St Peter's Chapel
St Peter’s Chapel is widely acknowledged as the largest private chapel in Europe. The original 12th-century chapel at Auckland Castle was lost in the English Civil War. Bishop John Cosin transformed the medieval great hall into a masterpiece of restoration period church architecture.
Sunday 3 April 2016 - Thursday 24 September 2020
Originally a medieval banqueting hall dating from the 13th century, St. Peter’s Chapel features a series of six columns carved from locally sourced Frosterley Marble, which also adorns the Chapel of the Nine Altars at Durham Cathedral. Bishop Cosin added a spectacular 17th-century ceiling and elaborately carved woodwork screen and pulpits.
The interior was changed and enhanced by the Bishops over the subsequent centuries. Bishop Van Mildert, the last of the Prince Bishops, raised the side aisles and added underfloor heating. Bishop Lightfoot added stained glass windows and a carved oak altarpiece depicting the lives of the region’s most significant saints, including St Cuthbert and St Hilda. The coats of arms of all the successive Bishops of Durham hang on the walls of the side aisles.
St Peter’s remains the private chapel of the Bishop of Durham and is regularly used for services.