Monday, July 31, 2017

St Cuthbert's coffin features in new display at Durham Cathedral

From The Guardian-

As the light picked out every detail of the angels and saints, and the runic and Latin inscriptions carved into the oak coffin of a man who died more than 1,300 years ago, the dean of Durham Cathedral struggled to find an appropriately reverent word. “Wow,” Andrew Tremlett finally said. “Wow.”

Janina Ramirez, a historian, was also seeing for the first time the cathedral’s new display of the coffin of St Cuthbert. She said she had been unable to sleep from excitement the night before. “This is the Tutankhamun’s tomb of the north-east,” she said, “a window into a time in history which some people call the dark ages.”

The coffin, made from English oak on Lindisfarne in 698 – 11 years after Cuthbert’s death – is regarded as the most important wooden object surviving in England from before the Norman conquest.

It is displayed surrounded by objects found in the coffin, which historians and archaeologists agree almost certainly did belong to the saint. They include his portable altar, a gold and garnet pectoral cross damaged and crudely repaired in his lifetime – which was found tucked into his robes in the 19th century – and most intimate of all, a rather scruffy ivory comb.

More here-

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