Durham History



The present city can clearly be traced back to AD 995, when a group of monks from Lindisfarne chose the strategic high peninsula as a place to settle with the body of Saint Cuthbert, that had previously lain in Chester-le-Street.

During the medieval period the city found spiritual prominence because it was the final resting place of St. Cuthbert and St. Bede the Venerable. Durham’s geographical position has always given it an important position in the defence of England against the Scots. Durham Castle is the only Norman castle keep never to have suffered a breach.

The city remained loyal to King Charles I throughout the English Civil War. Charles I came to Durham twice during his reign. The eighteenth century saw the rise of the trade union movement in the city. The Industrial Revolution mostly passed the city by. However, the city was well-known for carpet making and weaving. Other important industries were the manufacture of mustard and coal extraction.

The city also saw the creation of the world’s first passenger railway in 1825.