Monday, April 20, 2009

Salisbury, England - June 11, 2008

Salisbury is an English cathedral city in the county of Wiltshire, where the rivers Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne join the Avon, which flows south to the sea. The city's origins can be traced back to the Iron Age and the location was most probably chosen for its abundance of water. The first cathedral, built by St Bishop Osmund between 1075 and 1092, actually at Old Sarum, and was replaced by a larger one on the same site around 1120. Later, the clergy fell out with the military command at Old Sarum and, in 1220, started building a new cathedral a couple of miles away.
Thus began the city of New Sarum, now known as Salisbury. The main body of the church was completed in just 38 years and is considered a masterpiece of Early English architecture
. The 400 foot spire, the tallest in the UK, wasn't built until later. The cathedral contains the best preserved of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta as well as the oldest surviving mechanical clock in Britain that was installed in 1386.
The new town was laid out in a grid pattern, and by the 14th century, was the foremost town in Wiltshire. The city wall, built in the 14th century, originally had four gates, High Street Gate, St Ann's Gate, the Queen's Gate, and St Nicholas's Gate. A fifth gate was created in the 19th century. Salisbury has been a market town since 1227 and nowadays the market is held every Tuesday and Saturday. Stonehenge is about 8 miles northwest of town and, along with Old Sarum and the original cathedral, the area attracts a lot of visitors. Pictures of Olde England here.

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