A History of the County of Durham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1928.
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CITY OF DURHAM
THE City of Durham is situated in the southern portion of the coal measures which extend from the Coquet to the Tees. It lies upon and around a central peninsula formed by the River Wear 13 miles above its mouth. (fn. 1) This curious horseshoe bend is one of several loops which the river makes as it passes from the western uplands to Wearmouth. The peninsula is about 800 yds. long and about 250 yds. from bank to bank of the river at its narrowest point. It incloses about 58 acres, and this area forms what Leland says is 'alonely caullid the waulled Toune of Duresme.' The name Durham, however, comprises, and has for centuries comprised, various ancient jurisdictions outside the peninsula. One of these, as we shall see, has some claim, at all events, to be considered the original settlement and to antedate Durham itself, strictly so called, by at least two centuries. From this central peninsula the city now extends in various directions over the undulating neighbourhood and in somewhat straggling order, so that as an early local writer says: 'I may liken the form of this Bishopric to the letter Δ and Durham to a crab; supposing the city for the belly and the suburbs for the claws.' (fn. 2)
The lay-out of Durham, like most mediaeval towns, is so arranged that the roads and bridges bring all the traffic through the market-place in order to collect the tolls from merchandise and give entertainment to travellers. The suburbs grew up at the three chief entrances to the city. In this way Framwellgate and Crossgate arose at the foot of Framwellgate Bridge on the roads from Newcastle and the north and from Lanchester and the north-west; Gilesgate, at the entrance of the roads from the east, one from Sunderland and the other from Hartlepool, the chief mediaeval port of the Palatinate; and Elvet, at the foot of Elvet Bridge, along the road from Darlington and the south. Although the city still maintains its importance as the centre of the Palatinate, it has not developed industrially in the way that other northern towns have done. For this reason it retains many of its ancient features, and the plan of the city and its suburbs, with their tortuous thoroughfares, has remained practically unaltered since the Middle Ages. The older part of the city lies about the market-place, on the west side of which is the modern town hall, and on the north, standing isolated by the entrance to Claypath, is the modern church of St. Nicholas. An equestrian statue of the third Marquess of Londonderry completes the catalogue of somewhat uninteresting features of the market-place. The house on the north-west side of Silver Street (No. 38), now occupied as a shop by Messrs. Caldcleugh, belonged to Sir John Duck, and retains internally much characteristic work of the late 17th century. The staircase has richly carved strings, twisted balusters and square carved newels. Over the fireplace of the front room on the first floor, which is lined with panelling, is a curious oil painting emblematical of Duck's career, containing views of the hospital founded by him at Lumley and of his house at Harwell-on-the-Hill. The house numbered 12 on the same side of the street is an early 17th-century gabled building of brick three stories in height. The 'Dunelme Café,' on the opposite side, is a half-timber house of three oversailing stories of about the same date.
Of the old work remaining in Gilesgate, the houses numbered 2 and 5 are early 17th-century buildings, considerably modernised; and numbers 21 and 23, which are of two stories with gabled dormers, though much altered, appear to be of the same period. The 'Woodman Inn,' on the same side, a plastered two-storied building with a moulded stone entrance, bears a panel inscribed 'G M 1715.' Number 194 on the opposite side is a plastered 18th-century house of two stories with a flat canopy over the entrance supported by wrought iron brackets.
Saddler Street has been levelled and filled up for a depth of many feet, and deep below its present surface are the remains of the old rising bridge to the Gateway, one or two arches of which may be seen in the lower basements of premises on the east side. Spanning the street at its southern end stood the North Gate. Of the Norman gateway here we have only the reference by Laurence that it was 'stately and threatening,' with a tower and barbican. It was strengthened by Bishop Skirlaw (1388–1406), and greatly reconstructed and enlarged by Bishop Langley (1406–37), who formed a portion of it into a prison for 'criminals' and 'captives.' There were three gates, the outer, the main and the inner gate. The outer defensive portion as shown by existing prints consisted of a short barbican with walls of great thickness and defensive passages, with outer turret towers square at the base and octagonal above the gate. Apparently the drawbridge was within the barbican. The main gate had two large turrets, square at base and octagonal above, and is described as possessing 'salliports and upper galleries for the annoyance of assailants.' Its portcullis (which was supposed to have been raised for a century) unexpectedly fell down in 1773 and stopped the communication between the Bailey and Saddler Street, until 'the workmen with saws and axes cut it to pieces.' On the south side, the south-east and south-west angles of the gate were covered with smaller octagonal turrets, doubtless staircases for the use of the residential or prison quarters, rising considerably higher than the general level of the tower and possibly providing access to the roof. Towards the end of the 15th century a small square central projecting wing was built out between the main turrets over a large portion of the barbican, the parapets of which bore three shields; two of these are supposed to have been preserved, and were fixed some fifteen years ago on the west wall of the Bishop's garden. The chamber described by James Nield in 1805 (fn. 3) as intended for an oubliette exists, much filled up, under the building formerly called the library on the west side of the street. Where the 'great hole,' also mentioned by him, was situated cannot be identified, but part of the basement under the Advertiser office on the east side of the street doubtless formed some of the 'holes' he described. This Gateway, one of the most picturesque buildings in the North, was destroyed in 1820, shortly after the new prison was built at the top of Old Elvet, because it was supposed to be an obstruction to traffic. (fn. 4)
From the almoners' rentals of 1424 and 1432 we obtain some particulars of the castle area at these dates. The Earl of Westmorland had his town house in Owengate or Ovengate, and a house in North Bailey called 'Sheriffhouse' belonged to the Archdeacon of Durham. Bow Lane was known as 'Le Chare,' and its houses on the east side are said to have been bounded by the castle wall. Nearly opposite but north of the present gateway to the college was the infirmary, then let out in tenements, one of which was occupied as a school. Opposite the infirmary were some houses called 'Halfseters.' (fn. 5)
Among the buildings on the east side of the North Bailey which now form Hatfield Hall is part of an old inn. The dining room, which is in this portion, is a large mid-18th century apartment with a coved and flat ceiling and a 'Venetian' window with internal finishings of the Doric order. The house known as the Rectory is decorated internally in the late 18th-century Gothic manner with good effect. To the south of Hatfield Hall, at the corner of Bow Lane, stands the church of St. Mary-le-Bow. Number 24 in the North Bailey, to the south of Bow Lane, like many other houses in the North and South Baileys, appears to be an early 17th-century house remodelled in the last half of the 18th century. The entrance hall is a charming example of the period. The principal stairs are of the geometrical type and the first floor landing is open to the hall, across which it is carried, like a gallery, upon Doric columns and pilasters, the front having a handrail supported by turned balusters. St. John's Hall, also in the North Bailey, occupies a good stone 18th-century house of three stories with a basement. The central portion is slightly broken forward, and the entrance doorway has a pediment supported by carved consoles. To the south of the 15th-century gateway to the 'College,' on the west side of the South Bailey, stands the church of St. Mary-the-Less. Beyond this point the road turns to the westward and descends sharply to Prebend's Bridge, passing beneath a semicircular archway, which incorporates some mediaeval fragments and stands near the site of the former 'Water Gate.' Viewed from the river, the houses in the Bailey, with their gardens terraced upon the steeply sloping bank, present an extremely picturesque appearance. The foot of the peninsula is skirted from Elvet Bridge to Framwellgate Bridge by the path known as 'the Banks.' On the west side, where the slope is steeper, and in parts almost precipitous, the path divides, one branch climbing the wooded face of the rock and passing directly under the west front of the Galilee.
