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Durham, Durham

Historical Description

Durham, an ancient city and a municipal and parliamentary borough in the county of Durham, and a diocese in the NE of England. The city stands on the river Wear, and on the main line of the N.E.R., 15 miles S by E of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and 254 miles by railway from London.

History.-Durham was the Dunhoime of the Saxons, signifying " the hill with the girdle of water," changed by the Normans into Dureme,and corrupted by the moderns into Durham. The city had an ecclesiastical origin. The monks of Lindisfarne, with Bishop Aldune at their head, were its founders. They had been expelled by the Danes from their original settlement; they had wandered from place to place, between the neighbourhood of Berwick and the centre of Yorkshire, carrying with them the mortal remains of St Cuthbert, the apostle of Northumbria; they had taken seat for a time at Chester-le-Street and at Ripon, and about the year 995 they were again on their wanderings, returning to Chester-le-Street, when they supposed themselves to have received a Divine intimation to take permanent post on the site of the future city of Durham. Sir Walter Scott, narrating the posthumous history of St Cuthbert, says:-"' After many wanderings past, He chose his lordly seat at last, "Where his cathedral, huge and vast, Looks down upon the Wear."

A church founded by the monks to receive the mortal remains of St Cuthbert, and to serve as the cathedral of a diocese, was the nucleus of the city. But a strong castle also was built by one of the bishops, probably before the time of the Norman Conquest, and was rebuilt and extended by two subsequent bishops, a strong wall also was built around the shoulders of the eminence which formed the original city's site, inclosing a space of elliptical outline, and terminating abruptly on the north of the castle; and these gave the place a military character suited to the turbulence of the early times, and made it a sharer in some of the great shocks of conflict which so frequently occurred. The town, as well by the natural strength of its site as by the artificial structure of its fortifications, had very considerable military capabilities, and it often became the scene of warfare. It was besieged by Duncan of Scotland in 1040. It was sacked, in punishment of Cumin's (Comyn's) death, by William the Conqueror. It was sacked again, in punishment of Walcher's murder, by Bishop Odo. Its suburbs were wasted, in 1312, by Bruce. It was visited by Edward III, in 1327, and again in 1333 after the battle of Halidon Hill. The Scots besieged it in 1346, and then sustained an utter defeat, and their king. David Bruce, was taken prisoner, with the loss of 15,OLIO men, at a place about a mile to the west, where a magnificent cross was afterwards erected by Ralph, Lord Neville, to commemorate their overthrow. The city was captured by the insurgents under the Earl of Northumberland in 1569. It was seized by the Scots in 1640, and held by them till the following year. It was occupied by Cromwell after the defeat of the Scots in 1650, and then 3000 prisoners were put into the cathedral. The city was visited by King John in 1213, by Henry III. in 1244, by Edward I. twice, by Edward II. in 1322, by Edward IV. once, by Henry VI. in 1424, when his cousin Jane was married to James II. of Scotland, and again in 1448, when he made an offering at St Cuthbert's shrine; by Margaret, the daughter of Henry VII., in 1503, by James I. in 1603 and 1617, and by Charles I. in 1633 and 1639. The city likewise was made a mint town by Stephen, and it suffered devastation by the plague in 1416, 1589, and 1597. Many notable men are on the roll of its natives- among others, Archbishop Sherwood, who died in 1249; Bishop Horn; John Hall, a poet and translator; Hegge, a divine; G. Smith, born in 1603, and editor of " Bede;" Lamb, the writer on chess; Grey, the author of " Memoria Technica;" the distinguished Granville Sharp, who died in 1813; the first Lord Auckland, who died in 1814; Surtees, the antiquary, who died in 1834; Morton, the dramatist, who died in 1838; Sir A. Carlisle, the surgeon, who died in 1840; Sir R. K. Porter, the Oriental traveller, who died in 1842, and other illustrious persons. The city gives the title of Earl to the family of Lambton.

