Durham Cathedral boasts some of the most intact surviving monastic buildings in england, and today this part of the Cathedral conveys a sense of how the activities of the monastery were inseparably connected with daily worship.
The Cloister was the hub of Benedictine life; the order of monks that lived and worshiped in the monastic priory before the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry the VIII in 1539.
Originally the Cloister was glazed, and the monks’ washed (the stone basin in the middle of the grass is what remains of their lavabo), exercised, taught and studied. The Cloister was laid out when the Cathedral was begun in 1093, though much of it now dates from the 15th century and later.
Today it is continues as a hub for the daily routine of worship and welcome. Clergy and the Cathedral Choir arrive for worship through the Cloister, and visitors can access a variety of amenities including the Undercroft Restaurant and the Cathedral Shop via the Cloister. All experience a sense of calm and contemplation whether they linger or journey through.