After crossing Framwellgate Bridge from Silver Street the road divides into three branches: Crossgate, which runs nearly due east, and out of which lead South Street and Allergate; the old Newcastle road running northwards through Milburngate and Framwellgate; and the new North Road, which leads in a north-westerly direction, and after passing under the London and North Eastern Railway south of the station joins the Newcastle road again outside the town. Framwellgate and Milburngate, with Crossgate, South Street and Allergate, constitute the old western suburb of Durham, and it is along these thoroughfares that the bulk of the older buildings are found. The North Road, with the streets which fill up the triangle between Framwellgate and Crossgate, is entirely modern, and represents the chief development of Durham in the 19th century.
Many excellent examples of 18th-century work survive in the houses in Framwellgate. The Convent of the Sisters of Mercy attached to the Roman Catholic Church of St. Godric occupies what was formerly the Wheatsheaf Inn. On a lead rain-water head is the date 1741. The old dining room of the inn is an exceptionally fine example of the interior decoration of the period. The walls are lined with carved panelling surmounted by an entablature with shell and scroll ornament upon the frieze, and the room is lighted from one end by a large 'Venetian' window with Ionic pilasters supporting entablatures from which the archivolt of the central light springs; while on the side opposite the fireplace are two rectangular windows with enriched architraves. The chimney-piece is of carved wood with swags and consoles, and the overmantel has a scroll pediment and cartouche supported by pilasters shaped like terminals. The doorcases are also elaborately ornamented, and the plaster ceiling is designed in the rococo manner of the period. In the house now occupied by the Church of England Mission is a room of about the same date, with plaster panelling and a large 'Venetian' window. The moulded stone entrance doorway shows the house to be of the late 17th century; the staircase, a good example of the period, has twisted balusters and square newels. In Milburngate, the southern extremity of Framwellgate, are some two-storied half-timber cottages, now plastered, of early 16th-century type.
On the south side of Crossgate, just to the westward of its junction with South Street, stands the church of St. Margaret. At the corner of South Street and Crossgate is an early 16th-century two-storied house of half-timber; the building has been considerably repaired and the ground story has been faced with brick. On the opposite side of South Street is a three-storied half-timber house with oversailing upper floors. It appears to be of early 17th-century date; the ground story is now plastered, and the upper stories have been cased with brick, but the original entrance doorway has been left intact. Little else of architectural interest remains in South Street, which runs southwards parallel with the river along the crest of the steep bank. The 'Fighting Cocks Inn' in Crossgate contains a good square well staircase of the latter half of the 17th century, with heavy moulded handrails, turned balusters, and square newels.
The eastern suburb of Elvet consists of the streets known as Old Elvet and New Elvet, into which the road divides after crossing Elvet Bridge. New Elvet runs southward nearly parallel with the river for a short distance, and again forks into Church Street, through which the main road to the south passes, and Hallgarth Street, the commencement of the road to Stockton. On this side the town appears hardly to have extended at all since the middle of the 18th century. Work of this century prevails in the houses of the suburb, though some retain detail of an earlier period. No features of particular interest remain in Church Street, on the west side of which, between the road and river, is St. Oswald's Church. On the north side of Old Elvet are some good 18th-century houses, while the principal feature on the south side is the Shire Hall erected in 1897. At the end of Old Elvet are the modern Assize Courts and prison, standing back from the road.
It will be convenient to take the varying boundaries of the city as they come before us in connection with the history of the separate jurisdictions, and to begin with the report of the Commissioners on proposed division of counties and boundaries of boroughs in 1832. The map which they made shows that at that time the city of Durham consisted of a misshapen square which inclosed a great deal more than the peninsula. The boundaries were as follows: Starting from the old Hallgarth Toll Bar, now demolished, but formerly standing on the ex treme south-east point of the city, the line ran west by Back Lane, now called Gladstone Terrace, and thence across the south end of the river-bend over South Street to the present work-house in a northerly direction. It crossed the North Road opened in 1831 to the top of Framwellgate. Here it curved to the east, crossing the river below the city near Crook Hall. Thence, skirting the ruins of Magdalen Chapel, it passed to the junction of the Sherburn and Sunderland Roads. At this point it turned sharply to the west to take in St. Giles' Church, whence it struck south, crossed the river, and passing over the middle of the old race-course, reached Hallgarth Toll Bar. The Commissioners proposed large additions to this area. The south-east limit was now extended to Shincliffe Bridge, from which the boundary passed to Hallgarth Toll Bar. Thence it ran rather to the south of the old line to Charley Cross, and via Quarry Head Lane, round by Margery Lane and Flass Lane to the gates of the present Hospital, and up the Newcastle Road to Springwell Hall. Here it turned sharply to the east in a straight line to Kepier Hospital, and thence round by Kepier Lane to what is now Bell's Villa Lane, where it turned west, rounded the end of Pelaw Wood, and followed the right bank of the river to Shincliffe Bridge.
In 1849 Mr. G. T. Clark, a superintending inspector under the Public Health Act of the previous year, instituted a preliminary inquiry on the sanitary conditions of the city. His report to the General Board of Health will be noticed in another connexion. In this he proposed a further addition to the boundaries of the city on its extreme north-east limit, so as to take in an uneven parallelogram containing what was then known as New Durham. The proposal was not accepted at that time, nor was it allowed in 1905, when the city boundaries were again altered. Accordingly the limits were not changed between 1832 and 1905.
The Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, (fn. 6) which gave effect to the Commissioners' Report of 1832, divided the city into three wards on the recommendation of the revising barristers. These wards were called respectively the North, South, and St. Nicholas wards, and were unchanged for the next seventy years. In 1905, in pursuance of certain sections in the Local Government Act of 1888, (fn. 7) an extension order was drawn up under which the existing boundaries and wards were settled. A new ward was added on the west of the city to comprise the suburb which had grown up in recent years in the direction of Neville's Cross. By some redistribution and enlargement the three wards were increased to six, and are now known as Neville's Cross ward on the west, Framwellgate ward on the north and Crossgate ward below it, St. Nicholas ward in the centre of the city, Gilesgate and Elvet to the north-east and south-east respectively. The intake added consider-ably to the area and population of the city—viz., 181 acres and 2,220 persons. The additions over and above that of the Neville's Cross ward consisted of an enlargement of the limits of the old South ward so as to take in an area bounded by Honeyhall wood, Mountjoy reservoir, Oswald House, South End, and Bow cemetery; and, further, an increase of the old North ward by a circular boundary running from Frankland Lane through Hopper's Wood to Akeley Heads Farm, thence skirting and including the Dryburn estate to Western Lodge and Springwell Hall. The Parliamentary boundary was not affected by the changes of 1905, and is therefore not strictly conterminous with the municipal boundary.
Although the county was the birth-place of passenger traffic by rail, it was some time before the city participated in the new means of communication; nor was there any desire for it, though many of the inhabitants took part in the festival opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. Durham itself was first brought within useful distance of the railway in 1838, when the Durham Junction Railway from South Shields to Leamside was opened. Thus a drive of 6 miles only lay between the city and the railway. In 1844 direct communication was opened with Leamside from a station in Gilesgate. Later a new station at the north end of the city was completed and Durham was connected with the Weardale and Durham Railway. In 1841 the Great North of England Railway was opened as far as Darlington, and was continued to Newcastle in 1844, passing through Leamside and giving Durham easy access to Newcastle and York. All these lines which directly affected Durham were consolidated into the North Eastern Railway in 1854. In 1857 the Bishop Auckland line was finished and was brought to the North Road station over a viaduct which was called the Victoria Viaduct. Since 1872 the usual express route from Newcastle to York has lain through the city by the completion of the Team Valley Railway.
