Durham Cow

Art Durham County Durham

Durham Cow

Art In Durham, County Durham

Life size sculpture referring to the legend of Durham's founding on the banks of the River Wear

If you visit Durham City you may be informed of the legend about how Durham was formed. All starting back in 687 AD when Saint Cuthbert died.


As this is not a history lesson we jump forward to 995 AD and Saint Cuthbert is still on a grand tour. Trouble was afoot in the Warden Law area not far from Seven Sisters. The cart that carried the coffin was stuck fast in mud and was not going to move. The cortege was large and included Bishop Aldhun who had a dream that St Cuthbert should be laid to rest at Dunholme. Nobody in the cortege knew where Dunholme was.

Enter a milkmaid looking for her dun cow, to be told by a fellow maid that it had been seen heading towards Dun Holme (Hill in old English and island in Norse). This conversation was overheard and by jove, the cart with the coffin could be moved. The cortege followed the milkmaid one assumes at a safe distance as in all good legends. And admiratio! You know the rest.


So on a walk to see the Durham Cow I am on the banks of the river Wear at The Racecourse and what do I see? Well, it's an Ox. It most certainly looks ox-like, which according to various sources are not milked due to generally being castrated males.  

Andrew Burton created this in bronze in 1997. I wonder what his remit was? Chimerical? Apparently it is surrounded by oversized clock pieces

Just for interest oxen are used for their draft strength. They have more stamina and can pull heavier loads than horses but are slower. The only problem is they cannot stand on 3 legs for long periods, so slings to hold them up are used when being shod.


You see its ribs because this beast of burden uses its energy in physical activity. Milk cows produce milk and beef cattle produce flesh. 

It looks like many people are trying to get lucky whilst in Durham City as one leg is shiny, and some have straddled the beast as the shoulders show signs of being rubbed. 

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Where Is Durham Cow

Where Is It?

What three words
junior.useful.cape

Lat / Long
54.775509, -1.563342
Show Place On Google Maps

Head towards the River Wear along Territorial Lane and turn right into The Racecourse, which is now a cricket ground. Follow path along river for approx 500 metres. You should see bandstand and the Durham Cow before it.


Where To Park?

What three words
former.pose.care

Lat / Long
54.775375, -1.571245

Show Parking On Google Maps

On street parking in Old Elvet. Free after 14h00

Rosalind Parker

Place contributed by Rosalind Parker

Thanks for reading through and getting to the end of this post. I enjoy exploring the Fabulous North (Especially as a Southerner residing up North). I like 'snippets' of information, and more so, if they are obscure, amusing or meaningful. The photographs are taken on a mobile phone, without any enhancements.

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