The Sanctuary doorknocker plays an important role in Durham Cathedral’s history. Learn its story as you explore Durham City's most magnificent building.
Durham Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site with breathtaking Romanesque architecture, and is cherished for its incomparable setting.
Built in 1093, to house the shrine of St Cuthbert, the Cathedral has been a place of pilgrimage for almost 1000 years.
As you make your way through the winding cobbled streets of Durham City, and across Palace Green to enter the Cathedral, you will see the Sanctuary doorknocker on the main door.
It is made in the form of a lion’s head and dates back to 1154. Any fugitives who grasped the knocker were granted sanctuary for 37 days. They could then either face their accusers or be given safe conduct to the coast.
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