"Salisbury, a brief history" Top 5 Page for this destination Salisbury by LouiseTopp

Salisbury Travel Guide: 300 reviews and 758 photos


Salisbury is heaped in history if you look down to the bare roots. Salisbury isn't the original name for this pretty part of the South West, it started off on a hilly Bronze-Age hilltop which was called Soverodonium by the Romans after the invasion. A small city was begun here, then the name changed again after the Normans came in 1066 & it became Serum. For a good look into the history I recommend Serum by Edward Rutherford, it gives a in depth look into the distant past of Salisbury & how it began. There was a much smaller cathedral at Serum it's outline still exists today, & there are also two legends about how the present cathedral was built. One was that Bishop Poor had a dream of God telling him where the new cathedral was to be built, the other is of a Knight who fired an arrow from a long bow & where it landed the foundations were to be laid. The arrow itself landed on marshy ground, & is why sometimes there is bad flooding inside & out. There's a picture of a man in a rowing boat inside the cathedral; the shot was taken in 1913. The clergy wanted to move as they were not getting on well with the soldiers, & on coming back one day from the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, they found all the doors were locked; plus the weather conditions were not always suitable.

The cathedral

The new cathedral was started in 1220 & finished in 1258. Salisbury cathedral was a catholic church under the name of St Mary's until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry 8th. The foundations consist of faggots & bulrushes covered by 2ft of gravel; the faggots still exist & were discovered during renovations 10yrs ago. We have the tallest spire in England at 505ft & the oldest clock in the world which is operated by weights & pulleys. The Americans once wanted it, but we said "no way". If you look at the spire you would see that it tilts slightly towards the right, this is because the structure is sinking! There are tours up the spire to see the bells working. Ear-plugs recommended here as they are very loud. The close is the biggest in England with 2 museums & lots of posh houses. Edward Heath (MP) has a house round here, & one of the houses (Mompesson) was used in sense & sensibility; it also has connections with the Tidworth Drummer legend, while I will explain later.

Wooly jumpers

Salisburýs trade was built upon the sheep industry; our local breed is the Wiltshire Horn which (sorry to all you vegetarians) has juicy meat. Salisbury was hit badly by the Plague in the early 16th century, & Cholera in the 17th resulting in the infirmary hospital in Fisherton St to be built, I will also explain about this later too.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:History, surroundings
  • Cons:Traffic wardens, rain
  • In a nutshell:Lots to see & explore
  • Last visit to Salisbury: Dec 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (47)

Comments (5)

  • Aug 19, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    Most of what is written above is fine but the pub doesn't have a thatched roof. The current style of roof (red tiles) has been in place for at least 100 years, probably longer.

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2007 at 1:40 AM

    Now we've come back! What a great city :)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2004 at 6:58 PM

    Thought Salisbury was lovely when we visited in the 1980's, especially the cathedral. However, had I seen your horses I would have chosen them over ALL the other sights. Salisbury sure has more than its fair share of ghosts!

  • gutsylow's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2004 at 6:34 PM

    For Stratford read Stratford-Sub-Castle, not the one where Shakespeare grew up.

  • ettenaj's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2003 at 7:14 AM

    Thats so sad about Warrior you must have been very upset....

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