Skip to main content

Durham, diocese of

Durham, diocese of. The bishopric, conterminous with the old county of Durham, was created in 995, when Aldhelm moved the Northumbrian see there from Chester-le-Street. The consequent translation of St Cuthbert's bones to Durham benefited the new see spiritually and financially; no other northern bishopric could compete, so that even the principal see of Hexham fell into insignificance. Durham initially was not Benedictine, but William of St Carilef (1081–96), himself a scholarly monk and former abbot of St Vincent, introduced monks on the lines of Canterbury. The Norman kings raised Durham to a palatine earldom as a protection against the Scots and Vikings, with the bishop as earl. Ranulf Flambard (1099–1128) was William II's adviser. Flambard's notorious reputation amongst contemporaries for rapaciousness led to the see being taken under Henry I's protection for a time. Nevertheless Flambard built the greater part of the cathedral. The prince-bishops of the Middle Ages were people of influence in both church and state, a fact symbolized by the juxtaposition of the massive features of the cathedral and castle. Bishops retained their civil jurisdiction until abolished by the Established Church Act of 1836. Today the bishops of Durham still hold seniority, with London and Winchester, second only to the archbishops of Canterbury and York. In recent centuries bishops have often been scholars of note, including Joseph Butler (1750–2), the philosopher and theologian, Joseph Lightfoot (1879–89), a leading exponent of New Testament scholarship, and B. F. Westcott (1890–1901). In the 20th cent. H. C. G. Moule (1901–20), Hensley Henson (1920–39), Michael Ramsey (1952–6), Ian Ramsey (1966–73), John Habgood (1973–84), and David Jenkins (1984–94) maintained this remarkable tradition of scholarship. The original Anglo-Saxon cathedral of 995 was replaced by the present magnificent Norman cathedral, ‘the most impressively situated of the English cathedrals’, begun in the Benedictine tradition by Bishop William in 1093 and completed in 1133. High on its rock alongside the castle, it was begun under William I. The cathedral's ribbed cross-vaulting (1104), previously common in Persia and Armenia, was the first seen in the West, probably due to the influence of returning crusaders. The tombs of Cuthbert and Bede are in the galilee chapel. The bishops live at the historic Bishop Auckland castle.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Durham, diocese of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Durham, diocese of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/durham-diocese

"Durham, diocese of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved October 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/durham-diocese

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.