Site and Aspect.-Durham is seated on a rocky eminence, almost encircled by the Wear, and, as to its shape, has been fancifully compared to a crab, the market-place representing the body and the streets the claws. The approach to it from any side is pleasing, the general exterior appearance of it is unique and striking, the public edifices, prominent in the view, exhibit an unexpected degree of magnificence, and the general aspect, taken in connection with the historical associations, has induced some warm imaginations, in defiance of all the real local features, to accept the place as a reproduction of the ancient capital of the Holy Land. t( He that hath seene the situation of this cittye," says an old writer. ' hath seene the map of Zion, and may save a visit to Jerusalem." Certain streets called the Baileys, and the castle and the cathedral, stand within the remains of the ancient walls, and the objects here appear, in the exterior view, to rise one above another, till they culminate in the cathedral, which rises on the city's head like the mitre round the brow of its prelate. Below the city walls, on the one side, a slope descends to the river, adorned with gardens and woods, while on the other an acclivity ascends, rocky, steep, and high. Only an isthmus of not more than 200 paces in width prevents the ancient city from being completely insulated by the Wear, and even this may not improbably have once been crossed by a sluice or moat. Elvet township, with two streets and many good houses, is separated from the east side of the peninsula only by the river. Framwellgate township, consisting principally of a single street running northward from Framwellgate Bridge, sends off another suburb called Crossgate; and St Nicholas parish, including a section of old town, with the principal shops, and extending itself along a street called Claypath, formerly Clayport, up to St Giles' parish, where a prolongation of half a mile takes place under the name of St Giles' Gate, is separated by the river from the north side of the peninsula. Beautiful promenades or public walks, called the Banks, occur on both sides of the river, beyond the slope and the acclivity. (t These celebrated walks," says Warner, " accompany the bending of the stream, and command several interesting peeps at the city and its august ornaments, the castle and cathedral. The banks, rocky and abrupt on one hand, and sloping gently to the river OR the other, darkened by a solemn depth of shade, sequestered and retired, in the immediate neighbourhood of a busy scene of society, afford a retreat of the most beautiful and agreeable nature. The variety of the scenes which they also open is remarkable, deep glades and solemn dells, scarred rock and verdant lawn, sylvan glades and proud castellated edifices. From the elegant new bridge, the last-mentioned feature is seen to great effect; the castle and cathedral blend their battlements and turrets together, and rise with inconceivable majesty from the sacred groves which clothe their rocky foundations. The combination here of trees and buildings, water and rock, home sylvan scenery and fine distance, is at once beautiful and grand." Rut the view from the churchyard of St Giles-which lies very high and commands unobstructed prospect to the south, with the battlements and towers of the castle prominent in the picture-is pre-eminently good." Fair on the half-seen stream the sunbeams dance, Betrayin g it beneath the woodland bank- Grey towers of Durham; begirt by winding Wear, "Well yet I love thy mixed and passive pile, Half church of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot: How fair between the Gothic turrets glance

Broad lights, and shadows fall on front and flank, Where tower and buttress rise in martial rank, And girdle in the massive donjon keep, And from their circuit peals o'er bush and bank

The matin bell with summons long and deep, And echo answers still with long-resounding sweep."

