The “girdle” of St Cuthbert was deposited by King Athelstan (r. 927-939), first King of the English and grandson of Alfred the Great, while St Cuthbert’s tomb was at Chester-le-Street in 934 AD. It was originally part of ecclesiastical garments that were commissioned by his step-mother Ælfflæd for the Bishop of Winchester. The braid was found loose and is known as “the girdle”, although it may originally have been a maniple. This is a piece of cloth that hangs from the left arm when giving mass. The girdle is an exceptionally fine piece of weaving, created from gold thread and two different colours of scarlet, although that’s hard to make out after more than a thousand years! So how did we find out what we know about it?
Two years on from opening its doors, Open Treasure has welcomed over 75,000 visitors of all ages from across the globe, and has housed many fascinating exhibitions and hosted a Royal guest. It’s been an exciting 24 months! We’ve picked out some of the highlights. Continue reading Open Treasure turns two!
This is the story of the Sanctuary Ring, which has greeted visitors to Durham since the 12th century. It is likely that many visitors to the Cathedral before 1980 grabbed this original Ring and posed for a photo. For over 450 years, the Sanctuary Ring represented the possibility of safety and salvation, for all sorts of crimes. In this post, we will explore the story of the Sanctuary Ring, from its purpose to how it worked in practice.
This summer, Durham Cathedral is proud to present a new temporary exhibition celebrating the mining history and communities of County Durham, Miners: Pitmen, Pride and Prayer. The exhibition, in the collections gallery of Open Treasure, will explore how centuries of coal mining have shaped the North East and how mining heritage is still felt to this day in local communities.
We’ve picked a few stand-out items from the exhibition, which opens on Tuesday 19 June. Read more below, and let us know what your favourite object is! Continue reading Mining heritage celebrated at new exhibition at ‘Miners’ Cathedral’
As our Open Treasure exhibition space closes for a week, allowing the Tudors exhibition to move out and Miners: Pitmen, Pride and Prayer to move in, we spoke to Exhibitions Officer Marie-Therese Mayne about the process she and her team goes through each time there’s change on the horizon. Continue reading Behind the scenes during an exhibition changeover
This guest blog is part of a series called Shattering Perceptions. Written by Hannah Taylor and Maggie Birnbaum, MA students at Durham University, these blogs delve into the trailblazing female academics celebrated in their upcoming exhibition, Shattering Perceptions: The Women of Archaeology. Their exhibition will be open at Palace Green Library from 14 June.