The railways put an end by degrees to the large service of stage coaches which had run through Durham. In 1827 there were sixteen coaches daily leaving or reaching the various coaching inns. (fn. 8) Of these eight were in communication with London, four with Edinburgh, and the rest with Sunderland, Newcastle, Leeds or Lancaster. There were numerous carriers to all local towns and villages. The main roads were the Great North Road, connecting north and south and running through the city; a road to Brandon and Brancepeth on the west; another to Sunderland on the north-east, branching off to Sherburn and Hartlepool; and a fourth diverging at Springwell Hall from the Great North Road and running to Lanchester.
The River Wear was never navigable in the neighbourhood of Durham owing to its frequent shallows. In the reign of George II (fn. 9) a scheme was proposed for making the stream available for barges at a time when coal-mines were being developed. This scheme was revised in 1796 (fn. 10) in a very ambitious way with the design of connecting the Wear and the Tyne.
The modern municipal administration of the city begins with a paving Act of 1773. Until this time the various jurisdictions which will be described later had their own surveyor in each case. Certain Commissioners were appointed by the Act, and they nominated a single surveyor for the whole city, placing under him all pavements, sewers, drains, water-courses, footpaths, carriage-ways, and lamps. This Act was superseded by an important Act of 1790. It recited the fact that the ways 'are not properly paved, cleansed, or lighted, and are rendered very inconvenient by several nuisances, annoyances, encroachments and obstructions.' Accordingly a very large commission was appointed of 257 persons, representing, apparently, the whole magistracy of the city and county with others. There is no extant record of what the commission did with their ample powers of levying rates, regulating tolls, extending roads and abating nuisances. In 1816 the streets were still unpaved, or very badly paved, for they are described as being 'as soft as an Irish bog and not paved with stones point upwards as some other towns.' No improvement took place, and in 1822 the Act of 1790 was amended (fn. 11) after a strong indictment of the city roads at Quarter Sessions. All of them, it is said, were 'at this time in an indictable state,' the flagging being perfectly useless in wet weather owing to the drip from the eaves of the houses, and the streets themselves full of filth wheeled out from the houses. According to the preamble of this new Act the rates raised under its predecessor were not sufficient. The making and maintenance of pavement or flagging in front of each house was now thrown upon the owner, and fixed days for sweeping the causeways were appointed to the householder. The North and South Baileys were placed under the Commissioners for paving purposes for the first time. (fn. 12) In 1823 Hallgarth Street was macadamized, (fn. 13) and the same system was introduced next year in Old Elvet; but the dust which it produced caused some annoyance, so that the plan was not universally adopted in the city. Its comparative failure, perhaps, led to the cobbling of Claypath and Gilesgate in 1830. By 1840 the cobbling of the streets generally was complete, so that a feature which has been thought to be characteristic of old Durham is comparatively modern. Cobbles, however, have been widely replaced by granite paving, and the cobbles have largely disappeared in favour of tar paving and other systems. In no place, however, has there been used wood, cork or asphalt.
The Act of 1790 was imperfectly carried out as regards lighting, and indeed its mention of lamps existing and to be made is incidental and ambiguous. The result was an increase of disorder at a period of great political unrest. Accordingly, in 1814, the Secretary of State intervened, and oil lamps were placed in the Baileys, Market-place, South Street and the Elvets. Lamp-smashing now began to be a city sport for the rougher element in the populace, so that parish constables were appointed to help the city constables. At last, in 1823, lighting by gas was considered, and the offices were enlisted of Mr. West, who had recently contracted for the gas supply of Stockton. At the beginning of 1824 the whole city was lighted by gas. 'We behold,' says the Durham Advertiser, 'a city long notorious for its nocturnal darkness become at once perhaps one of the best lighted towns in the kingdom.' All the plant and installation were the property of Mr. West, from whom they were purchased in 1841 by the first Durham Gas Company. An opposition company was soon merged in the former, which continued its work until 1873, when the present company was formed. The area of supply is about 33 miles. Incandescent street lamps were introduced in 1902, owing to the competition produced by the appearance of electric lighting, which was made accessible in Durham in 1901. A transformer station to the north of the city receives supply from the County of Durham Electric Power Distribution Company, whose generating station is at Carville-on-Tyne.
The peninsula had, and still has to some extent, its own natural water supply at a depth of 30 ft. to 40 ft. The castle and cathedral had their own wells, and most of the Bailey houses had theirs. They gave trouble, however, and about 1540 Bishop Tunstall brought a supply to cathedral and castle from beyond the river. The portions outside the peninsula were supplied by their own wells, e.g. Framwell, Southwell, St. Cuthbert's Well, St. Oswald's Well, Hakow Well. In 1450 water was brought to the market place from Crook Hall, and a pant or fountain was erected. Such was the general provision until 1844, when a water company was formed and the trade of water carrying became by degrees a thing of the past. This Durham water company built works outside the south-east corner of the city and pumped filtered river water into a supply reservoir on Mountjoy until 1880. In this year the company was taken over by the Weardale and Shildon water company, which afterwards became the Weardale and Consett company. Thus an excellent supply of beautifully soft, pure water was brought from Waskerley, near Consett, to Durham.
Traces of old sewers of uncertain date are often found, but there is nothing by which to reconstruct the ancient scheme of drainage. Save for the elaborate latrine-pits on the western wall of the monastery and others in the castle, there was probably in ancient times no regular drainage. The haphazard substitutes continued until recent times, and their condition was the object of an elaborate report drawn up by Mr. G. T. Clark in 1849 under the Public Health Act of the previous year. His description of the sanitary condition of the city is sufficiently shocking. Apparently very little had been done under the powers of the Acts of 1790 and 1822, and it was reported by the engineers of the new water company that only eight streets had good sewers, whilst twenty-three had none! In 1852, as the outcome of these reports, a scheme for resewering the whole city was drawn up, but was carried out imperfectly in the interests of a false economy. Sewers under this scheme, so far as it was put into operation, entered the river at seventeen different points. Considerable discussion arose about the city sewerage at various times, and at last in 1899 it took shape in the elaborate system introduced by Mr. H. W. Taylor. Gravitating sewers now followed the course of the river on both sides, and brought the sewage to a point below the city, whence it is pumped by centrifugal pumps into chemical precipitation tanks whence it is conveyed over some 12 acres of land and eventually reaches the river in a thoroughly purified state. The ultimate cost of this elaborate scheme is £43,000, and it will serve a population of 30,000 so far as the sewage conveyance goes, and 18,000 so far as sewage disposal is concerned. (fn. 14)
In 1790 provision was made for a watch of not more than twenty-four: four were actually chosen. In 1821, owing to the ruffianism alluded to above, a regular police force on a small scale was trained, which was supplemented by parochial constables. The watch were not merely guardians of the peace but inspectors of nuisances, of weights and measures, and until 1822 of the assize of bread. In 1823 some control of fire engines was placed in their hands. The Act of 1835 inaugurated the permanent police force.
