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Durham is a city in north east England. It is within the County Durham local government district, and is the county town of the larger ceremonial county. It lies to the south of Newcastle upon Tyne, Chester-le-Street and Sunderland and to the north of Darlington. Durham is well known for its Norman cathedral and 11th-century castle, both designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832.
Post townDURHAM
Administrative CountyDurham
Traditional CountyDurham
OS GridNZ2742
OS Settlement ClassificationCity
RegionNorth East
Police AuthorityDurham
Fire and Rescue AuthorityCounty Durham and Darlington
Fire and Rescue AuthorityCounty Durham and Darlington
Ambulance AuthorityNorth East
Dialling code0191
Population42,123 (2001)

Other names by which Durham has been known in the past

Castle Precincts ~ Dunelmum ~ Dunholm ~ Dunholme ~ Duresme ~ Durham College ~ Durham Old ~ Durrham ~ Magdalen Place ~ Old Durham ~ St Mary Magdalen

Durham in John Bartholomew's "Gazetteer of the British Isles" (1887)

Castle Precincts.-- par., in co. and city of Durham, pop. 38.

Durham in "A Topographical Dictionary of England" edited by Samuel Lewis (1848)

DURHAM, a city, the capital of the county of Durham, and the head of a union, 67 miles (E. S. E.) from Carlisle, 87 (N. E.) from Lancaster, 67 (N. W. by W.) from York, and 259 (N. W.) from London; containing 14,151 inhabitants. The name of the city is probably derived from the Saxon words, Dun, a hill, and Holme, a river island; being descriptive of its situation on a rocky eminence partially surrounded by the river Wear; the Normans called it Duresme, whence more immediately is deduced its present appellation. The earliest account of the place is in 995, when the bishop and monks of Lindisfarne, afterwards called Holy Island, who had removed to Chester-leStreet, and subsequently to Ripon, for sanctuary from the violence of Danish aggression, were returning to their church at Chester-le-Street, after an absence of four months, with the disinterred body of St. Cuthbert, which had been buried at Lindisfarne, in 687. According to the superstitious legend, on their arrival at the spot where Durham now stands, a miraculous interposition rendered the carriage which conveyed the body, and other relics, immoveable; and this incident they construed into a divine prohibition against the return of the saint's remains to their former resting-place. They likewise interpreted some other circumstances into an intimation that Dunholme was destined to receive the sacred relics; and on the west corner tower of the east transept of the cathedral are still some emblematic devices designed to commemorate the occurrence. They forthwith proceeded to construct a sort of ark, or tabernacle, of wicker-work, wherein they deposited the saint's body; subsequently a more appropriate edifice was erected, called the White Church, and three years after their arrival, a stone church was built by Bishop Aldun, and dedicated to St. Cuthbert, whose remains were then removed and enshrined in it. Determined on permanent residence, these strangers cleared away the trees which skirted the hill, and began to build substantial houses. Thus arose the Saxon town of Dunholme, about the commencement of the eleventh century; and its increase, both in buildings and population, was so rapid, that in 1040, being then partially fortified, Duncan of Scotland besieged it: his forces were totally vanquished, and the heads of the Scottish leaders who were slain or captured were fixed on poles around the market-place.


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