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St Giles, Durham f.198

St Giles, Durham f.198

Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus

Medium: Ink on paper

Date: 1773

Shelfmark: Additional MS 15538

Item number: f.198

Length: 204

Width: 129

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Manuscript

An outline view in ink of part of the interior of St Giles' church at Durham, with circular stone font. Built in AD1112 by Bishop Ranulf Flambard, the church was constructed as a chapel for a hospital dedicated to St Giles. The hospital stood next to the church but was burned down in 1144 following an extraordinary battle for power in the Bishopric of Durham.

Encouraged by King David of Scotland, William Cumin had falsely appointed himself Prince Bishop of Durham, taking residence at Durham Castle for three years and terrorising the public with his band of armed retainers.

In March 1143, the Dioceses appointed William De St Barbara as Prince Bishop, and he travelled north with armed support from a number of local barons. Cumin would not stand down immediately, so St Barbara spent the night in St Giles' church. The following morning Cumin broke down the church doors and a sword battle broke out between the supporters of the rival bishops. Terrified monks caught up in the fight prayed desperately for peace.

Three attempts were made to oust Cumin. The third, in August 1144, was successful. This time St Barbara had enlisted the help of the Earl of Northumberland’s army. Cumin’s men fled the scene, though not before burning down the hospital.

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