St Giles’ was founded in 1112 by the Bishop Ranulf Flambard. The church was constructed as a chapel for the Kepier hospital that was erected along with the church. St Godric, the hermit of Finchale, was Doorkeeper here for a short time between 1112-1128.
In 1143, the church became caught up in a dispute over the bishopric of Durham following the usurpation of the diocese by William Comyn, Chancellor of King David I of Scotland. The consecrated bishop was forced to take refuge in the church. In response Comyn’s men destroyed the hospital, and possibly part of the church as well.
In 1180, Bishop Hugh Le Puiset (Pudsey) refounded the hospital at nearby Kepier and made extensive additions to the church. Additions to building were also made by Bishop’s Flambard, Pudey and Langley. The church was saved from demolition in the 19th Century and was refurbished to the church that stands today.
In 2012, St Giles’ celebrated its 900 anniversary, including a special service led by the Bishop of Durham (now Archbishop of Canterbury) Rt. Rev. Justin Welby.
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