Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is a fine example Early English Gothic Architecture, which stands proud in the centre of the Wiltshire city of Salisbury. Built in the first half of the 13th Century when England was a Roman Catholic nation, the cathedral was known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and responsible to the Pope in Rome. In the 16th Century England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and Salisbury became an Anglican Cathedral under King Henry VIII, the Supreme Head of the Church of England and became known as Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury 1

Prior to the beginning of the 13th Century the Cathedral was located at Old Sarum, about two miles north of Salisbury. Constructed on an old hill fort next to Old Sarum castle the Cathedral was consecrated on 5th April 1092. However, due to a falling out between the clergy and the local military authorities, Richard Poore – Archbishop of Salisbury sort permission to move the Cathedral to its current location at Merryfield, close to the confluence of The River Nadder and River Seven

The Old Sarum Cathedral was demolished and much of the stone removed and used in the construction of the new cathedral, which commenced in 1220 AD, with the bulk of the cathedral completed in in 1258 AD, an amazing construction period of 38 years. Only the cloisters were added later (1258 AD), Chapter House (1263 AD) and tower and spire (1320 AD)

Because of its closeness to the Rivers Nadder and Seven and water meadows, the water table is naturally high, meaning that the foundations of this enormous structure are only four feet deep the ground.

The Cathedral houses one of only four copies of the Magna Carta (1215). The Salisbury copy is considered to be the best preserved: of the others one is held at Lincoln Cathedral and the other two kept at the British Library. Salisbury Cathedral is also home to what is believed to be the world’s oldest working clock dating back to 1386.

The Cathedral spire is the tallest in Great Britain reaching an incredible height of 404 feet above the ground. Built in 1320, a century after the foundation stone for the main building was laid, the tower and spire added an additional 6,397 tons to the building. Over the centuries the addition of buttresses, bracing arches and anchor irons have been added to ensure the stability of the spire.

A gallery of images of Salisbury Cathedral have been added to my web site and can be accessed at Salisbury Images. If you have any questions about this blog or the Salisbury images please contact


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