TRESPASSERS who scaled and damaged the gates of the north porch of Durham Cathedral last week may have been trying to steal its world-famous door-knocker, police have said.
A would-be thief attempted to prise the knocker from the cathedral’s north door between 6 p.m. on 28 December, when the cathedral was locked up, and 7 a.m. the next day, when staff discovered the damage.
The original door-knocker, which is in the form of a lion’s head, dates back to 1140. It is extremely valuable, and was placed in the Treasury Museum at the cathedral 30 years ago. A bronze replica was fixed in its place.
The Chapter Clerk at Durham Cathedral, Philip Davies, said: “It’s very sad that someone should want to do such a thing.”
Traditionally, the Cathedral was a place of sanctuary, and fugitives trying to get inside used the knocker to attract the watchman’s attention. Once admitted, they were given sanctuary for a maximum of 37 days.