This is a pair of original antique Victorian solid bronze Durham Cathedral Sanctuary bookends from the 1800's. The front has the gothic face door knocker with a hand on the knocker. It says Durham Sanctuary. The back of the bookends has an inscription about the sanctuary. They are also signed with registration numbers Rd. 699898. They measure 3 1/2 inches or 9cm in width, 4 1/4 inches or 11cm in height and 2 inches or 5cm in depth. They are in great condition and would be a lovely addition to a collection as they are very rare. Here is a bit about the history of the Sanctuary at the Durham England Cathedral:
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. 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. 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.