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Some of the best church needlework from the past eleven centuries

A gift from a King

The Cathedral owns a 10th century Stole, Maniple and Girdle. These are recorded as being given to the shrine of St Cuthbert by King Athelstan when he visited Chester-le-Street in 934.

These are some of the finest surviving examples of Anglo-Saxon embroidery in England. They are also the only ones to be found which depict human figures

Medieval wonders

Our collection includes four late medieval velvet copes.

In preparation for royalty

A cope bought for the visit of King Charles I to Durham in 1633 is an embroidery highlight.

Crowning the monarch

It is traditional for Bishops of Durham to stand at the monarch’s right hand throughout the ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

The collection includes the cope worn by Bishops of Durham at 20th century coronation services.

Find out more about the Cathedral’s textile collections in our online catalogue ADLIB.


Quick guide to an ecclesiastical wardrobe

Cope: a long semi-circular cloak worn by priests for church ceremonies

Girdle: a belt or cord worn around the waist

Maniple: a strip of cloth worn on the left arm by a priest celebrating the Eucharist (Holy Communion)

Stole: a narrow band of cloth worn around the back of the neck and hanging down in front, like a long scarf


A stitch in time

Our volunteer Broderers – a term for our embroiderers – provide modern-day vestments and textiles for the Cathedral.


More about our Broderers