Durham in A.D. 995 was the final resting place of the mortal remains of St. Cuthbert, borne by a band of Saxon monks. The most famous saint in England for six or seven centuries, his body had been moved from place to place, for safety, since his death in 687. The easily defensible peninsula was already a settlement with a Christian history, but the saint's presence helped to establish a larger community and encouraged the building of an impressive stone church—the predecessor of the magnificent cathedral of today. This new book is the eminently readable history of the development of Durham City—and its people—from the earliest times to the present day. It tells the extraordinary story of the growth of this place and of its often turbulent medieval period, when the famed prince-bishops wielded almost regal power over the great expanse of England, north of the Tees, and of the many Scottish raids that tested what Sir Walter Scott called "Half church of God, half castle 'gainst the Scot." It tells, for example, of how Henry VIII put an end to more than five centuries of monastic life in Durham, why an 18th-century monarch had a warm affection for a local relish, and the factors that led to the founding and expansion of the university here, in the 19th century. This is a tale of saints and sinners, of men and monarchs, played out against and within one of the most magnificent backdrops to be found anywhere in the world. The author's skill as communicator and his great affection for the place emerge from the easy manner in which he relates the enthralling story of this beautiful old city, its inhabitants and its visitors down the years.