Situated between Northumberland to the north, and Yorkshire to the south, County Durham, as it is traditionally known, was an early centre of Christianity in Britain. From the time of William Conqueror, as a protection against invasion from Scotland, County Durham had an unusual independent status, being governed by a Prince Bishop, chosen by agreement between the monarch and local monks. The Prince Bishop had the power to raise taxes, make certain laws and to keep a local army. The last prince Bishop was appointed in 1833.
The most picturesque scenery lies in the west of the county, particularly from Teesdale northwards.
The eastern side of County Durham is more industrial and, until the 1980s, had a tradition of mining going back about 800 years.
Places of interest
With thanks to the following for the images of Durham:
Durham Cathedral © Tom Pennington
North Bailey, Durham © David Martin
Beamish Open Air Museum © Malc McDonald
Billy Hill © Oliver Dixon