I was asked recently by a client if I could create them a chocolate version of the sanctuary knocker from Durham cathedral’s northern door, as you can see i did, but what an interesting story behind this small bronze artifact.

The knocker dates back to the 12th century is an important part of the cathedral’s history.  

The narrative reads, people who ‘had committed a ‘great offence,’ like murder in self-defence or breaking out of prison, could rap on the knocker, and they would be grated 37 days of sanctuary during which they could try to make peace with their enemies or plan an escape.

The Galilee bell would be rung to announce that it had been granted.

The sanctuary seeker was be given a black robe to wear, with St Cuthbert’s Cross on the left shoulder to mark them as being granted sanctuary by God and his saint Cuthbert and was provided food, and lodgings drink, bedding at the abbey’s expense, until the person’s safe departure from the diocese could be arranged.

There is a book about Durham cathedral in 1593, that mentions the Right to Sanctuary as a “freedom confirmed not only by King Guthred (King of Northumbria between 883-894) but also by King Alfred the Great (‘King of the Anglo-Saxons’ from 849-899).” 

The Right to Sanctuary was abolished in 1624.

I decided to cast the knocker using dark chocolate from São Tomé and then dust with a little bronzing powder.

The picture was taken by top photographer Paul robinson (aka yorkshire gourmet)

Request a Quote

Fill out the form below with your details and we will get back to you as soon as possible with a personal quote.

* indicates a required field