TREASURES from the shrine of one of the North-East’s most important saints are due to go on display this summer.
Parts of St Cuthbert’s coffin, his famous pectoral cross and the original Sanctuary Knocker will be on display as part of the Open Treasure exhibition at Durham Cathedral.
The items will form the centrepiece of the exhibition, which opened last summer, but are so delicate conservators have to monitor climate conditions in the great kitchen, where they will be housed, for 12 months to ensure the precious objects will not be damaged.
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It will be the first time they have been on display since 2011.
The announcement was made yesterday to mark St Cuthbert’s Day.
The Dean of Durham, the Very Revd Andrew Tremlett said: “Durham is unique in the country in having artefacts and treasures that date back to the roots of the cathedral.
“For years we have had these treasure on display but now we can do it properly.
“The environment is now world class, it’s what you would get in the British Museum, which they will be preserved for centuries and centuries to come.”
The exhibition will include fragments of the original carved wooden coffin, which was made in 698 – 11 years after St Cuthbert’s death, when the discovery that his remains had not decayed made him the focal point for pilgrimage.
The coffin was protected and preserved by the monks of Lindisfarne, and when Vikings forced them to leave the monastery, it was carried all over the North of England, settling in Chester-le-Street and Ripon before making their way to Durham in 995.
It was placed in the shrine at Durham Cathedral in 1104 and remained there until the tomb was opened in 1827.
Other items from the tomb, including his gold and garnet pectoral cross which is the symbol of the cathedral, portable altar, comb and vestments will also be on display, as well as the cathedral’s original 12th century Sanctuary Knocker.
Durham Cathedral’s head of collections Lisa di Tommaso said: “For the last year we have been working extremely hard to ensure that the great kitchen would be ready to safely house these incredible artefacts.
“For myself and all the cathedral staff it is exciting to be close to seeing the results of that hard work.”
The permanent display will open to the public on Saturday, July 29.