Public Buildings.-The castle, on Palace Green, occupied since 1833 by the university, is principally Norman, but includes restorations and additions of various periods till the present time. The keep or tower crowns an artificial mound; is mainly ancient, of Norman character, but possesses features, in the form of the windows and in the summit of the buttresses, which are of later date than Norman; forms an irregular octagon of 63½ feet in the widest diameter, and 61 feet in the narrowest, and was for some time a mere shell, but has been restored to form college rooms. Its original elevation seems to have formed four storeys, exclusive of vaults; its angles are supported by buttresses; its summit had, all round, a parapet and an embattled breastwork, which were taken down in 1789; and its principal entrance was on the west side. A great hall in the castle was constructed about the middle of the 12th century, but went to decay; a still grander hall, recorded to have been 360 feet long, was afterwards constructed by Bishop Hatfield, and a later hall, formed out of that one, and still existing, measures 180 feet in length, 50 in width, and 36 in height; was the scene of an entertainment in 1827 to the Duke of Wellington, and contains numerous portraits of prelates and others. A gateway and tower, flanked on each side with a strong wall, were built on the side of Palace Green by Bishop Tunstall; a large hall and other apartments were constructed by Bishop Cosin, a strong north gateway, adjoining the east side of the keep, defended by gate and portcullis, and eventually used as the county jail, was built by Bishop Langley; and other erections, reconstructions, or alterations, much modifying the original castle group, have been can-led out by various other parties till the present day. The exchequer, on the -west side of Palace Green, and used by the bishops for their court of chancery, is a strong square edifice, erected about the year 1450 by Bishop Neville. The bishop's library, adjoining the exchequer, was built by Bishop Cosin. The law courts to the south of the library, once used for the assizes and the sessions, were partly raised by the same bishop, and partly built in 1791 or other years. The Palace Green is an open area on the northern part of the same rocky eminence as the cathedral; has the castle on its north side, and communicates by an avenue with the public walks on the banks of the river. Both the groupings of the edifices in it and the blendings of these with outward views add much to the effect of the architectural features.

An elegant bridge across the Wear, commanding one of the finest views of the city, has three arches, and was built in 1772-77, after designs by George Nicholson, in lieu of an ancient bridge, which was destroyed by a great flood in 1771. Elvet Bridge has eight arches, was built by Bishop Pudsey, and repaired by Bishop Fox, and formerly had, either on it or adjoining it, two chapels dedicated to St James and St Andrew. Framwellgate Bridge was built about 1120 by Bishop Flambard, but rebuilt in the 15th century, is a noble and substantial structure for its time, and has two elliptical arches of 90 feet in span, and so flat as to describe the quarter section of a circle. The guildhall was built in 1555 by Bishop Tunstall, and rebuilt in 1849-50 by P. Hardwick, and contains among others portraits of Charles I. and Bishop Lord Crewe. The pant or conduit is a recent fountain in room of an ancient one, surmounted by a statue of Neptune, and receives its supply of water from an inclosed spring, about half a mile distant, granted for the use of the city in 1450 by Thomas Billingham of Crookhall. A beautiful ancient cross stood adjacent to the ancient pant, but was destroyed in 1781 to give place to a piazza or corn market, and the piazza in its turn was removed, and a new covered market was erected. The county jail, situated in Old Elvefc township, was built in 1809 and following years at a cost of £140,000. New assize courts were constructed in 1869 at a cost of about £5000. A masonic hall, in Old Elvet, was erected in 1869, is a building in the Early Geometrical style, and contains a fine lodge-room and banqueting hall. County court offices in Old Elvet were erected in 1871. There are also a post office built in 1880, the county penitentiary near Giles Gate, the county hospital, erected in 1853, and enlarged at various times since then, the latest additional wards being opened in 1886. A theatre, concert-hall, and assembly-rooms were built in 1891. An equestrian statue of the Marquis of Londonderry was erected in the market-place in 1861. The Durham Miners' Association Hall is a building of stone with clock tower, and was erected in 1875 at a cost of £8000. Two weekly newspapers are published. There are two banks, public baths and wash-houses, a Home for Friendless Girls, established in 1882, almshouses founded by Bishop Cosin in 1668, and numerous charities.

