Durham Cathedral has been described as one of the great architectural experiences of Europe.
- It is a superb example of Romanesque architecture.
- It is a sandstone cathedral, and as such, cathedral icons, were vulnerable to instructions of successive cathedral deans who ordered the cathedral's effacement in the 17th century.
- The nave at Durham contains pointed traverses and pointed arches while flying buttresses in the form of quadrant arches are concealed over the aisles - the main elements of Gothic, 20 years before this style was seen elsewhere in Europe.
- The Shrine of Saint Cuthbert, located in the eastern apsidal end of the cathedral, was a site visited by Medieval pilgrims, including, notably, William the Conqueror, Henry III (1255), Edward II (1322), and Henry VI (1448).
- A sculptured panel on the north-west turret of the Nine Altars Chapel is known as the Dun Cow. The original sculpture was replaced in the 18th century by the existing panel.
Joseph Window in the Nine Altars Chapel
A window in the north wall, an example of Early Decorated or geometrical Gothic consisting of six lights, is known as the Joseph window, on account of the stained glass it originally contained, telling the story of Joseph. There is an inner plane of tracery resting on clustered shafts, which is connected to the mullions of the window proper by through stones. The window occupies the complete width of the north end of the chapel. The original glass is described in the "Rites of Durham":
"In the North Alley of the said Nine Altars, there is another goodly faire great glass window, called Joseph's Window, the which hath in it all the whole storye of Joseph, most artificially wrought in pictures in fine coloured glass, accordinge as it is sett forth in the Bible, verye good and godly to the beholders thereof."
- 17 October 1346 - Battle of Neville's Cross. Medieval sources mention that the monks of Durham watched the battle from the top of the central tower, and started to sing with joy when they saw that the Scots had been defeated.
- 1380 - Consecration of the Neville Screen. The screen was donated by the Neville family in celebration of victory over the Scots at the Battle of Neville's Cross . It was carved from Caen stone, in London, and transported in sections to Newcastle by sea.
- 1538 - Dissolutions of Henry VIII. Cuthbert's shrine was destroyed on the orders of the king, such that no vestige remains.
- 1795 - The Gothic Revival architect James Wyatt (1746-1813) removed the great Early English rose window in the east end and replaced it by the present one. It consists of an outer circle of twenty-four and an inner circle of twelve radiating lights, the mullions of which are received on a foliated circle in the centre.
- 1796 - Original Chapter House of the Monastery partially demolished. When the clerk of works pulled out the keystone of the arch, the collapse of the roof inevitably followed.
- 1895 - Chapter House rebuilt, re-using some original stonework.