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St Cuthbert’s 1,300-year-old coffin among treasures in new Durham exhibition

The exhibition at Durham Cathedral offers an insight into the life of the famous saint.

Some of the world’s most significant Anglo-Saxon artefacts have gone on display, including the 1,300-year-old coffin of St Cuthbert.

The exhibition at Durham Cathedral, called The Treasures of St Cuthbert, offers an insight into the life of the famous saint.

It includes his wooden coffin, built in 698 and recovered after his tomb was opened in 1827. It still has visible images of Jesus and the apostles on the oak fragments.

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St Cuthbert's gold and garnet pectoral cross (Owen Humphreys/PA)

On display in Open Treasure, the cathedral’s multi-million pound exhibition experience, the collection also includes a gold and garnet pectoral cross, St Cuthbert’s portable altar and an ivory comb.

The Dean of Durham, Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, said: “The launch of the Treasures of St Cuthbert on permanent display in their new home marks a new phase in the life of Durham Cathedral and its exhibition experience, Open Treasure.

“It is very fitting that the final jewel in the crown of Open Treasure is centred on St Cuthbert, in whose honour Durham Cathedral was built.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors from both near and far who come to enjoy and discover more about his remarkable life and the gospel message his Treasures represent.”

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The 12th century Sanctuary Ring, which would have been the original door knocker on Durham Cathedral (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The opening follows a year of environmental monitoring in the Great Kitchen, the area in Durham Cathedral in which The Treasures of St Cuthbert will be housed.

Speaking about the treasures, historian Dr Janina Ramirez said: “At their heart lies a unique individual who was both Anglo-­Saxon warrior, and early Christian Bishop.

“Whose connection to the North of England means we can walk where he walked, and who is arguably England’s most important saint.

“To see the objects he handled and the treasures that accompanied him, both on his long journey from Lindisfarne to Durham, and from life to death, is to experience some of the finest history our nation has to offer.”

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