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Photographer's Note

The knocker on the Cathedral’s northern door, known as the Sanctuary Knocker, played an important part in the Cathedral’s history. Those who ‘had committed a great offence,’ such as murder in self-defence or breaking out of prison, could rap the knocker, and would be given 37 days of sanctuary within which they could try to reconcile with their enemies or plan their escape.

Keeping Watch for the Seekers of Sanctuary

The Cathedral entrance has now been modified, but it originally had two small chambers above the doorway with windows where monks would be seated keeping a watch out for sanctuary seekers, to let them in promptly, at any time of the day or night.

Announcing a Sanctuary Seeker’s Arrival

When somebody did seek sanctuary in the Cathedral, the Galilee bell would be rung to announce it. The sanctuary seeker would be given a black robe to wear, with St Cuthbert’s Cross sewn on the left shoulder to distinguish them as one who had been granted sanctuary by God and his saint.

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Additional Photos by marion morgan (jester5) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 96 W: 66 N: 583] (1968)
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