St Cuthbert and the Normans

St Cuthbert and the Normans

The Church of Durham, 1071-1153

William M. Aird


Boydell Press



An alternative view of the Conquest and settlement from north-east England, charting relations between the monastic community and the invading Normans.
North-east England experienced the Norman Conquest rather differently from the south of the country. This account of events in Northumbria gives an important alternative view of the Conquest and settlement, distinct from the more usual southern and court-centred evidence. A key factor in events was the monastic community of St Cuthbert in Durham, which had survived the political upheavals following the collapse of the Northumbrian kingdom under Scandinavian pressure in the ninth century. Its position thus strengthened, it occupied an influential place in the factors ranged against the Normans, who recognised in the community a powerful force for resistance. The history of the community during the Anglo-Norman period is closely examined, particularly the relationship between the new Norman bishops and the monastic cathedral chapter and their respective rights and privileges. From this detailed study, Dr Aird argues that conquest, in the north-east at least, took a different, less traumatic form from that generally assumed from the early twelfth-century description of the reformation of the church in 1083. Throughout this account of events in Durham in the years following the conquest, Dr Aird is careful also to give due emphasis to relations with the Scots kings of the later eleventh and twelfth centuries, and to the distinctive nature of medieval Northumbria and the Haliwerfolc in particular, that region subject to the bishops of the Church.

Dr WILLIAM M. AIRD is Lecturer in History, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh.


October 1998
1 black and white, 18 line illustrations
328 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9780851156156
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC REL070000, HIS037010
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email


A fine study that challenges many assumptions about the history of the church of Durham in its formative years, the nature of the Norman settlement in the north, and the political transformation of the area. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

From specialists in northern England to cultural historians of every stripe, from early medievalists to those whose interests begin hardly before the Reformation, all scholars of the middle ages would profit from a close reading of this book. ALBION

Also by Author

Also in Series