In regard to trade and industry Durham was far more self-contained before the days of railways, producing on the spot most articles required in the city. Communication with London and great industrial centres has had the effect of starving out or of greatly reducing many trades which once were supported. The chief trade at present is with the pitmen and neighbouring villagers who constantly come in to shop. Trades that have disappeared are those connected with mustard manufacture, brickyards, tanning, grease-making, whilst those of the currier, gunsmith, lead-sheet worker, pewterer, glover, spurrier and cutler are extinct or have been merged in allied departments. There are still at work tinplate workers, carriage builders, cartwrights, iron-founders, engineers of various kinds, plumbers, whitesmiths, brassworkers, ropemakers, bookbinders, printers, coopers, millers, builders and contractors. All these in addition, of course, to purveyors of provisions of all kinds, drapers and clothiers. The manufacture of mustard and of carpets has long been associated with Durham, but mustard-making is now transferred to Yarm, and the carpet factory has been restarted in its old home (fn. 15) in recent years with every prospect of rapid development.
We pass to the origin and development of the city. Maiden Castle, to the south-east of Durham, indicates a prehistoric settlement in Elvet (fn. 16) and probably the occupation at that time of the large plateau formed by the great river loop between it and St. Oswald's Church. (fn. 17)
After the English occupation, the dawn of history touches the districts to the north and south before it reaches Durham. Lindisfarne, Bamburgh, Whitby, York are all illuminated, whilst the hills of Durham are still in darkness. It is usual with historians to contrast the comparatively late origin of Durham with that of York or Ripon, and to proceed at once with the familiar events of the arrival of St. Cuthbert's body in 995. Some reasons are now to be given for going back at least 200 years beyond that date to what is probably the first mention in history of the locality, if not of the peninsula itself. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 762 records the consecration of Peohtwine as Bishop of Whithern in Galloway, at a place called Aelfet ee. The circumstances which led to the choice of this particular spot are not given, and do not really concern us. At all events the context makes it clear that the locality must be sought in Bernicia, and there appears to be no other name there which would develop from Aelfet but Elvet. Whatever Aelfet may mean, (fn. 18) the phrase Aelfet ee must signify Aelfet island, and the expression would suit the river girt character of the plateau. But other considerations help out the identification. The peninsula itself can never have been very well adapted for corn and other crops, but the open district within the river loop at Elvet can scarcely have failed to be productive. When Christianity was re-established in Northumbria in the 7th century, as Bede tells us, under King Oswald, a rapid and widespread development of the Church took place throughout his realm.
Christianity would surely visit this fertile spot at an early date, where probably an Anglian village arose. Now the church in Elvet is dedicated to St. Oswald, and such dedication would be a very natural one to give to any church in a district where St. Oswald was a native prince, and where his efforts made permanent the conversion of Northumbria to the Christian faith. (fn. 19) At any rate St. Oswald's Church was the mother church of a very extensive district, and even St. Margaret's, which was built in the early part of the 12th century, remained a chapelry in the large parish of St. Oswald until the 15th century. With the antiquity of the site and dedication of the church works in an interesting discovery of Saxon remains made in the year 1895 in the churchyard wall of St. Oswald's. The portions of pre-Conquest crosses then recovered are now in the Cathedral Library, and certainly suggest a local Christianity of that period. They have already been described in this history. (fn. 20)
Once more we have proof that in 995 a settlement actually existed on the left bank of the river, and this, we may take it, was in Elvet and near St. Oswald's if the general theory here advanced is sound. The proof mentioned is given by Simeon of Durham, (fn. 21) the 12th-century Durham monk and historian, who not only knew the locality well, but had access to Northumbrian traditions and chronicles which no longer exist. He says that when the body of St. Cuthbert came in 995 to the peninsula, the place was practically uninhabitable, and with the exception of a level surface of no large size, it was totally covered with very thick wood. This level part 'people were in the habit of cultivating by ploughing and sowing.' It is at the least tempting to suppose that these farmers, who can scarcely have lived on a site so densely covered with trees, lived beyond the river, and came to and fro for their agricultural operations. It should also be pointed out that the road passing along through Crossgate has been known from time immemorial as South Street, at all events in one portion of it. 'Street,' however, is an unusual word in Durham. Silver Street within the peninsula, and South Street on the other side, are, strictly speaking, the only Durham streets. Why 'south' when it runs on the west of the city? And why 'street,' which is so rare a word? Is it not likely that the road so-called forms a part of a really ancient way which ran past the peninsula and skirted Elvet to the south?
The general conclusion that the district called Elvet was settled and christianized before 762 is fairly warranted. The existence of a village here with its unwritten history is in no way disproved by Simeon's story of the advent of St. Cuthbert's body and the foundation of the historical Durham. Indeed in one particular, as we have seen, the record presupposes an existing settlement. We will now take some points in the story which has already been told in an earlier volume. (fn. 22) The congregation of St. Cuthbert were travelling from Ripon to Chester-le-Street. Their route to Piercebridge would follow the course of the great Roman road. If they did not continue it to Lanchester and strike thence to Chester-le-Street they may have followed, whatever its exact course, the road which ultimately led from the south through Elvet and out to the intended destination of the congregation.
Chester-le-Street, despite its sanctuary associations extending over a period of 113 years, was not really safe, and the minds of the congregation must have been highly strung and excited. At some point in the journey the impregnable character of the peninsula was doubtless pointed out, and there it was determined to defend the saint's body and to make the place an abiding home without fear of Danish molestation. The legend of the car immovable, of the vision from heaven, of the wait for three days, will then resolve itself into an allegory concerning the debate, the doubts, the decision which led to the transfer of St. Cuthbert to Durham. We may perhaps reread the account of the momentous decision as follows. The two principal actors are certainly Aldhun, the Bishop of Chester-le-Street, head of the congregation of St. Cuthbert, and Uchtred, who rather later became Earl of Northumbria. The latter was now or afterwards the bishop's son-in-law, and appears to have acted as vicegerent to his aged father, Earl Waltheof. When the congregation set out to Ripon in the spring of 995 various manors, parcel of the patrimony of St. Cuthbert, were, during the present necessity, committed to the care of Uchtred and his father. (fn. 23) Elvet may have been one of these, but it is not included in the imperfect list of Simeon. (fn. 24) It is, at all events, no unlikely conjecture that on the return journey a few months later some agreement was reached between the bishop and Uchtred. The precious body of St. Cuthbert was far too valuable an asset to run the risk of its being sent on further wanderings at the appearance of the next band of Swegn's followers. Close to Elvet, and well known to all who passed to and fro along South Street, was the rocky fortress of Dun holm, as it was probably called at this time. (fn. 25) No more inviolable sanctuary could have been chosen than this fastness. A political reason has been suggested as an additional motive in the choice at this time. It has been pointed out that the selection was due not merely to reverence and interest in the possession of St. Cuthbert's body, but to the need of a new capital more to the south of the Northumbrian dominions at a moment when those dominions had been cut short by the comparatively recent cession of Cumbria to the Scots. (fn. 26)
The site of the new city had now been chosen, and no time was lost in erecting the buildings necessary for the congregation of St. Cuthbert. First and foremost a small wattled church was built where the saint's body was placed, a spot which tradition has identified with St. Mary-le-Bow in the North Bailey, but at all events the reputed scene of a cure which carried far and wide the fame of the new sanctuary, and gave Durham a notoriety which only grew as years passed on. But, whatever the exact site of this small shrine, it was only in use for a few days, and then the body was transferred to another church, known as the Alba Ecclesia, in which it rested for three years. This period was employed in extensive building operations under the direction of Aldhun with the help of Uchtred, to whom was due a levy of the whole population. Under apparently forced service (fn. 27) they cut down all the wood on the peninsula, and built houses for the various members of the congregation, to whom they were assigned by lot. This done, the larger church was begun and was pressed on with all the zealous care of the bishop and his helpers. It was completed before the year 998 ran out, and on 4 September was dedicated with every manifestation of joy in the presence of a large concourse of the widespread levy which had helped in the building. It was soon after this that the cure mentioned above took place, and was regarded as a special sign of divine approbation bestowed upon the saint's new resting-place. The cure had the effect of constituting Durham a place of pilgrimage as widely sought as Chester-le-Street had been. The sanctuary privileges which had grown up at Lindisfarne and at Chester-le-Street were undoubtedly confirmed to Durham, though no express mention of them is made by Simeon, since we shall find them confirmed, not granted, by 11th-century kings. In this way the earliest buildings were erected and the influence of Durham began.
