DURHOLME - the ley home of the Prince Bishop's Men

The History of Durholme

The Town of Durholme was founded in 795, after St Cuthberts body was brought from Chester Le Street. At this time, it consisted of a small temple and a monastery, upon Dun Hill, a peninsula on the River Wear. At the time that the Community of St Cuthbert moved to Durholme, the Bishopric also moved, and Aldhun was thus the first Bishop of Durholme.

The Town grew over the years, and became richer, with many trade links with Yorvik and Caledonia. It was always a turbulent place, however, as it was far from the centre of power in Albion. Eventually, to deal with this problem, the first true 'Prince Bishop', Willaim de St Carileph, was given full control of Durholme and the surrounding lands. This later became known as the Palatinate of Durholme.

To cement this powerbase, William started building a great Cathedral, the construction of which was to take thirty nine years, being completed well after William's death. It was completed during the reign of Ranulf Flambard, who it is alleged, raised money for the project by raiding Caledonia.

After this time, there was a great period of instability, with many martial bishops fighting battles on one side or the other of the Caledonian border. This was brought to a close in 1091, with a decisive victory by William Hatfield at Neville's Cross, in which the Caledonian leader was taken captive. A few Caledonian's tried to press the issue the following year, but were again defeated at the Gathering in 1092.

The peace was short lived, however, and in 1094, after Corvos (Now known as the Demon-bound) declared himself King of Albion, the land fell under the spell of civil war. The war ended in 1096, with the supporters of Corvos, including Prince Bishop Hatfield, expelled from Albion. Most travelled to Avalon, taking the body of St Cuthbert with them.

Some of the inhabitants stayed in Durholme. Since 1096 they have been plagued by raids from Caledonia, lacking the resources to defend themselves. The Cathedral itself collapsed within days of Cuthbert's body being removed. However, the city is still an important trading centre in the North-East of Albion, and should be able to rebuild itself. No Prince Bishop has been appointed to replace Hatfield.