Durham Cathedral is one of the oldest examples of Romanesque architecture present in England today. Although the cathedral was completed in the early 12th century there are signs of Gothic architecture present due to the close relation of Romanesque and Gothic styles. In Robert Scott's book The Gothic Enterprise he discusses how the early Gothic style pulled heavily from the Romanesque style of architecture and built upon it's basic themes. Durham Cathedral's extensive history shows how the church's style of architecture remains mainly Romanesque, but has impressions of other styles due to renovations in different eras.
Durham Cathedral has been described as one of the great architectural experiences of Europe. Construction was begun in 1093 and largely completed within 40 years. It is the only cathedral in England to retain almost all of its Norman craftsmanship, and one of few to preserve the unity and integrity of its original design. The Cathedral was built as a place of worship, specifically to house the shrine of the North's best-loved saint, Cuthbert, in whose honour pilgrims came to Durham from all over England. It was also the home of a Benedictine monastic community. The Cathedral also served a political and military function by reinforcing the authority of the prince-bishops over England's northern border.
The Cathedral is built on a peninsula of land created by a loop in the River Wear and the west end towers over a precipitous gorge. The northern front of the Cathedral faces onto Palace green and here the full 496 foot length from west to east can be seen. The nave, quire and transepts are all Norman, at the west end is the twelth century late Norman style Galilee Chapel and at the east end the 13th century Chapel of the Nine Altars is in the Gothic style. The western towers date from the 12th and 13th centuries and the great central tower is the most recent addition, it dates from the 15th century and displays...
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