The Cathedral.-The original cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Aldune in 999, and completed by bishop Edmund in 1041. The present cathedral was founded by Bishop Carileph in presence of Malcolm, king of Scotland, in 1093; was extended and decorated by various bishops from 1099 till 1437; underwent changes at several periods till the present century. The latest restoration was completed under the dnection of the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott, R.A., during 1869-76, and the building reopened in October, 1876. It was originally dedicated to St Cuthbert, and continued to be so till the Reformation, but was then dedicated to Christ and St Mary. It consists of a west chapel or galilee, of five alleys and three bays, a nave of eight bays with aisles, a transept with three bays in each wing, and with six chantries forming an eastern aisle, a choir of five bays with aisles, a chapel of the nine altars of seven bays, forming a transeptal east front and three towers, two of them western, the other central. There are also a north-east porch forming the principal entrance to the nave, a cloister on the south side of the nave, a parlour, a chapter-house, and a deanery hall on the east side of the cloister, a prior's chapel, with a crypt, south-east of the deanery hall, and a refectory and a dormitory on respectively the south side and the west side of the cloister. The dimensions of the galilee are 80 feet from north to south, and 50 from east to west; of the nave, 235 feet long, 81 wide, and 69 high; of the transept, 171 feet long; of the choir, 179 feet long, 77 wide, and 76 high; of the chapel of nine altars, 129 feet long and 34 wide; of the entire church, exclusive of the galilee, 413 feet long; of the western towers, 144 feet high; of the central tower, 34 feet wide and 218 high; of the cloister, 146 feet long and 144 wide; of the chapter-house, 77 feet long, 34 wide, and 35 high; of the refectory, 49 feet long and 30 wide; of the dormitory, 193 feet long and 38 wide. The pile is built of the red stone of the neighbourhood; it shows better in the exterior view, especially at a little distance, than most of the other cathedrals of England; and it presents fine studies of the Norman architecture, together with the gradual changes in the English style down to the beginning of the 15th century.

The galilee occupies the same relative position as St Joseph's Chapel at Glastonbury; was used for the reception of female penitents, and for preaching to women; took the name of galilee on account of women being supposed to occupy at Durham the same sort of relation which the ancient Galileans occupied to the purest Jews; was first built in 1154 by Bishop Hugh Pudsey or de Puiset; and has Norman arches under a band of reticulated work in the base tier, Early English windows in the outer aisle, and central windows and battlement of the commencing part of the loth century above the base tier. The nave, with the exception of the roof, was finished early in the 12th century by Bishop Flambard; its roof, with stone groining, was constructed upwards of a century later by Prior Melsonby; its principal compartments are divided by four piers 23 feet in circumference, its other compartments by pillars variously round, yhafted, chevroued, reticulated, and fluted; its two westernmost bays are one-arched, its other bays two-arched; its triforium consists of double round-headed arches resting on columns, and included in a large arch; and its clerestory consists of triple round-headed arches, the central one of larger span than the side ones. A font in the south aisle is adorned with incidents from the life of St Cuthbert, and occupies the place of a sculptured and canopied one, set up in 1621 by Dean Hunt, which was removed to Pittington Church. The transept is of the same age as the nave, and the east aisle of it had chantries to St Nicholas and St Giles, to St Gregory, to St Benedict, to Our Lady of Hough al, now used as the vestry, to St Mary of Bolton, and to St Faith and St Thomas. The north transept has a very grand decorated six-light window; and on the east side is a square arcaded turret, on the west side a much larger turret, square below, octagonal and arcaded above. The south transept has a Perpendicular window, with an arcade of round arches above it, and on the two sides are incomplete arcaded turrets. The choir shows characters from the earliest architectural period of the cathedral to the latest; the sides of it have each four pillars, two clustered and two circular, with spiral channels; the aisles have decorated four-light windows; the south side of the triforium has very small, two-light windows under semicircular truncated arches; the south side of the clerestory consists of single round-headed windows; the north side of the clerestory consists of three-light windows; and the bay forming the presbytery has a triforium of three-pointed arches with tooth-moulding under a pointed arch, and a clerestory of two highly ornate shafted lancets. The stalls were given in the latter part of the 17th century by Bishop Cosin, and are debased English; the throne is identical with a magnificent tomb of Bishop Hatfield, who nourished from 1343 to 1382; the pulpit was built by that bishop, and is of hexagonal form, with figures of apostles; the reredos was constructed at the expense of John Lord Neville, occupied the whole of the year 1380 in erection, consists of Caen stone, shows ten separate piers with intermediate tiers of canopied niches, and is finished off with five elaborately airy pinnacles; and the feretory or shrine of St Cuthbert is described by one who saw it as having been " exalted with the most curious workmanship, of fine and costly green marble, all limned and gilt with gold." The chapel of Nine Altars was built in the first half of the 13th century by Bishop Poore; is reached from the aisles of the choir by a descent of two steps; took its name from nine altars in it to respectively Michael, Aidan and Helen, Peter and Paul, Martin and Edmund, Cuthbert and Bede, Oswald and Lawrence, Thomas of Canterbury and Catherine, John and Margaret, Andrew and Mary Magdalene; has walls arcaded with tre-foiled arches; has also an inner arcade which adds to the depth of the windows, and whose every alternate column consists of black marble, and was restored in 1862. The western towers have each four transitional arcades, alternately of round-headed and pointed arches, but the upper parts of them, or spires, belonged to the 13th century, and were removed in 1657, and the present battlements on them are modern. The central tower was begun by Bishop Poore, and finished in the 14th century. It rose to a battlemented parapet in two storeys, divided by a rich band, the lower one with lofty transomed, canopied, two-light windows, the upper one with smaller canopied two-light windows, the angles with double buttresses, crocketed pediments, and niched statuary; and it was restored in 1859-61, when the old work of it was preserved as much as possible, new buttresses were made to it, twenty-seven of its old statues which had been removed were replaced, and thirteen new ones added.