There is no mention of walls and fortifications so far; Simeon speaks of the place as 'naturally fortified.' With the recrudescence of Danish fury after the massacre of St. Brice at the end of 1002, it doubtless became necessary to strengthen these natural defences. The danger indeed to the infant city was twofold, since Scots as well as Danes menaced the district. In 1006, apparently, Durham was invested by the Scots, but by this time the position was fenced with ramparts throughout its whole circuit, and was relieved by the strategic skill of Uchtred, the bishop's son-in-law. The Scots, however, driven out of Northumbria at this time, were victorious in the important fight at Carham in 1018, when 'the people of St. Cuthbert' were annihilated. The disaster broke the heart of Bishop Aldhun, who despaired of any recovery of the former prosperity of his see. At his death in 1019 the western tower alone of his church was unfinished. But Aldhun's sad prophecy of the permanent desolation of the place was not fulfilled. The conversion of Canute to the Christian faith disposed him to patronize the English sacred places, and amongst them Durham was the recipient of his favours. He not only made his famous pilgrimage in person, but bestowed fresh gifts of land and, as we may presume, confirmed the sanctuary privileges of Durham. (fn. 28) After his death the Scots again besieged Durham under King Duncan, but without success. This second successful withstanding of the Scots must have enhanced the fame of the city, and there is evidence that the church became rapidly more wealthy and prosperous, deriving its treasures not only from the offerings of the pilgrims, but also, it is probable, from the deposits of those who stored here the money which it was not safe to keep at home. (fn. 29)
Various stories recorded by Simeon show the attractiveness of Durham and its shrine during the reign of Edward the Confessor. One of these by its mention of hospitium (fn. 30) suggests that lodging houses were already in existence before the Norman Conquest, in which guests coming to the shrine of St. Cuthbert might find entertainment. We thus get an allusion to one of the most characteristic features of mediaeval life in Durham. There is, however, no evidence at all as to the pre-Conquest buildings and streets save as regards the church itself. When the Conquest came, Durham was the northern rallying point of those Northum-brians who hoped to set up Edgar Atheling against the Conqueror. The submission of Ethelwin the bishop to William at York was probably feigned. When in 1068 the northern rebellion broke out, William advanced towards the north. At his approach all this brave confederation collapsed and a discontented remnant fled to Durham, where they hastily erected a strong tower to aid them in their defence of the place. The incident of the tower is mentioned in one Norman chronicler only, (fn. 31) but the reference can scarcely have been an invention. If we accept its historical character we have here, in all probability, the foundation of Durham Castle, but the work can scarcely have been carried far, since in the very next year events happened which broke it all off. The episode of Earl Cumin and his retinue, against whom the men of Durham rose in their might until all the streets ran with blood, was ruthlessly punished by the Conqueror at the end of 1069. (fn. 32) Incidentally the story of Cumin shows that Durham was now a city of some size, with its houses and streets, in which the bishop's residence stood near the church and close to its western tower. This tower, completed after Aldhun's death in 1019, was in grave danger of burning when the populace in their rage set on fire the house in which the earl had passed the night.
The Normans found Durham practically empty, for the bishop and his retinue had fled with the saint's body to Lindisfarne. The church without defenders and ministers was used as a hospital for the sick and dying who crawled thither, perhaps in the hope of sanctuary, whilst the Norman army spread ruin and famine in every direction. Spring brought new hope as the avenging force retired, and Durham, which does not appear to have been itself ravaged by the Normans, was re-entered by the bishop and his people, who found their church polluted by its recent usage and its treasures pillaged. The strong walls of Durham saved it when Malcolm's forces invaded Northumbria in 1070, burning churches and carrying slaughter in every direction. Events now followed which made the city something more than sanctuary and fortress by constituting it the centre of government. Something of the kind was probably intended when William outlawed Ethelwin the bishop and made the Lotharingian Walcher from Liège bishop in his stead. Walcher was already familiar with a franchise, (fn. 33) which in some sort corresponded to the franchise of St. Cuthbert, which had grown up even before the Conquest. But, however this may be, the coming of Walcher led to an important development in the city of Durham, for it was through his friendship with Waltheof, the new Earl of Northumbria, that the castle came to be built. As an Earl of Northumbria had been the guiding force in building the city, so another earl was the builder of the castle. It seems quite clear that the earldom had still extensive powers in the neighbourhood and a particular control of the city, though it is not possible to define these powers. (fn. 34) The building of the castle was probably carried out (fn. 35) by a levy summoned by the earl, but, as we have seen, there is reason to believe that some part of the fortress already existed. It was now begun in 1072, and in the same year the Conqueror visited Durham, probably for the first time, and confirmed the sanctuary and other privileges which Canute had endorsed years before. When in 1075 Waltheof died, Walcher succeeded him as earl, and thus brought to Durham that political sovereignty which had hitherto been established at Bamburgh. Then Durham, for the time, was not only sanctuary and fortress, which it had been for eighty years, but the seat of government in Northumbria as well, a position which became permanently attached to it in the 12th century. About the same time Walcher began to convert the ecclesiastical establishment into a Benedictine monastery, and it is possible that the buildings between the present chapter-house and deanery contain some remains of his work. His rule was unfortunately cut short by an ebullition of the Northumbrian animosity against the Norman régime. The murder of the bishop might have been avoided, as Simeon seems to suggest, if he had been willing to remain within his castle. How strong eight years had made that fortress was proved when the murderers rushed from Gateshead, where they killed him, to Durham, and there made a determined assault upon the castle. (fn. 36) Their efforts, maintained for four days, were quite unsuccessful. But the castle had to open its gates a little later to Odo of Bayeux, who placed a military garrison there, and apparently conducted his terrible expedition of vengeance for the death of Walcher from Durham as his base of operations. (fn. 37) Little remains to-day of the castle as Waltheof built it, with the exception of the interesting Norman chapel, which is unhesitatingly ascribed by Rivoira to the time of the reputed foundation of the building, 1072. The chapel is the oldest building in Durham.
