Durham is a northeastern country near Scotland and facing the North Sea. Modern Durham was after the Norse invasions (9th century) located withon the Dane Law. The name "Durham" interestingly comes from a fusion of Old English and Old Norsecomes. The Old English "dun" meant hill and the Old Norse "holme" meant island. And the center of Durham city was a bend in the River Wear nearly creating an island. Dun Cow Lane was said to be on of the first city streets and it was here that the the monks of Lindisfarne carried the body of Saint Cuthbert (955 AD). The imposing Norman castel and cathedral were built on a hill within the bend of the river (11th-12th centuries). Durham Cathedral is notable as the greatest Romanesque (Norman) building in England. As a result, it dominates the countryside for miles around. Durham and Durham Castel was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil war. Durham was important during the Industrial revolution. The city saw the creation of the world’s first passenger railway (1825). Important coal fields were located in the county and coalbecame the county’s main industry until the 1970s. Virtually every village around the city had a coal mine. A HBC reader tells us that he was born in what was County Durham, but in 1974 thanks to local government reorganisation, the town I live in became part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear.
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