The treasures of Saint Cuthbert

Found in 1827, the Relics of Saint Cuthbert are extraordinary surviving examples of early medieval art and culture. More than that, they also provide a link to the life and work of the North East’s beloved saint.

Finding the Relics

On 17th May 1827, Canon James Raine opened the tomb of Saint Cuthbert and, as well as the saint’s body, found some rare and extraordinary objects. Now known as the Relics or Treasures of St Cuthbert, they were either used by Cuthbert during his lifetime, or given to him as offerings shortly after his death. They reveal a great deal about the art, artefacts and complex cultural traditions of Northumbrian Christianity.

‘Relic’ is a name used for either the body of a holy person, or for objects closely linked to them. Cuthbert himself was reburied in his tomb, but these objects, connected to his life and legacy, are a powerful reminder of his faith and witness.

The Relics can be seen in The Great Kitchen, part of Durham Cathedral Museum.