"Norman England" Old Sarum by grandmaR

Old Sarum Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 37 photos

We were able to see Constable's paintings of Salisbury Cathedral while we were in London (I looked up their location on the internet). I think this painting of his is very evocative and almost Turner-like. (I love Turner's paintings too.) But I did not know of its existence until today.

The site of Old Sarum is located one and a half miles north of the present town of Salisbury and about two miles from Stonehenge.

The Normans built a royal castle within the earthworks of an Iron Age hillfort. This fortification, named Sorviodunum in Roman times, was occupied successively by the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes.

The original cathedral here was built after the Norman conquest. and was consecrated in 1092. Just five days later, a great storm came and the building was largely destroyed by lightning

During the twelfth century a great tower and palace were built in the inner bailey. The cathedral, begun in the late eleventh century, was constructed on the north side of the outer bailey.

Because of infighting or because the site was too small to support a large cathedral, or because of the great distance from a secure water supply, the Salisbury cathedral was built down on the plain.

After the move to lower ground, Old Sarum began to be reclaimed by nature and, by about 1500, was used only as pasture land. Today, the impressive Norman fortification has been excavated.

  • Last visit to Old Sarum: Jul 2002
  • Intro Updated Feb 21, 2004
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