The Shrine of St Cuthbert
This is the resting place of St Cuthbert.
In this place of quiet reflection, St Cuthbert is buried beneath a stone slab that bears his name in Latin: CVTHBERTVS.
Where is this space?
The Shrine of St Cuthbert, also known as the feretory sits behind the quire. You can access the shrine via the stairs in the Chapel of the Nine Altars.
How is it used today?
This is a place of quiet contemplation and a space for visitors to explore their faith.
The Shrine of St Cuthbert in the medieval monastery
St Cuthbert was one of the great Northern Saints, and was buried on the island of Lindisfarne when he died in 687. In the 9th century, a new resting place for St Cuthbert was needed, following the threat of Viking invasion. Legend has it, whilst the community were looking for a new home for the relics of St Cuthbert, the cart bearing his coffin became stuck in the ground. Cuthbert came to a monk in a dream, telling them to take him to Dun Holm. The wheels of the cart suddenly became unstuck, and Cuthbert has since remained on the Durham peninsula.
Changes over the past 500 years
In late 1539, King Henry VIII's commissioners were ordered to dismantle Cuthbert’s shrine. The space was stripped of old gold, silver, and jewels, and was levelled to the ground. The commissioners uncovered Cuthbert’s coffin, and found not dust and bones, but an unconsumed body in priestly vestments. Taking this as a sign of Cuthbert’s holiness, the grave was reinterred.
In 1827, Cuthbert’s grave was opened up once again, and some of the precious artefacts were removed. These are the Treasures of St Cuthbert, which are on display today in the Durham Cathedral Museum.
Wheelchair users and visitors with limited mobility
The Shrine of St Cuthbert is not accessible without stairs.
Visitors with a hearing impairment
Written information can be found inside the shrine.
The Shrine of St Cuthbert is a quiet location.
Blind and partially sighted visitors
Light levels in the cathedral can be low depending on the time of day and year.
Visitors can feel the carving of St Cuthbert's name on the floor of the shrine, marking his resting place.