The site I have studied was Durham Cathedral it is considered to be one of the main pinnacles of the North, it is a site of religious and historical means there are considered to be three main factors that influenced the building and its purpose these three are religion, political and social means. I am going to start off with the factor of religion this all started with a man called St. Cuthbert, he was most famous for his holiness at the Monastery at Lindesfarne and in 685 A.
D when he was 50 year old he became the Bishop of Lindesfarne, but two years later he resigned his post and went to the Farne Islands to die. After his death tremendous amounts of people would come to worship him from all over at his tomb in Lindesfarne. Eleven years after he died monks decided to move his body to a better place, as they were moving him the coffin accidentally opened and they noticed that the body was perfectly preserved so they believed that he was holy and was chosen to become a Saint.
Later in 793 the Vikings invaded the north so the monks had to move his body, in 875 they set off and by the myth it goes that it took the monks 7 years to get to Chester-Le-Street and eventually the monks found a place near the River Wear to rest, as they started to set off again the coffin would not move so the monks thought that this must be the place where St. Cuthbert was meant to be rested. People say that the famous cathedral was built around it and also the city of Durham emulated from that spot.
The cathedral also has many political factors that are supposed to of influenced the building, the most important reason was the Battle Of Hastings, this famous battle in 1066 was where Duke William beat King Harold of England to become the new king. But he realised that his reign was not loved be the people of the north who supported Harold, in 1069 there were rebellions in the north and William took to these swiftly he marched up to the north with his army and brutally murdered every man and child he could find and also burned down the land, this was called the Harrying of the North.
This didn’t prove to be successful as in 1080 there were more rebellions, so instead of taking the abrupt way he appointed his most trusted Norman, William St Calais as Prince Bishop of Durham and gave his royal power and command, he gave him so much power that he had more than the king himself. This proved to be successful as the people of the north trusted a highly important religious person.
In 1093 King William granted permission for the old Saxon cathedral to be tore down and to be replaced by a massively expensive Norman cathedral, this showed the people of the north that he is willing to spend a lot of money on the north and that he wanted to give them their own pinnacle and the best way to do this was through religion, also it showed great intent from William as it proved that the Normans were here to stay and the old Saxon reign was over, the building itself reflects the bishops own power and it is so grand and magnificent.
Also social factors are a benefit of the cathedral as on average the cathedral and its monks fed on average of 300 poor people a day and gave them brilliant hospitality, and for people who are on a pilgrimage then they would look after them and provide them with care. Durham Cathedral was so amazing in that it had the most amount of daughter houses than any other Cathedral in the whole of England so when a monk chose to retire then they knew that they would be provided with the best care.
Also Durham cathedral offered sanctuary to a person who had committed the crime, they would go to the famous knocker at the north side and as soon as they had touched that then they were safe, they would provide the criminal with clothes, food and a place to stay for a certain amount of time and then the criminal would be escorted to the docks and asked to leave the country.
Overall I believe that the most important and influential factor of the building was religion, this was the kick starter for all of the other reasons as this is commonly linked to the others, as the King appointed a Bishop, and how the monks would provide hospitality but most importantly St Cuthbert who was the reason that the cathedral got built as if it want for the monks that moved him then there wouldn’t even be a Durham or Cathedral for that matter, so without religion there wouldn’t be a cathedral and the north wouldn’t be such a historic landmark as it is today with religion.