This project asks two key questions: Why did pilgrimage matter in the past and why does it still matter today?

To help answer these questions it focuses on the rich histories and contemporary stories of four important English cathedrals: Canterbury, Durham, Westminster and York.

As well as exploring the experience of pilgrims in the past, the research team is also asking those visiting and managing cathedrals today to share their own experiences and views through this website.

Discover more about the project, its aims and those involved.
See where we've been and what we've been doing via our blog.
View and upload photos about pilgrimage and visiting cathedrals.


The tomb of Venerable Bede
15th April 2016

‘Is there any one feature or area of the cathedral to which people/you personally feel especially drawn? Can you explain why?’ ‘What is your least favourite feature or area of the cathedral?’
These are some of the questions that we ask people who visit cathedrals or who work and volunteer there. We have noticed that when answering that question many people do not just specify a place but also a time to visit that place, so it seems to be a question of the intersection of the two.

St Cuthbert's Shrine in Durham Cathedral
10th December 2015

Christmas has long been a time associated with receiving ghostly and spectral visitations. Dickens’ Christmas Carol is the most famous example, with Scrooge haunted by the ghost of his former business partner Marley and a series of Christmas spirits.

Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago
10th November 2015

We are now into the second year of our project and we have carried out at least one month of fieldwork at each of our case study cathedrals. Among other things, we were interested to see what model of pilgrimage the cathedrals are presenting.

29th October 2015

We might think of St Francis of Assisi as the original saintly animal conservationist, but while he merely(!) preached to the birds, Durham’s St Cuthbert is popularly believed to have taken steps to ensure that some of Northumberland’s eider duck population enjoyed his personal protection.

Get involved!

Member login