Salisbury: An ancient English city famous for its elegant, medieval cathedral


Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire

This evening, I am reporting on the ancient English city of Salisbury with particular emphasis on its famous cathedral which ranks as one of Britain’s most beautiful and important ecclesiastical buildings. Location is about ninety miles S.W. of London.

The name Salisbury can be traced back to around AD900 when it was known as Searobyrg which translates as 'stronghold at Sorvio'.

The cathedral dates from 1220 when foundation stones were first laid. Thereafter, construction progressed using limestone from Tisbury, 18 miles away, and  Purbeck stone from Isle of Purbeck.

Other key facts:
  • For 25 years construction was supervised by Elias of Dereham, a canon who may also have been the building’s architect.
  • The Cathedral canons built their own houses in the vicinity resulting in the largest cathedral close in England.
  • Construction was fast by standards of the day with quire, transepts and nave completed in 1258- just 38 years.
  • The ornate west front was finished in 1265.
  • The present tower and spire were added in the 14th century.
  • Constructed uniformly in the Early English Gothic style.
  • The octagonal spire is the tallest (404 ft. above ground) in Britain. May also rank as the most elegant.
Inside Salisbury Cathedral.
Memorial effigies inside Salisbury Cathedral

Within the Cathedral’s Chapter House can be found one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, an early ‘bill of rights’ dating from 1215 which guarantees personal liberties.

Inside Salisbury Cathedral.

Inside Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury and its Cathedral have inspired various writers and authors including Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope, Susan Howatch and William Golding.

Images below show street scenes of Salisbury.

Poultry Cross, Salisbury.

Guildhall, Salisbury.

Market Place, Salisbury.

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