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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 12:07 GMT
Monastic bid for world recognition
Stwe Peter's Church, Wearmouth
St Peter's Church in Wearmouth is regularly used
North-east England is bidding for its third world heritage site.

Durham Castle and Cathedral and Hadrian's Wall have already been awarded world status.

Now the outgoing Bishop of Durham, Right Reverend Michael Turnbull, says the twin monastic sites of Wearmouth in Sunderland and St Paul's in Jarrow, South Tyneside, should join them.

A consortium of councillors, clerics and scholars is to ask the government to propose the move to the United Nations.

Monestary at St Paul's church, Jarrow
Monastic remains still exist in Jarrow

Both churches date from the 7th Century and were important during the time of the Venerable Bede.

The Bede's World attraction at Jarrow now features a 4m museum and permanent exhibition on Bede's life and times, plus an 11-acre recreated Anglo-Saxon farm and 18th Century Jarrow Hall.

Bede is renowned as the most learned man of his time and is the author of the first English history to be written by an Englishman.

Mr Turnbull said: "Without a doubt the sites at Wearmouth and Jarrow were internationally important during the time of Bede.

"But they also continue to be important for the local communities who continue to worship at the two churches and the many thousands of people who visit each year."

St Paul's Church, Jarrow
St Paul's Church in Jarrow has been restored

Bede's World director Keith Merrin, said: "With Newcastle/Gateshead going for Capital of Culture status in 2008, it is worth remembering that Wearmouth-Jarrow was the cultural capital of Europe.

"The time is right for this world heritage bid. We consider this to be one of the most important heritage sites in the world.

"Becoming a world heritage site will bring huge benefits to the local area in terms of tourism, educational development and helping to encourage inward investment.

"We know that Wearmouth-Jarrow meets all the criteria to become a World Heritage Site, but we must now put together a strong case."

Dr Peter Stone, director of Newcastle University's International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, said: "The bid is a fascinating one. The site was at the pinnacle of European culture of its time."


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29 Oct 02 | England
13 Sep 02 | England
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