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Repair? Restore? Re-Design?: The North Porch of Durham Cathedral

Repair? Restore? Re-Design?: The North Porch of Durham Cathedral

Paper by Alexander Holton

Given at the University of York, on October 14, 2014

The North Porch of Durham Cathedral was conceived as part of the great Norman building campaign of Durham Cathedral, complete by 1133. At first the general entrance to the nave, the porch subsequently became the principal portal into the cathedral church following Bishop Hugh le Puiset’s addition of the western Galilee chapel in the late 12th century, and remains so today. The stonework of the porch was the subject of a major ‘Gothick’ restoration in the late 18th century, followed by further interventions in the 20th century, and parts of the structure are now in a very poor condition. This seminar will introduce the history and significance of the North Porch, before debating the emerging philosophical and technical challenges that lie ahead, which are still far from being resolved.

Durham Cathedral

Alexander Holton has a background in buildings archaeology and historic building conservation, having undertaken his doctorate in the Archaeology department at York between 2006 and 2010. He currently works as a heritage and conservation consultant with Purcell architects, based in Marygate, York, where is also training as a building surveyor through the College of Estate Management. He regularly supports the MA teaching programme at York (Conservation Studies) and has undertaken many heritage-based reports for major sites in the UK, including Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site and, more recently, Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham.

The University of York’s Department of Archaeology hosts York Heritage Research Seminars, which are live-streamed and accessible to viewers from around the world. To learn more about these lectures, and watch other videos in this series, please click here.

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