"The Cathedral of Durham excels all other sacred edifices in the kingdom in the beauty of its situation; and although not so large as some of them, its magnificence is not surpassed by any. It occupies the summit of a lofty peninsula enclosed by the River Wear, which here makes so sweeping a curve that the promontory almost becomes an island. The elevated tableland thus formed is bordered by steep rocks and beautifully wooded slopes, extending to the margin of the river. This singular position adds greatly to the striking effect and grandeur of its general appearance."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]