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Durham
Durham, County

North East England

Palace Green
(Cathedral)

The Dun Cow

18th century sculptor
18th century

Durham /  The Dun Cow   Durham /  The Dun Cow

Description

A stone relief on the north facade of Durham Cathedral depicts a monk and a cow girl, a scene form the legend of the journey of St. Cuthbert's remains:

At some point on the monks’ journey back to Chester le-Street with the body of St Cuthbert, the cart carrying the coffin suddenly stopped and could not be moved. The leader of the community, Bishop Aldhun, had a vision of St Cuthbert demanding to be taken to a place called ‘Dunholme,’ but nobody knew where it was.
The puzzled monks stood perplexed at how to find ‘Dunholme'. Then a cow girl walked by, and asked another young woman if she had seen a lost dun (brown) cow.
The young woman said she had seen the cow heading in the direction of Dunholme – and pointed out the way.
The monks, who had overheard this exchange, decided to follow the cow-girl, and found that St Cuthbert’s coffin moved readily in that direction. They continued along that road and got to Dunholme (Durham).

The relief is present on a drawing from 1773.

See also here.

Sculptor

Sources & Information

Tags

Location (N 54°46'25" - W 1°34'32")

Item Code: gbne021; Photograph: 30 July 2019
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