Forth and the Clyde. (UK battlefields Resource Centre, Battlefields Trust)
1371 Bishop's throne is built
The south aisle of the cathedral choir contains the Tomb of Bishop Thomas Hatfield (1345-1381) His tomb is covered by his alabaster effigy which lies snugly tucked under a decorated arch formed by a short stairway leading to the bishop's throne or 'cathedra' directly above. The Bishop's throne at Durham is the highest in Christendom. (http://www.englandsnortheast.co.uk)
1429 Cathedral cloisters are built
1540 Henry VIII orders the dissolution on the monasteries
1640-41 Scottish Covenanters occupy Durham
1720 Mrs Clements develops her mustard
Mustard was introduced into England in the 12th Century and in early times seeds were coarsely ground at the table using a mortar and it was eaten in this rough state.
1771 Durham Floods
1787 Durham Infirmary is founded
1790 Streets of Durham are paved and lit by oil lamp
In 1790 an act of parliament was passed setting up a body of men to pave and light the streets (with oil lamps). (http://www.picturesofengland.com)
1809 The building of a new prison began
'With great ceremony the construction of the current prison began on 31st July 1809 when the foundation stone was laid by Sir Henry Vane Tempest. Large crowds attended to see the Bishop place gold, silver and copper coins of the time into the foundations, bands played and soldiers from the Durham volunteers fired a volley of shots with their rifles to celebrate the occasion but because of problems in its construction, no prisoners were transferred to the new prison until 1819. Indeed, the first architect, Francis Sandys, was jailed for theft of money in building the prison, the plans were heavily criticized and some parts even had to be pulled down and rebuilt.' (http://www.dur.ac.uk )
1832 Durham University is founded
1836 Durham City Police force is created
1844 The railway reaches Durham
1851 The Town Hall is rebuilt
The town hall was rebuilt in 1851. It was paid for with money raised by public subscription. Also in 1851 a covered market opened.
1860 Durham Amateur Rowing Club is founded
1869 Durham Miner's Association
Following a major dispute at Wearmouth Colliery where the miners agreed to vacate their cottages and resign from their jobs following strike action in March 1869 forcing the owners to capitulate this final act became a major turning point in the Durham Union’s history. On Saturday 20th November 1869, a meeting of delegates in the Market Tavern in Durham Market Square met and established Durham Miners’ Mutual Association. This new union came to life at a fortunate period of history. Durham coal was entering an unprecedented period of prosperity. (http://www.keystothepast.info - The Durham Miner project)
The first Miners' Gala was held in 1871
1881 Durham Light Infantry was established
It was disbanded in 1968
1800s, 1900s into 21st century
Notable industries of Durham
Organ making, carpet manufacturing, cotton mills, mustard making, paper mills, brewing, iron works and coal
The following headings represent the final 3 sections of the time line and take you from the 20th into the 21st century
Sports & Leisure in Durham
Arts & Entertainment
Commerce & Tourism
Information has been sourced from the following:
Durham 1000 years of history, Martin Roberts published 1994 Tempus Publishing Inc.
Durham City, David Simpson, The Northern Echo published by Business Education Publishers Limited
Ancient City of Durham, H.T. Gradon first published 1883 new edition published 2009 Amberly Publishing
A Jarrold Guide to the Historic City of Durham, Jarrold Publishing 2001
Did You Know? Durham, A Miscellany, Compiled by Julia Skinner published by The Francis Firth Collection 2008
UK Battlefields Resource Centre created by The Battlefields Trust
A Brief History of Durham, Tim Lambert