Durham (pop.26,500), fortress town in northern England. A natural defensive site, Durham is located on a peninsula formed by an incised meander of the River Wear. The site was chosen by William I the Conqueror (r. 1066–87) as a bulwark against the Scots to the north. The peninsula was fortified by a wall early in the 12th century, and most of the wall has been preserved. Durham Cathedral was built (in the 11th and 12th centuries) on the site of a shrine to the 7th- century ecclesiastic St. Cuthbert. Many tourists visit Durham Cathedral and the Norman castle that houses the University of Durham.
See also: England.