The College is fortunate to possess two historic chapels as reminders of the College’s Christian heritage. The Norman Chapel dates from the 11th Century; the Tunstall Chapel, established in the 1540’s, was used by the Prince Bishops of Durham as their private chapel. Both chapels are used for worship within the College and our chaplain, the Rev'd Dr Stephanie Burette, has responsibility over the services held in them as well as the chapel(s) life more broadly.
The chapels are open to all members of the College, everyone is invited to participate, every student can apply for the scholarships for the various positions available (see below). Students from a diversity background are particularly encouraged to do so. We are committed to make the chapels safe places where the diversity of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social, economic, and faith background, is to be honoured and celebrated.
The Chaplain and Solway Fellow: Rev’d Dr Stephanie Burette -- she/her
Raised atheist, Stephanie converted to Anglicanism while she was doing research at Oxford University for her PhD at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. The beauty of the Evensong Choral services at New College was crucial. It is there also that she experienced critical thinking and faith as not excluding each other but enriching each other. Upon her return to Paris, she joined the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, which became her sponsoring parish for ordination to the priesthood. After completing her PhD, she went to seminary at Yale Divinity School, and Berkeley Divinity School, and was also trained at Wescott House, Cambridge, while doing a placement at St John’s College Chapel. Genuinely interested in encountering ‘the other’ in various regions around the world, she has served at St George’s College in Jerusalem and at St James Episcopal Church in Florence, Italy. Since March 2020, she has been working on the Racism Task Force in the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.
In her PhD, her research focus was on paintings in the 17th and 18th centuries France, especially the teaching of rules (and deviations) at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Her study of arts is at the intersection with spirituality, theology, and the body. Her upcoming article in the Journal of Anglican Studies (‘Leaning Chinese’) explores Christian inculturation, Anglican art, and colonialism. She has a particular interest in how artworks (especially painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, and music) shape our representations of God, our relationship with the divine and one another, while involving our whole selves – body included.
As Chaplain at Castle, Stephanie is part of the College Office and is available to every member of the College, of all faiths and none.
I am a third-year Economics student at Castle and have served as Chapel Clerk of the College since July 2019. As Chapel Clerk, I assist Stephanie in the administrative aspect of Chapel which mainly includes organizing the reading rota, ensuring that Chapel is ready for services and communicating with the Common Rooms to distribute information. Chapel has been essential in my student life, providing a space of comfort and peace in the heart of a busy academic community. My favourite memory at Chapel was last year’s  back-to-back Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Great Hall and the Chapel Christmas Dinner at the Court Inn and Norman Gallery. It was an exciting way to end the term! Beyond Chapel, I also serve in a number of other leadership positions in the wider University and Brunei.
My interest within the Church is the history and architecture of Cathedrals and would highly recommend Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth which is a historical fiction of the building of a Cathedral during the medieval era. My academic interest lies in development within South East Asia, and how the idea
The Chapel Clerk Assistant: Enoch Omale
I have been the Chapel Clerk Assistant for over a year and I am really enjoying it. I started off last year as more of a helping hand to Michael during services, but expanded to writing intersessions, giving readings, and double-checking the occasional spreadsheet. I have since come to feel very welcome in the college Chapel community and I bring ideas and a slightly different perspective to the sort of things we do. The Church I attend at home is very different to the traditional Anglican services held at Chapel, so it has been really fascinating to learn more about the history of the Church and about the many different ways people express their faith. I am always interested in finding out what people of different denominations or even faiths believe as I find that being more open to listening helps us understand one another a lot better.
Outside of Chapel, I am in my third year of Computer Science. My final year project links art (specifically photography) and artificial intelligence, to see whether we can try to quantify what makes a “good” photo. Some of my other favourite pastimes include playing football and watching movies!
As well as continuing what has been done in Chapel in previous years, I look forward to expanding the reach of Chapel within the wider college community. Hopefully, we are able to make a positive impact and be there for all, regardless of faith or background.
Choir assistant: Tallulah (Lula) Horton
Tallulah is currently in her second year at Durham studying music, where she holds a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for Music, and a Choral Scholarship at both St John’s and University College. Her musical life began playing the harp at the age of 4, before starting as a major music scholar at Downside School in 2013. Whilst studying with Rachel Bevan, she received her Grade 8 in both voice and Harp. During her gap year, Lula was delighted to receive a place in the BBC Symphony Chorus, London Philharmonic Choir and semi-chorus, and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. As a soloist, Lula has performed the first verse of Once in Royal David City in the Royal Albert Hall’s Christmas Concerts, and most recently in University College Choir’s release of the Duruflé Requiem and Stanford’s Bluebird. Lula is very much looking forward to re-starting music-making with the Choir of University College as soon as is allowed, alongside organising exciting recording projects with priory records and BBC Radio 3 in the coming months.
The Choir of University College, Durham (informally called Castle Chapel Choir) is an auditioned ensemble of sixteen choral scholars and is regarded to be one of the finest choirs in the North East. Led by a student team comprised of the Director of Music, Senior and Junior Organ Scholars and Choir Administrator, singers are a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate members of the University and represent diverse backgrounds and areas of study. The Choir has a busy schedule, leading weekly services of Evensong, Eucharist and Compline in Durham Castle’s two chapels – the eleventh century Norman Chapel and sixteenth century Tunstall Chapel – as well as numerous special services, concerts, recordings and tours.
In July 2020, the Choir released their second CD in three years, ‘In Memoriam’ (featuring Durufle’s Requiem and Parry’s ‘Songs of Farewell’) on the Priory Records label; tracks from the CD were later broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Upcoming plans include further recordings with Priory Records, broadcasts of Choral Evensong, and a Festival of Early Music. The Choir also seeks to further promote and support student composers; in recent years the Choir has commissioned anthems for special services including Holocaust Memorial Day and International Women’s Day. Here is the latest, ‘She considers the field’ by Choral Scholar Jess Norton Raybould.
Auditions take place in Freshers’ Week each year and consist of range and aural tests, two contrasting sight-reading extracts (one polyphonic, one modern) and a short interview with the Chaplain, Director of Music, Organ Scholars, and other members of the Chapel Community. Good sight-reading ability is essential. Previous experience is useful but not essential.