We now approach a century which made the city what it was both architecturally and politically until the Reformation, and although that political prestige has long since disappeared the architectural interest of the 12th century largely remains to-day. St. Calais, the Norman bishop who followed Walcher, was rash enough in the days of Rufus to meddle with another anti-Norman plot hatched in Durham, which had so consistently fostered the English spirit of resistance. For complicity in this affair St. Calais was banished for three years to Normandy. The castle had only surrendered its bishop after a siege and during the prelate's exile was seized and held by the king in his most approved fashion. When the bishop came back he made that pact with the Earl of Northumberland which is reasonably supposed to confer upon the mediaeval Bishop of Durham the outstanding rights hitherto retained in the hands of the earl, who held certain ill-defined powers over the patrimony of St. Cuthbert. (fn. 38) By this transfer of rights we see, no doubt, how the way was paved for the erection of the great Norman cathedral whose design St. Calais had very likely formed during his absence on the Continent. What Walcher had planned St. Calais carried out, for he finished the transformation of the ecclesiastical establishment into a Benedictine monastery (1087). St. Calais began his great church in 1093, carrying it eastward, and completing the walls of the quire, and westward to the first bay of the nave. An important change which affected the city as well as the Cuthbertine lands outside was the division of property between bishop and monastery instituted by St. Calais, and completed by his successor. (fn. 39) It was probably by this arrangement that the divided ownership of Durham and its suburbs was defined. The land was now divided between bishop and monastery. Up to this time the bishop, as head of the congregation of St. Cuthbert, had full rights over the church and its immediate surroundings, (fn. 40) whereas the earl had at all events some ownership outside those precincts. It was the earl, for instance, who built the castle. (fn. 41) When St. Calais put the monastery in place of the congregation by authority of the bulls of Hildebrand, he became supreme landlord of all the Cuthbertine territory, and by his agreement with the earl he was constituted owner of all the earl's rights, and Rufus endorsed the arrangement. (fn. 42) St. Calais was thus in a position to divide as he pleased. In this way he made over the ancient settlement of Elvet and Crossgate, with its church, to the monastery. (fn. 43) This, by the way, is a further confirmation of the view taken above that Elvet was the original settlement with a church of undoubted antiquity. The bishop kept in his own hand the castle and precincts and, for the present, a much more immediate authority and control over the monastery buildings than was the case at a later date. (fn. 44) We have as yet no proof of the existence of Framwellgate and of what is now the parish of St. Nicholas, but it is probable that there were such suburbs at this date.
To Bishop Flambard (1099–1128) the city of Durham owes more than to any other single prelate, but it is unfortunate that the dearth of documents at this critical period prevents us from tracing the details of his work. He was the keen champion of the palatinate power against all outside aggression, (fn. 45) but he built it up by exaction and invasion of the Cuthbertine liberties, though before his death he bitterly repented his conduct. (fn. 46) To him is due the continuation of the majestic nave of the cathedral. St. Calais had built the church and the monks the monastic buildings, but after the bishop's death in 1096 the monks went on with the church and abandoned the completion of the monastery. Flambard reverted to the former arrangement, and in addition enlarged the narrow chapter-house. He built the city wall, rendering the place stronger and more imposing. In addition to this he ran a wall from the cathedral apse to the castle keep, and cleared Palace Green or Place Green (as it was later called) of the many dwellings which then stood upon it. His design in this clearance was to get rid of any danger to the church either from pollution or from fire. This mention of habitacula multa proves that the century elapsed since the foundation of Durham had witnessed the spread of buildings within the peninsula, and we shall soon get proof that suburbs had sprung up outside. Room must have been found for the dispossessed tenants of the Palace Green, and it is no improbable conjecture that they were placed by the bishop on that part of the bishop's lands which now goes by the name Framwellgate. We have no direct documentary testimony as to the origin of this suburb, but the fact just named and the building of Framwellgate Bridge, which was undoubtedly Flambard's work, might be considered to make probable the hypothesis that Flambard planted the evicted persons on his own land, and consoled them by making their new habitations immediately adjacent to the road by which pilgrims came and went when they visited Durham. The new bridge gave ready access to the city, and connected Framwellgate and Crossgate with the district of St. Nicholas, which was already, no doubt, occupied by houses, and had its own parish church, either at this time or in the episcopate of Pudsey. The fact that Framwellgate had no church of its own, taken in connexion with its constant documentary connexion with the Borough (which afterwards came to be the name of St. Nicholas' parish), will suggest the priority of the latter in point of time. The dedication to St. Nicholas is worth noting, as there is some reason to believe that this patron saint of sailors was also adopted by traders who plied their craft under his protection.
The chronology of Flambard's episcopate is obscure, but it is not at all improbable that his works were in part carried out in connexion with the most picturesque scene of the time, the translation of the body of St. Cuthbert to the shrine in the completed church. The date is 4 September 1104. Now, if not before, began the history of a great north country event when the Fair of St. Cuthbert was instituted, and, as we see from many 12th-century references, became at once a celebration of impressive character and proportions. The nave of the cathedral was not quite finished when Flambard died, but was completed by the monks in the interval of five years before his successor arrived. Just before his death the bishop, in token of repentance for much harsh treatment of his Durham neighbours, made over to them a considerable sum of money which the king afterwards demanded again. (fn. 47) The foundation by Flambard of the Hospital of St. Giles, commonly known as Kepier Hospital, can be accurately dated to the year 1112. At the same time Flambard also built the church of St. Giles, which stood on the summit of a hill north-east of the city, gathering round it, as time went on, a settlement which went by the name of Gilesgate or, in local phrase, Gillygate. Such was the beginning of a new and important suburb, destined to be closely connected with the hospital. Finchale, which was, perhaps, an old Celtic monastic site, was made over by Flambard to the monks of St. Cuthbert in 1118. (fn. 48)
A period of vicissitude soon followed the death of Flambard, entailing great suffering on Durham and its environs. Miseries which are quoted by a modern historian as characteristic of the anarchy of Stephen's reign had perhaps their chief exemplification in the misfortunes of the city. (fn. 49) As at the Norman Conquest Durham had been distracted between two parties, so now it was menaced by a double allegiance. The majority took the side of Stephen, but the activity of David of Scotland, espousing the cause of the Empress Maud his niece, brought the whole district into imminent danger. Stephen's entry into Durham in February 1136 obliged David to withdraw the troops with which he meditated the reduction of the city and the annexation of the patrimony of St. Cuthbert. Terms were arranged at the castle during Stephen's stay. The ebb and flow of the invasions that ensued did not affect Durham again until 1138, and then only in passing, as the Scots advanced to the battle of the Standard, or fled from it through Durham in confusion. A truce was ratified in Durham in the same year, and in 1139 peace was signed in the castle. By this Treaty of Durham the bishopric became for a time an oasis in a Scottish Northumbria, for whilst the Scottish boundary was now to be the Tees, the rights of the territory of St. Cuthbert were respected. (fn. 50) Then came the clever and unscrupulous attempt of David's Chancellor to annex Durham and the Cuthbertine territory under cover of law. (fn. 51) Cumin the usurper had laid his plans before the bishop's death, and all was ready when the prelate drew his last breath in the castle. The fortress was betrayed by the dead man's nephew, and most of the bishopric barons declared for Cumin. (fn. 52) The usurper commenced his turbulent three years' reign in the castle. At first he was affable enough and tried to cajole the monks into acquiescence. (fn. 53) When at the end of two years a band of them managed to get to York and there to elect a lawful bishop the rage of Cumin knew no bounds. He now showed himself in his true colours as a savage and rapacious tyrant. Within the city the monks who would not swear allegiance were ejected, and the citizens were put to the most cruel torture. Outside, his mercenary troops pillaged in every direction, sallying forth from the castle and returning to it laden with their booty, making it a den of thieves. The misery of the city was intense and its general aspect, says the chronicler, (fn. 54) was as if all the tyrants that had injured it at different times had united to do their worst. Every