I.A.N.E. county of England, bordering on the North sea and on the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and York, bounded N. partly by the river Tyne and S. by the Tees; area, 973 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 685,045. Its general aspect is mountainous, particularly in the western part, where it is traversed by branches of a range of hills which has been called the English Appenines. From these several ridges shoot off, and some of them, projecting as far as the sea, terminate in tall cliffs and headlands. The rivers Tyne, Tees, and Wear are navigable for a considerable part of their course, and have important towns and tolerable harbors at their mouths. The valley of the Tees, particularly near its estuary, has much alluvial soil, under careful cultivation, or devoted to pasturage. Here the famous Durham cattle are most extensively reared. Scarcely less celebrated are the Teesdale sheep, more highly prized than any other English breed. In the table lands of the western part, where cultivation is not attempted, are rich veins of lead; and east of this district is the Newcastle coal region, the most extensive in Great Britain. Iron, firestone, and millstone are also found in large quantities. Limestone, some of it peculiarly excellent, underlies a large portion of the county.
Numerous railways and navigable rivers facilitate transportation. The principal manufactures are iron work, pottery, glass, coal, tar, salt, linen, and woollen. With the exception of the groves attached to country seats of the nobility, and some portions of the vale of Derwent, there is little woodland. Durham was formerly a county palatine, the bishop possessing regal rights within its borders; but his jurisdiction was transferred to the crown in the reign of William IV. The county consists politically of two divisions, each of which sends two members to the house of commons. II. An episcopal city and parliamentary borough, capital of the county, built on seven small hills, and nearly encompassed by the river Wear, which is here crossed by several bridges, 60 m. N. N. W. of York; pop. in 1871, 14,406. The river banks are skirted by plantations, hanging gardens, and beautiful public walks, beyond which the houses rise one above another, until they are crowned by the grand cathedral and an ancient Norman castle, on the summit of a rocky eminence. The division between the cathedral and the river has many elegant residences. The old town, N. of the castle, contains most of the shops, and a market place with a fountain.
Among the public buildings and institutions are a town hall in the Tudor baronial style, a number of schools, an infirmary, hospitals, reading rooms, libraries, assembly rooms, a theatre, seven parish churches, various chapels, a school of art, and a university. A college was founded here as early as 1290 by the prior and convent of Durham, which was afterward enlarged, and under Henry VIII. was transferred with all its endowments to the dean and chapter. The present university was opened in 1833, and incorporated in 1837. It has two colleges, University and Bishop Hatfield's hall, instituted in 1846 for divinity students. The cathedral was founded in 1093. Its length, including the western porch, is 507 ft., its greatest breadth 200 ft., and it has a central tower 214 ft. high, besides two low towers, once surmounted by spires. The predominant style is early Norman, but in the various additions are specimens of the different styles which had prevailed in England up to the close of the 14th century. The Galilee chapel at its W. end, built by Bishop Pudsey in the 12th century, contains the remains of the Venerable Bede; those of St. Cuthbert, patron of the church, rest in the chapel of the nine altars.
The old church of St. Nicholas, partly repaired and partly rebuilt in 1858, is one of the finest specimens of modern church architecture in the north of England. Opposite the cathedral stands the castle, founded by William the Conqueror for the purpose of maintaining the royal authority in the adjoining districts and protecting the country from the inroads of the Scots. Many additions have been made to it, and it is doubtful whether any part of the original keep, except the foundation, now remains. For many years it was the residence of the bishop, but of late it has been given up to the uses of the university. The see of Durham was long the richest in England, and for the three years ending with 1831 the average annual net revenue of the bishop was £19,066; but in 1836 his income was fixed at £8,000, the surplus being added to the incomes of poorer bishops. - The opening of collieries and construction of railways has given a powerful impetus to the trade and population of Durham. It has manufactories of carpeting and mustard. By the Great North of England railway it is connected with Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and by the Newcastle and Tyne railway with the W. coast.
In the vicinity are Neville's Cross, erected by Lord Neville in commemoration of the defeat of David II. of Scotland in 1346, and the site of a Roman fortress, called the Maiden castle.
Durham Cathedral, north side.