TWO brothers at the centre of an unholy row over the running of a cathedral bookshop have been told to leave within a year.

Critics said Phil and Mark Brewer ravaged the Durham Cathedral bookshop, once described as the best theological bookshop in the world, leaving it a shadow of its former self.

Hundreds signed a petition calling on the Cathedral Chapter to rescue the shop from the US pair, invoking the Biblical story of Jesus going into the temple to throw out the money-lenders to support their case.

Now, in a statement released to The Northern Echo, the chapter has announced it has served notice on the Brewers’ Saint Stephen the Great Trust, requiring it to vacate the premises by April 30, 2010.

The statement said that the following day, a shop managed by the cathedral will open.

Matt Wardman, who has campaigned on the issue, welcomed the news. He said that although it should have happened sooner, he hoped it was the beginning of the end of the saga.

Staff are said to be pleased, but concerned because they have not been guaranteed employment in the new shop.

The Brewers’ Trust was established in 2004 to acquire redundant churches and put them into use for Orthodox Christian worship.

It took over the bookshop from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in November 2006.

The Cathedral Chapter statement said: “The cathedral is working with (Durham) University on a feasibility study for their respective visitor facilities in the cathedral and university buildings on the Durham peninsula.

“This will also take account of other visitor initiatives in the world heritage site.

“This project has a high priority in the cathedral’s development plan and includes a review of all the cathedral’s existing visitor attractions.

“Details of the new exhibition, which will focus on Cuthbert, Bede and the cathedral’s Benedictine heritage, will be announced later.”

Neither the Brewers nor the Saint Stephen the Great Trust responded to The Northern Echo’s request for comment.