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 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
“My Lord Bishop, I hereby present you with the falchion wherewith the champion Conyers slew the worm, dragon or fiery serpent which destroyed man, woman and child; in memory of which the king then reigning gave him the manor of Sockburn, to hold by this tenure, that upon first entrance of every bishop into the county the falchion should be presented.”
Those are the words spoken at the bridge at Croft-on-Tees whenever a new Bishop of Durham enters the diocese for the first time. But is there any truth to them?
The Treasures of St Cuthbert represent some of the most significant Anglo-Saxon artefacts in the UK! From Saturday 29 July you’ll be able to see these exquisite objects on permanent display in the stunning Great Kitchen in Open Treasure, Durham Cathedral’s world-class exhibition experience. Here are eight things to look out for when you visit.
From Monday 19 June – Saturday 9 September, the Open Treasure Collections Gallery at Durham Cathedral will present a unique opportunity to see the only surviving copy of the 1216 issue of the Magna Carta and further issues from 1225 and 1300. Also on display will be one of only two surviving issues of the Forest Charter, from 1217, and further issues from 1225 and 1300.
But why are these documents so important? Here are ten facts to highlight the significance of the Magna Carta and the Forest Charter.