The cloisters were begun in 1368, and finished about 1400; the windows had intersecting tracery, which was removed atthe end of the last century. The east aisle retains the stone stalls where the daily almsmen sat, and its roof is of Irish oak, and flat but paneled. The chapter-house was built in 1133-40 by Bishop Rufus, has an apsidal form, and was cut in two in 1799 by Wyatt. The deanery was built in 1416-46 by Prior Wessington, but has under its chapel an Early English crypt. The refectory was built by Prior Fossor, but Las a Norman crypt under it, and was converted into a library, in 1680, by Dean Sudbury. The dormitory, under which were the song-school and the treasury, was built in 1398-1400. The chief monuments in the cathedral are, in the galilee, the Venerable Bede; in the nave, Bishop Langley, Ralph Lord Neville, Lady Neville, a son and daughter of Lord and Lady Neville, Bishop Neville, Prior Burnaby, and Dr Britton; in the transept, Bishop Barrington: in the choir, Bishop Hat-field and Bishop Skirlaw; and in the chapel of nine altars, Bishop Van Mildert. The shrine of St Cuthbert in the cathedral was once the richest in the kingdom, and the offerings made there, from 1378 till 1513, are computed to have amounted to £66,000. Nothing now remains to indicate its splendour but a hollowness in the stone-flooring adjacent to it, produced by the foot-pressure of the numerous pilgrims who visited it. The relics of St Cuthbert are said to have been preserved here till the Reformation; but were then buried beneath the floor at the place where they had been kept, and a large blue stone in the centre of the floor now indicates the spot where they were buried. An altar set up in 1635 consisted of black branched marble,. rested on six columns of touchstone, and was adorned with two double-gilt candlesticks. Several rich copes are recorded to have been used in the ancient services-one of embroidered crimson satin, embossed with silver, and figured with cherubim; another of black ground, wrought with gold and figured with simulacra of various hues; one given by Queen Philippa after the battle of Neville's Cross; and one figured with the head of Goliath in the hand of David, given by Charles I. Three copes of the 14th century, parts of the alleged vestments of St Cuthbert, and an ivory comb and stole cross are still preserved. The library contains also a Bible given by Bishop Pudsey, a treatise on the Psalter given by Walter de Calais, the roll of Bede's history, and a number of other interesting manuscripts. The deanery was formerly the prior's lodgings of a Benedictine priory, established by Bishop Cari-leph, and dissolved at the Reformation. A kitchen still there was the kitchen of the priory, is regarded as a masterpiece of masonry, is an octagonal structure, measures 36 feet in diameter, and has a vaulted roof with unique and-curious groining.

