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Feeding Body And Soul

The Durham prebend, Richard Kaye was the chief patron of the Swiss-born artist, Samuel Hieronymus Grimm. Here Grimm gives two contrasting scenes from the life of the senior clergy at the cathedral in the 1770s. In one they celebrate communion, in the other the love of food and drink.

The prebends were beneficiaries of numerous estates donated to the priory and profited from the boom in Durham’s 18th-century industrial economy. Frequently absent, typically harvesting multiple appointments, their duties were slight and increasingly social rather than religious. Little wonder the prebends were scorned as ’golden canons’ and widely disliked. Non-conformism would soon mine a rich seam of popular resentment to the cynicism of much of the Established Church in the land of the prince bishops.

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