house in the place was visited and the most cruel tortures were invented for those still loyal to the true bishop. Meanwhile the lawful prelate, William of Ste. Barbe, had to fight for his see. He was eagerly joined by a growing band of supporters and took up his position on the hill-top a mile from castle and cathedral, where a suburb had already sprung up round the Church and Hospital of St. Giles. Here fortifications were erected, and the two armies watched each other from neighbouring heights. It was now that the desolation of the cathedral took place, which has been described for us by one of the monks who was evidently an eyewitness. It was the result of a regular siege of the building where the faithful monks were collected together in prayer. Suddenly the soldiers of Cumin burst open the doors, set ladders to the windows, swarmed in at every point and easily overpowered the very thought of resistance from the unarmed men. The voice of prayer and praise was silenced and so continued until a year and seven weeks had passed. Then a truce brought respite for seven months in all, but no cessation of hostilities. At last in 1144 Earl Henry of Northumberland advanced to terminate the situation and to place the true bishop in his see and castle. As he drew near Cumin wreaked his last act of vengeance, burning the suburb of St. Giles which had so recently been the camp of his opponent's forces, and likewise setting fire to the district of Elvet, which, as we have seen, was a peculiar possession of the monks. (fn. 55)
We are fortunate in possessing a curious Latin poem written by Laurence, later Prior of Durham (1149). As chaplain of Bishop Geoffrey Rufus (1133) he lived in the castle, and on the death of his master became precentor of the cathedral, and actually witnessed some of the events of Cumin's usurpation. With much feeling he tells the story of those days of blasphemy and rebuke. Incidentally he works into his narrative some description of the city in general, and of the castle in particular. Unfortunately the exigencies of metre make it difficult, sometimes, to follow the description given, but the main features are clear enough. He mentions in turgid verse the lofty situation, the horseshoe bend of the river, the precipitous banks, the impregnable character of the position. (fn. 56) To this last feature he recurs. (fn. 57) Palace Green with its opportunities of fun and laughter is there, and the town wall surrounding the peninsula, and pierced by at least three gates. Special attention is paid by the poet to the castle he knew so well and a rather detailed inventory is given of its parts. (fn. 58)
Pudsey's long episcopate (1153–95) carried on the work of Flambard, which had been interrupted by the anarchy of Stephen's reign. At the outset the new bishop had to face the great ruin of the city, which the reign of William de Ste. Barbe had scarcely begun to repair. Moreover at the commencement of Pudsey's connexion with Durham a terrible fire seems to have burnt down the northern wing of the castle. (fn. 59) It is apparently described in two more or less contemporary documents (fn. 60) from which we gather that it broke out in Silver Street and being fanned by a north wind quickly overleaped the battlements of the castle. Proof of this disaster is found in the stone-work of the very part in question which shows some traces of the action of fire. (fn. 61) The chronology of Pudsey's building operations is as uncertain as that of Flambard's work, but the view here taken is that the rebuilding must be referred to the latter half of the episcopate. During the former half his time was much taken up by disputes with the king, and Henry's policy of centralizing the governing power was not likely to permit the bishop to develop his capital too rapidly. It was probably after the difficulties of 1173 and 1174 that Pudsey set to work with the help of his architect Richard and carried out the series of building operations connected with his name. He practically rebuilt the castle. He renewed the wall between the north and south gates which is thought to be represented by the foundations which still stretch along the river bank from the Bailey to the Prebend's Bridge. (fn. 62) His eagerness in building pressed him on, and he spared no expense to carry out his designs and to win general applause. As an instance of his lavishness he restored the borough of Elvet which Cumin had destroyed, and threw a splendid bridge across the river to unite the old suburb with the peninsula. When the work was complete he gave back to the monks what had been so long their own possession, resigning all right and authority over it. (fn. 63) No doubt at this time the church of St. Margaret was erected as a chapelry of Elvet (St. Oswald's) Church, though the invocation as it now exists may probably have been much later. The architectural evidence of the building points pretty decisively to this period, and had we more data we should probably find that the district in which the church stands had been likewise ruined by Cumin. It is equally certain, too, that the Church of St. Giles was rebuilt by Pudsey at this time, and it is probable that his work here was a part of his refoundation of Kepier Hospital as described above. (fn. 64) The achievement in Durham most widely associated with his name, however, is the Galilee of the cathedral, which was completed by the year 1189, when his nephew the Count of Bar was buried there. (fn. 65) Pudsey's position as Earl of Northumberland and also Earl of Sadberge (fn. 66) gave him no doubt some excuse for the sumptuous and magnificent enrichment of Durham, which was now the centre of a highly developed franchise.
Durham is again fortunate in possessing two books which were written in Pudsey's time and illustrate in an interesting way the buildings and life of that period. The writer is Reginald, a monk of Durham, or, according to one account, of Coldingham. He lived within the abbey and held high position there, dying, as it might appear, before the end of Pudsey's episcopate. His earlier book (fn. 67) is a collection of sermons and addresses dealing with the miracles of St. Cuthbert, and it is a probable conjecture that he himself was one of those whom Pudsey sent with relics of the saint to perambulate various districts of England and Scotland in order to spread abroad the praises of St. Cuthbert (fn. 68) and to attract pilgrims to his shrine. Somewhat later than this, and with an appendix of probably still later date, is Reginald's Life of St. Godric, (fn. 69) the celebrated recluse of Finchale. It is easy to pick from the two volumes a large number of references which throw much light upon what Durham was then like. It was usually approached from the north, apparently by a via regia (fn. 70) which is almost certainly the old road leading from Elvet and the south towards Newcastle. At the distance of one mile from the city stood a cross which was probably one of an inner circle of crosses marking the limit of the leuga or sanctuary circle. (fn. 71) Reginald has several allusions to Pudsey's buildings, and twice over to the extension of the cathedral by the Galilee.
Without the city itself Reginald mentions Kepier (fn. 72) which was not only a hospital but a shelter for pilgrims; the Church of St. Giles (fn. 73) where Godric had been a frequent worshipper; the city walls, (fn. 74) which had to be passed in whatever direction the traveller came or went. Within their circuit the details are minute. There was the Church of St. Nicholas, (fn. 75) in the midst of the city; the Church of St. Mary, (fn. 76) with its school where Godric strove to compensate for early defects of education; the lodging houses (fn. 77) where the pilgrims stayed; the shops (fn. 78) in the market or with open fronts along the streets. Reginald speaks of the muddy approach (fn. 79) to the cathedral over Palace Green, and more than once of Palace Green (fn. 80) itself, of the Cross (fn. 81) that stood in the churchyard, of burials that took place here. (fn. 82) The great bells were visible from without, and the youth of Durham gladly took their turn in ringing them. (fn. 83) The 'usual' entrance was the north door, (fn. 84) and hard by were the attendants, (fn. 85) ready to open it or to repel if need be. On the door were handles of brass. On entering the minster the pilgrims passed by the mighty cylinders of the new pillars. (fn. 86) At the crossing he saw the statues of kings and saints. Hard by were the inner gates, (fn. 87) usually guarded, and through these the pilgrims reached the shrine. A new marble pavement had recently been laid by Prior Roger (fn. 88) (1137–49), probably after the desecration caused by Cumin's soldiers. The shrine had its special adornment and its own custodian. (fn. 89) Here the pilgrim might offer his candle (fn. 90) and any gift that he had brought. If it was a great festival the church was decorated with care as at Easter (fn. 91) or Whitsuntide. (fn. 92) The two great festivals of St. Cuthbert on 20 March (fn. 93) and 4 September (fn. 94) brought crowds to Durham, when attractions within the cathedral were many; and without, sports and games were held. (fn. 95) Peculiarly interesting were the relics exhibited at such times to the public view. (fn. 96) The banner of St. Cuthbert (fn. 97) was a conspicuous object near the shrine. At night the monks had the church to themselves and sang the midnight office (fn. 98) in their stalls (fn. 99) after the attendants had prepared the cressets to light them. (fn. 100) There is mention of the altar of St. Oswald, (fn. 101) of the pulpit (fn. 102) upon which the lectionary lay, of the small bell in the quire, (fn. 103) of the bishop's throne, (fn. 104) of the Crucifix (fn. 105) opposite it within the quire, of the signals given by the bells (fn. 106) when service began, or the various hours of day and night had to be indicated.
