BROADCASTER Jeremy Vine yesterday joined worshippers at Durham Cathedral as they celebrated the life of one of the North East's patron saints.
And he viewed a priceless copy of the Magna Carta as the cathedral marked St Cuthbert’s Day.
The document was among highlights from the cathedral’s collections of medieval manuscripts, which were displayed to the public in a show-and-tell event in the library.
Durham Cathedral was built as the Shrine of St Cuthbert, and each year on the Saturday closest to the saint’s day, it celebrates with special family events and free tours of the building.
Jeremy Vine visited after being named as a champion of the cathedral’s Open Treasure project, a capital development scheme to transform the visitor experience.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, showed the host of the Eggheads television quiz show cathedral’s priceless copy of the Magna Carta.
The document is among highlights of the cathedral’s collections of medieval manuscripts, which were displayed to the public in the library.
The cathedral holds many artifacts of historical, cultural and religious significance, including paintings, carved stones, textiles, metalwork and manuscripts from as far back as the Anglo-Saxon period.
Most of these are not regularly on public view, although the cathedral is seeking to develop suitable spaces and conditions in which to display them.
Rev Sadgrove, said: “As we look to transform the way visitors experience the cathedral and gain inspiration from it, having someone of the status of Jeremy as an advocate will help raise the profile of this great project.
“The North East has a long tradition of learning. Jeremy himself is an alumnus of Durham University and also an honorary graduate.
“We look forward to making our collections and historic spaces available to people of all ages for learning through exhibitions and new interpretation.
“We are delighted that Jeremy has kindly agreed to become a champion of our Open Treasure project and we value his support.”
Elsewhere in the cathedral, artist Mary Fleeson, of the Lindisfarne Scriptorium on Holy Island, demonstrated her artistic technique and spoke to visitors about her work.
Mary has created a new piece of art inspired by the title page of St John’s Gospel from the Lindisfarne Gospels, combined with her own unique style of freehand Knotwork.
Mary said: “It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything in the cathedral, and it was a nice place to work. It’s a lovely building. I tend to work in a very detailed way and try to capture something of the intricacy of the Lindisfarne Gospels, which is what my new work is about.”