Churches.-The livings in the city, or connected with it are St Giles, St Mary-le-Bow, St Mary-the-Less, St Nicholas,. St Oswald, and St Margaret. St Mary-le-Bow, St Mary-the-Less, and St Margaret are rectories, and the others are vicarages, in the diocese of Durham; value of St Giles, c£225 with residence; of St Mary-le-Bow, £300; of St Mary-the-Less, £120 with residence; of St Nicholas, £200; of St Oswald, £240 with residence; of St Margaret, £240 with residence; and of St Cuthbert, £380. Patron of St Giles and St Nicholas, the Marquis of Londonderry; of St Mary-the-Less, the Lord Chancellor; of St Mary-le-Bow, St Oswald.. St Margaret, and St Cuthbert, the Dean and Chapter of Durham. St Giles' Church was built in 1112, but has a tower of 1414, is long, narrow, and lofty, and has six irregular windows on the south side, and two on the north side, and contains a recumbent wooden effigy of about the-end of the 16th century. It was restored and enlarged in 1874-76, and in 1882 a new organ was built. St Mary-le-Bow Church, on the east side of the North Bailey, occupies a spot alleged to have been that on which the remains of St Cuthberfc were lodged when first brought to Durham, was preceded by a Saxon edifice originally constructed of boughs or wicker, was itself built in 1685, is a neat symmetrical structure without aisles, and has recently been restored. St Mary-the-Less Church, in the South Bailey, is a building in the Norman style, contains a sculpture of Christ of about the year 1200, and a coped tomb of a prior. St Nicholas Church, on the south side of the market-place, was originally built by Bishop Flambard, consisted of nave and aisles, with southwestern square tower, contained the seats for the city corporation and various city companies, was rebuilt in an ornamental manner in 1858, and has a tower with pinnacles and a spire 160 feet high. St Oswald's Church, in New

Elvet, dates partly from 1196, and partly from 1411, consists of nave, chancel, and aisles, and a lofty tower, and has stall-work in the chancel, and a curiously-vaulted wooden roof. A reredos was erected in 1864, and in 1883 the nave and aisles were re-seated and other improvements effected. St Margaret's Church, in Crossgate, is an ancient building chiefly in the Norman style, consisting of a chancel, nave, and aisles, and an embattled western tower. It was thoroughly restored in 1880. There are two Roman Catholic churches, and Congregational, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and New Connexion Methodist chapels.

Schools and Charities.-A university was established at Durham by Oliver Cromwell in 1657, but dissolved at the Restoration. Another university was founded in 1833 by Bishop Van Mildert, and received a royal charter in 1837, conferring all the rights and privileges accorded to the other universities. It occupies the castle, with the exception of apartments for the occasional use of the bishop, has a fine Norman chapel there as its church, and includes sets of rooms for the students. In 1846, Bishop Hatfield's Hall was opened as an additional accommodation for students. Besides the general academical education, provision is made for a course of theological study. In 1862 the statutes of the university underwent revision by a Parliamentary Commission. No religious test is required. In 1870 the College of Medicine at Newcastle was made a college of the university, and in 1871 a College of Science, and is now attended by 2000 students. It was endowed on a liberal scale with funds from various sources of the cathedral establishment; possesses several fellowships,40 scholarships,and various exhibitions; is managed by a staff of professors, tutors, lecturers, and other officers under the control of the dean and chapter, and has the power of granting degrees in the several faculties. The Roman Catholic College at Ushaw, near the city, was built in 1806. It stands on a ridge 600 feet above the sea, and commands fine views; is in the collegiate Gothic style, after designs by Pugin, measures over all about 250 feet by 240, comprises a principal front and two projecting wings, with a hall of 52 feet by 23 in the end of one wing, and a handsome chapel of 62 feet by 25 in the end of the other, and contains accommodation for professors and other officials, and for 300 students and 100 boys in the seminary. The Grammar School, formerly in the cathedral yard, but now at the top of South Street, originally founded about 1100, was re-founded by Henry VIII. in 1541, and has attached to it six scholarships and six exhibitions. It was considerably enlarged between 1874 and 1887, and has an endowment of £3000 yearly. The Blue-coat School, in Claypath, is a spacious building of 1812, and has been supported by subscription, sometimes to the amount of upwards of £400 a-year, and has a small endowment. There are diocesan training colleges for schoolmasters and schoolmistresses-the former is called Bede College; a high school for girls established in 1884, and science and art schools. Bishop Langley's school has £37, Bishop Cosin's almshouses have about £150, and Smith's Charity for a work factory and the poor has £464. Other charities amount to a considerable sum yearly. A dispensary was established by subscription in 1785; this gave place, in 1792, to a commodious infirmary, and that was superseded by a noble county hospital, erected in 1853 at a cost of £7500, and subsequently enlarged.