Then there was the monastery with its buildings and its monks. Reginald, however, has little to say except in this incidental way about the surroundings of his own life. He knows the castle from the outside and refers to its massive gates, (fn. 107) the porter who guarded them, (fn. 108) the battlements (fn. 109) with their sentinels (fn. 110) on watch, the concourse of servants, (fn. 111) the bishop's prison. (fn. 112) From a later reference there is some reason for supposing that this prison was on the west side of Palace Green until the days of Bishop Langley. (fn. 113)
Elsewhere there is allusion to Allergate, (fn. 114) to the suburbs of Durham, (fn. 115) to South Street with its white houses as seen from the neighbourhood of the cathedral. (fn. 116) In between ran the river with its dam and mills and water-wheels. (fn. 117) Saturday then, as now, was the market-day. (fn. 118) There was a town-crier. (fn. 119) The mint-master was a man of position. (fn. 120)
One more document of Pudsey's episcopate remains to be mentioned. Boldon Book, a very important recital of all the bishop's vills, was drawn up in the year 1183. (fn. 121) Unfortunately, the light it throws upon Durham itself is neither clear nor full. It tells us that Durham was at farm, and had mills producing large revenue. It calls Durham alone of all the vills named a civitas. Beyond this there is no information, and we are not even told what the dues farmed out may have been in amount, nor what the farmers' names were.
The uncertain references to the city itself, however, are only disappointing in so far as they give no details of the administration of Durham. The works of Reginald supply a vivid enough picture of the place. It is not, therefore, very difficult to form some conception of Pudsey's Durham in the light of what has now been said. The shrine brought the pilgrims, and the pilgrims brought business. The secular side of Durham as the centre of government was perhaps secondary, though extremely important. The whole meaning of the two books of Reginald the monk lies in the fact that Pudsey greatly increased the attractions of Durham as a place of pilgrimage. Reginald incidentally shows by more than one amusing touch how anxious the new-born fame of St. Thomas of Canterbury rendered the Durham monks. Fear of this important rival no doubt prompted some of the revelations which are recorded, in order to confirm the wavering prestige of St. Cuthbert's shrine, and their satisfactory conclusion has a spice of humour in it. Some of Pudsey's work was planned, no doubt, for the express purpose of increasing the attractions of the place in the eyes of pilgrims. They and other visitors, as they came, would require the services of a host of tradesmen, purveyors, and hucksters.
It is no surprise, also, to find not merely constant reference in Reginald to the crowds of visitors, but various allusions elsewhere to the existence of the Durham mint. It was a necessity, in order to provide a local medium of exchange, and its resuscitation by special grant, just after Pudsey's death, goes to prove that the necessity was felt and allowed by the king. At the moment when Boldon Book was written, the mint was temporarily in abeyance. The local imports, connected not merely with the city, but with the bishopric, were numerous, consisting of wine, mill-stones, salt and herrings. It was sometimes an incidence of service that such commodities should be carted to Durham. (fn. 122) On the other hand, there was an export trade of some volume; as, for instance, mill-stones from Durham to Ireland, and also salmon and iron, with other merchandise. (fn. 123) No doubt the Cuthbertine Fairs in March and September were the chief opportunities of trade, and Reginald's incidental mentions of these great occasions suggest their very great social and economic importance. They not merely afforded trade and market meetings on a great scale, but brought no little gain to the bishop or the farmers appointed by him, as we gather from the returns for 'booth-silver' or stallage, a similar rent being paid still to the corporation of Durham for travelling shows, etc., allowed to take up their stand in the market-place.
In the 13th century two great strifes occupied the attention of Durham people—the one between bishop and monastery, and the other between bishop and barons of the bishopric. Both have been described elsewhere, (fn. 124) and do not concern us here, save as very significant factors in the condition of the inhabitants, who were washed to and fro in the rough tide-way as the storm flowed or ebbed. The monastery dispute opens with the savage attack of the foreign Bishop Philip upon the cathedral, which has been described for us by the chronicler Geoffrey of Coldingham. (fn. 125) It was almost the Cumin episode over again. A deadly controversy had arisen between the bishop and the monastery. Apparently the bishop, a foreigner, was induced to believe that the monks had invaded the episcopal liberties, and in particular had usurped the patronage of the Church in Elvet. Stung by this supposed invasion of his own rights, he started up to defend his injured pride. If we may trust Geoffrey, whose interest, of course, lay very emphatically with the monks, Philip regularly besieged Elvet Church, placing armed sentinels all round it, applying fire and smoke to doors and windows, ordering that no food should be given to the beleaguered monks. The general sympathy, we are told, was all on the side of the religious, who for conscience' sake endured every species of indignity heaped upon them, until the bishop, for very shame, surrendered the church and made no further claim upon the advowson of St. Oswald's. An interval of peace elapsed, and then further disputes broke out, which gave Philip opportunity for exhibiting all the ferocious savagery of character with which the chronicler credits him. The prelate thought nothing of imprisoning the citizens of Durham and of the bishopric generally, haling them off to prison and spoiling their goods. Some resorted to the most contemptible adulation towards the prelate, hoping to make him their friend and to secure peace. Others meditated a general rising against his tyranny. The Prior Bertram actually journeyed to the royal court to seek his favour at a time when John's hands were full with other things. The king amused his visitor with kind words and promises; but Bertram returned to find that the bishop was already punishing the monks, and through them the citizens, for the prior's action. The postern gate, by which access was gained to the Abbey Mill below the cathedral, was built up to prevent any passing to and fro, and so to starve the monks. They had made a new fish-pond, and this was destroyed. The ovens in the monks' borough of Elvet were rendered useless. The fish tank at Finchale was broken up. The water supply, which was brought apparently in pipes from beyond the river, and perhaps crossed the Wear at the mill-dam, conveyed the water to Palace Green. The bishop diverted this, and brought the water into the castle, so as to cut it off from the monastery. All this mad fury eventually culminated at the autumn fair of St. Cuthbert, when the city was thronged with visitors, and Philip prohibited the prior from celebrating the High Mass usual at that time and made a general proclamation forbidding all alike, clergy and laity, from being present in the cathedral. Bertram celebrated notwith-standing, when an unseemly scuffle ensued, which was only ended by the common sense of the Archdeacon of Richmond, who was present, and appealed to the excited throng to await the return of the prior's messengers, who had been sent to Rome to appeal to Pope Innocent III. (fn. 126)