Kirsty Taylor Creates a Bespoke Sanctuary Door Knocker Collection

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Durham’s Sanctuary Door Knocker Brought to Life!

This summer Kirsty Taylor Jewellery was commissioned to create a very special and spiritual jewellery collection inspired by Durham’s famous Sanctuary doorknocker.

Durham's Sanctuary Door Knocker
The door knocker played an important role in the Cathedral’s history as it was used to alert monks on the arrival of a sanctuary seeker.  This is someone who had committed a great offence such as breaking out of prison or murder.  They were given refuge for 37 days safe inside the Cathedral along with food, drink and bedding.  Their safe passage was then arranged.

It's thought that the door knocker could have been inspired by dragons that appear in Chinese art or architecture, as there are some similarities.  It was this inspiration that lead Kirsty Taylor from Kirsty Taylor Jewellery in Corbridge Northumberland, to create a solid silver reincarnation of the North East’s most talked about door knocker.

In Chinese culture dragons are said by some to be a symbol of majestic power, wisdom, loyalty and good luck.  They are also thought to guard over important individuals or objects of treasure.   It was this inspiration that lead Kirsty to create a collection that would reflect the history and meaning of the dragons importance.

“I loved the idea that the doorknocker was used in times of great need, it symbolised hope and salvation to many when they were at their lowest ebb.  The possible influence of the Chinese dragon also brought another layer to my creation.  I wanted my jewellery to mean something very special to its wearer.  The thought that a dragon is watching over you, keeping you safe, bringing you luck and wisdom would resonate with so many people, myself included” says Kirsty.
The door knocker in a semi finished state.

The wax model half way through the process
From her workshop Kirsty handcrafted a Sanctuary charm for a bracelet, necklace, cuff links and a tiepin.  The design is universal and can be worn by both men and women, which was an important part of Kirstys’ vision for her collection.

The distinctive jewellery collection is now on display in Durham Cathedrals new shop.  Their online shop will be up and running soon so check out the following link in the coming months    The door knocker has been so popular we are starting work on our 2nd collection which will hopefully be available in the run up to Christmas.
The Cloisters at Durham Cathedral

If you would like more details on the Sanctuary Doorknocker Collection then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01434 633000 or drop Kirsty an email on  You can also contact Durham Cathedrals shop directly on 0191 3868669.  The shop is open Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm.

Durham Lindisfarne Gospels

It’s the perfect time to visit Durham as the Lindisfarne Gospels are being exhibited at Durham’s World Heritage Site in Palace Green Library.  The centre piece, the Lindisfarne Gospels is on loan from the British L
ibrary and is well worth a visit.  The exhibition has some of the most precious objects from Anglo Saxon England telling the stories about our famous St. Cuthbert.   For more information on the Gospels check out the following link  

We will be posting more photos soon so we hope you enjoy this very special collection!

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