Trade, &c.-The trade of Durham has fluctuated, and seems never to have been proportionate to the advantages of the city's situation. There are carpet factories, iron and brass foundries, and breweries. The manufacture of hats and worsted stuffs has ceased, the manufacture of mustard was formerly notable and is still carried on; but the trade in coal, arising from the city's vicinity to the great northern coalfield, may be regarded as the staple trade. A weekly market is held on Saturday, a cattle fair on alternate Mondays, and other fairs on 29, 30, and 31 March, on Whit-Tuesday, and on the Fridays before 13 May, 15 Sept., and 23 Nov. The city has a head post office, a railway station with telegraph, and five chief inns. The race-course at Elvet, on which races were formerly run at Easter, has now been inclosed and laid out as a recreation ground.

The Borough.-Durham was first chartered by Bishop Percy, with sanction of Pope Alexander III., and it has sent two members to Parliament from the time of Charles II. to 1885, when under the Redistribution of Seats Act the representation was reduced to one member. Population of parliamentary borough, 15,287. It includes the parishes of North Bailey and South Bailey, St Nicholas, Castle Precincts, Durham College, St Giles, and Magdalen Place, and the townships of Crossgate, Elvet, and Framwellgate. The municipal borough is divided into three wards, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors. Population of municipal borough, 14,863. The city is also the seat of assizes for the county and of quarter sessions.

The Diocese.-The bishopric of Durham, as we formerly saw, sprang remotely from that of Lindisfarne, and was founded about the year 995. The bishops long possessed extraordinary dignity, and wielded nearly all the authority in their diocese which the king did in other parts of England. They were Counts-Palatine of Durhamshirc, and Earls of Sadberge. They created barons, appointed judges, convoked Parliaments, levied taxes, and coined money. All tenures of land were held under them as lords-paramount; all estates losing title, and all moors or wastes to which no title could be made, became theirs; the admiral jurisdiction over the neighbouring seas was theirs, the courts of justice were held in their name, and the right of granting pardons, of instituting markets, and of giving charters was part of their prerogative. These extraordinary powers were curtailed in the time of Henry VII., and abrogated in that of William IV. Some of the most notable of the bishops were Flambard and Poore, already noticed in connection with the cathedral; Rufus, who was Lord Chancellor; Pusar, who purchased the earldom of Northumberland; Bck, who fought at the battle of Falkirk; Bury, who founded the University library at Oxford; Hatfield, who fought at the siege of Calais; Fordham, who was Lord Privy Seal; Skirlaw, who was Lord Keeper; Langley, who was Lord Chancellor; Bainbridge and Wolsey, who became cardi

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCounty Durham 
Poor Law unionDurham 

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Durham from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for County Durham is available to browse.


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Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering county Durham online:

CountyCounty Durham
RegionNorth East
Postal districtDH1
Post TownDurham