This delightful recently refurbished Chapel opened in 2010, and is housed in a 13th-century vaulted undercroft, underneath what was originally the Prior’s House, now the residence of the Dean.
It was probably not used as a chapel in medieval times but stood below the Prior’s House, where there was a chapel – dedicated to St Nicholas. The beautiful 15th-century wall paintings from that chapel survive to the present day in the present Deanery entrance hall.
The space now called The Chapel of The Holy Cross, has been used for a variety of purposes over the centuries, and records show it was used as a Chapel in the 1920s.
During the Second World War, it was used as a semi-underground dormitory for the Cathedral Choristers, to protect them from air-raids.
The dedication of this space to the Holy Cross, one of the most ancient in Christendom, recalls the church built Ad Crucem by Constantine on the site identified as the place of the crucifixion.
In Durham history, it evokes the fragment of the Holy Cross later known as the Black Rood brought to these shores in the 11th century by Queen Margaret of Scotland, that was honoured in this cathedral until the Reformation.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is open from Easter to the end of the October half –term holiday. Fittings were designed by sculptor Colin Wilbourn, who also created The Last Supper on display in The Galilee Chapel.
The Chapel is also available for use by groups or individuals for acts of worship or quiet prayer and reflection.