DURHAM CATHEDRAL is regarded as the finest Romanesque building in Europe. Along with the neighbouring castle it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 - one of only two English cathedrals to hold such an honour. In an online poll held by the Guardian in 2011 to find Britain's favourite building, Durham Cathedral enjoyed a runaway victory. Many superlatives have been heaped on this magnificent church, standing high above the ancient medieval city, on its protective peninsula formed by the River Wear. It is at once spiritual, powerful and poetic, the mystic heart of the North East. Built by the Normans to house the shrine of St Cuthbert, and also containing the shrine of St Bede, the Father of English History, its inward beauty matches its exterior. The first impression of the nave, on entering at the west end, is both incomparable and unforgettable. This book is a journey in words and images through this wonderful building. It seeks to present the Cathedral's many facets: architectural, historical, artistic, spiritual and humane. Its authors have come to admire and love this building over two lifetimes, and offer their personal interpretation of it as an invitation to a pilgrimage. They hope that this is a book to remember the Cathedral by. Perhaps it can be more than a souvenir: rather, a book that captures the spirit of the place and keeps it alive for all who have come to cherish it as the authors do.
Philip Nixon has been an award-winning professional photographer for over thirty years. He has photographed and written ten books. He is also a steward and a guide in Durham Cathedral and enjoys the privilege of being a Cathedral photographer. Philip gave a community lecture at Sunderland University on St Cuthbert, which proved so popular it filled 400 seats and resulted in 300 being turned away on the day. He lives in Durham. Michael Sadgrove was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and ordained in 1975. He is a noted theological author and the current Dean of Durham.