South West
South East
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Durham Cathedral                        The Cathedral was founded as a shrine for the body of St Cuthbert.  When Viking raids forced the monks on Lindisfarne to flee in 875.  They carried with them the body of the saint, they reached Durham in 995 after time at Chester le Street and Ripon.  In Durham the coffin seemed to become rooted to the ground and the spot for the new shrine was revealed in a vision.  By 998 they had built a church (nothing remains of this early building) it quickly became a place of pilgrimage.  The Bishops became Prince Bishops of Durham giving the city the right to raise armies, own nobility, coinage and courts.  All these privileges were ended in 1836.  The present Cathedral Church of Christ and blessed Mary the Virgin was built between 1093 and 1133 to a plan of Bishop William of Calais.  He died but the work continued under Bishop Flambard.  It is possibly the finest Norman building in Europe.  St Cuthberts body was brought to his shrine behind the high altar in 1104.  The Cathedral was the first in Northern Europe to be covered with stone ribbed vaulting and it has the earliest pointed transverse arches in England.  There are few monuments because of a long held rule that no one should be buried in the shrine of st cuthbert.  From the South side aisle a door leads to the monks dormitory, a great timbered hall 194ft by 39ft where some of the Cathedrals prized possessions can be seen, they include St Cuthberts illuminated manuscripts.  In front of the font is a line of marble, the nearest point that women were allowed to get to the altar.  Almost no amount of time is to long to spend in this unique place of worship. 
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Hexham abbey                Two contrasting church styles set in one building. The old church to the East comprising the magnificent Crossing and Chancel.  Together with Temple Moores Scholastic Nave started in 1905 to the West.  Hexham has suffered more than most from its prime location, not far from Hadrians Wall.  The 7th Century foundation by St Wilfred was burnt and plundered by the Vikings.  The restored Augustine Priory refounded in 1113 was then attacked by the Scots under William Wallace at the end of the 13th Century, the Nave was destroyed and not rebuilt.  Therefore it is to the East end one naturally is drawn, early Gothic architecture in a Parish Church.  It is in this area where the transept is dominated by the Priory`s famous night staircase.  Described by many as one of the finest Monastic relics in an English church.  A treasure trove of architectural gems.   Lest not forget the Crypt, beneath the Nave a Saxon Tunnel vaulted chamber built primarily of Roman Stones its arch reputedly dating from the 7th Century.  Many Celtic and Roman relics of their occupation adorn the fabric of this lovely Church
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Holy Island (Lindisfarne)            Lindisfarne is famed as the birthplace of English Christianity.  A 3 mile causeway connects the island with the mainland at low tide and can be crossed during six hour spells between tides. approx 300 people live on the island, with fishing and tourism the main employment.  In 635 A.D. St Aidan came on the invitation of King Oswald from Iona on the West Coast of Scotland to teach Christianity to the Angles of Northumbria.  Linidsfarne Monastry was established and the first English diocese founded.  The Sixth Bishop was St Cuthbert who came to the island in 664A.D. and was buried here until the monks fled with his coffin ahead of the Danes in 875A.D.  The Danes destroyed the Abbey and the island lay deserted until a Priory was founded by a Benedictine order in the 11th Century. 
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Newcastle Cathedral                   

St Michael's Church, Alnwick    Situated on a hillside overlooking the river on the Northern outskirts of the town. This church of perpendicular design built of local stone weathered with age represents all that is important in the area, solid & upright. Rebuilt in the mid 15th Century from money raised by the way of tolls granted to the town by King Henry VI.  The Nave is definitely 14th Century while the chancel is 15th Century.  Interestingly there is no crossing between the two.  The church contains some interesting items, two 14th Century Tombs, together with a wonderful 14th Century Flemish carved chest.

St. Pauls Church, Jarrow            The Parish Church of St Pauls Jarrow has been a place of worship for 13 Centuries.  The Church & Monastery was built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria in 681AD.  The Chancel of St Pauls is the original Saxon Church built as a separate Chapel and thus offers at least a relic of Bede`s time.  Much of the cut stone is Roman, do look for the three single splayed Saxon windows, the middle one containing Saxon stained glass made in the monastic workshops, it was excavated from the site in 1980 and inserted here in the Chancel.  Reputedly the oldest such glass in Western Europe.  The Monastery where Bede came as a boy thrived in the 7th & 8th Centuries.  Outside the church are the remains of the domestic buildings of that monastery, it was here that he lived, worked and worshipped.  The buildings where sacked by the Vikings in 794AD. It was not until 1074 that the church was repaired by the Normans and the Monastery re-founded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire.  Do look for the original dedication stone of 685 (above the Chancel arch) supposedly the oldest in England.  Although St Martins Church Canterbury does predate Jarrow by maybe 100 years and therefore holds the honour of oldest church in England.
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