The Durham Cathedral 3D sanctuary knocker, which you can see below, brings one of Durham's most iconic images into the digital age and shows it off to the world in full 3D detail.
The Durham Cathedral 3D sanctuary knocker is a digital representation of the huge bronze door knocker that adorns the main north door of Durham Cathedral.
The Durham Cathedral 3D sanctuary knocker was created by ExplorAR after photographing the knocker hundreds of times from different angles, making this world famous icon of Durham available to look at in all its hideous gargoyle glory wherever you are in the world.
When the Durham Cathedral 3D sanctuary knocker loads up below, you can spin it around and zoom in and out:
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The Durham Cathedral 3D sanctuary knocker shows off its design, which depicts an Anglo-Saxon version of ‘hell-mouth’ - the entrance to hell. It includes a man being eaten by a lion, which in turn is being eaten by a double-headed snake. The original knocker, which was cast in 1155, is in the Durham Cathedral Open Treasure exhibition for safe keeping; the one on the door is a replica and has been in place for the last 30 years or so. Over the centuries, the design of the Durham Cathedral sanctuary knocker has become an iconic symbol of Durham.
Durham Cathedral sanctuary was a lifeline to many a desperate person down the centuries. Far from being a quaint tradition, sanctuary was a matter of life or death.
The story goes that to claim Durham Cathedral sanctuary, the criminal had to grab the big circular handle of the sanctuary knocker. Their pursuers then had to leave them alone, on pain of death. In practice, the fugitive may simply have needed to be within the sanctuary boundaries of Durham Cathedral to be safe.
The name of the fugitive would then be recorded in the Durham Cathedral sanctuary book. Between 1464 and 1525, 331 criminals claimed Durham Cathedral sanctuary, including 283 murderers. There was clearly a bit of a trend among the homicidal.
Spin the Durham Cathedral 3D sanctuary knocker around using your mouse (or finger on mobile) and enjoy seeing the nominal symbol of Durham in close 3D detail.