Skip to Main Content Page Title
Library logo

Archives and Special Collections: Durham Cathedral Collections: Exploring the collections online

Our collections

A selection of documents from the medieval archive is available online, with images, notes and some partial transcriptions.  The documents were chosen to support a taught course in palaeography and diplomatic and this is reflected in many of the notes.  But they represent a wide range of examples from one of the most important medieval archives within the British Isles, from a writ of 1090 to a lease of 1539.

Examples of medieval seals from this collection are available online, with brief descriptive text and photographs.  The seals chosen are grouped by category, including a broken knife used to authenticate a gift of Lowick tithes in the 1170s, the earliest surviving seals of the Scottish kings from the 1090s, a papal bull of Martin IV, the stunningly executed seal of Richard Bury, bishop of Durham 1333-1345, and a rare example of a seal impression that includes an image of another seal.

Online articles featuring items from Durham Cathedral archive include the following:

Durham possesses the finest collection of medieval manuscripts of any English cathedral. Durham University, in partnership with Durham Cathedral, is engaged in an ambitious project to digitise Durham Priory Library - the books owned and used by the Benedictine monastery of Durham and its dependent cells.