Early Durham

Georgian Durham

Victorian Durham

Modern Durham

Durham's Black History

Art in The Museum

Brass Rubbing

Special Exhibition




Early Durham

Our model of the medieval city of Durham shows how the River Wear kept the city safe from enemies. The displays explore:

  • the story of Durham Castle, palace of the Prince Bishops; why the Cathedral was built; and
  • why it was such an important place of pilgrimage.
You can find out about life in the medieval town. The Prince Bishops ruled over daily life and Scottish raids were a constant threat. This danger lessened after the English victory at the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346, within sight of the Cathedral.

The Nevilles of Brancepeth and Raby were once one of the richest and most powerful dynasties in England. Kings Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III were all members of the family.

Our display comprises four back-lit stained glass windows featuring members of the Neville family. Made in 1824 by William Collins, they were recently conserved by Jonathan & Ruth Cooke Ltd of Ilkley.

Durham had its own Chancery Court right up until 1972. It was one of the last relics of the power of the Prince Bishops.

The Museum displays the 17th century Chancellor's bench together with models of the judge and clerk in period dress.