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Learn more about Salisbury

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Population: 45,000 (2006)
Ordnance Survey
OS grid reference:SU145305
District: Salisbury
Shire county: Wiltshire
Region: South West England
Constituent country:England
Sovereign state:United Kingdom
Ceremonial county: Wiltshire
Historic county: Wiltshire
Police force:
Fire and rescue: {{{Fire}}}
Ambulance:Great Western
Post office and telephone
Post town: SALISBURY
Postal district: SP
Dialling code: 01722
UK Parliament:
European Parliament: South West England
Image:Flag of England.svg

Salisbury (pronounced 'Solsbree' or 'Sauls-bree') is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England. The city itself forms the largest part of the Salisbury district. It is also sometimes called New Sarum to distinguish it from the original site of settlement at Salisbury, Old Sarum. A native of Salisbury is known as a "Sarumite"[citation needed]. In 1990 Salisbury was twinned with Saintes in France, and in 2006 with Xanten in Germany. The city is located in the south-east of Wiltshire, at the edge of Salisbury Plain.

Salisbury railway station serves the city, and is the crossing point between the West of England Main Line and the Wessex Main Line making it a regional interchange.

It is at the confluence of five rivers: the Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne are tributary to the Avon (Celtic for 'river'), which flows to the south coast and into the sea at Christchurch, Dorset.


[edit] History

It is because of the abundance of water that the location was chosen for a settlement. The city's origins go back to the Iron Age. The Romans called it "Sorviodunum". There was a battle between the West Saxons and the Britons here, after which the place was called "Searoburh". The Normans built a castle and called it "Searesbyrig" or "Seresberi". By 1086, in the Domesday Book, it was called "Salesberie". The site of the castle is now known as Old Sarum. The bury element is a form of borough, which has cognates in words and place names throughout the Germanic languages. For a fuller explanation, see under borough.

Image:Salisbury Cathedral from Cathedral Yard.jpg
Salisbury Cathedral from the Cathedral Close. At 123 metres (404 feet), the spire is the tallest in the UK.

The origins of the name "Sarum" are obscure. The most likely origin derives from the fact that Sarum came into use when documents were written in contracted Latin. It was easier to write Sar with a stroke over the "r", than write the complete word "Saresberie". That mark of was also the common symbol for the Latin termination "um". Hence "Sar" with a stroke over the r was copied as "SarUM". One of the first known uses of "Sarum" is on the seal of Saint Nicholas Hospital, Salisbury, which was in use in 1239. Bishop Wyville (1330-1375) was the first Bishop to describe himself "episcopus Sarum" <ref>Victoria History of Wiltshire Vol. VI, pp. 93-94</ref>.

Image:Salisbury Cathedral West Front.jpg
Great West Front of Salisbury Cathedral

The first cathedral was built at Old Sarum by St Bishop Osmund between 1075 and 1092. A larger building was subsequently built on the same site in c.1120. However, deteriorating relations between the clergy and the military at Old Sarum led to the decision to resite the cathedral elsewhere. Thus the city of New Sarum, known as Salisbury, was founded in 1220, and the building of the new cathedral begun by Bishop Richard Poore in that year. The main body was completed in only 38 years and is a masterpiece of Early English architecture. The stones which make up the cathedral came from Old Sarum. The 133 metre (404 feet) spire was built later and is the tallest spire in the UK.

The cathedral is built on a gravel bed with unusually shallow foundations of 18 inches upon wooden faggots: the site is supposed to have been selected by firing an arrow from Old Sarum, although this is clearly legend due to the distance involved. It is sometimes claimed the arrow hit a white deer, which continued to run and died on the spot where the Cathedral now exists.

The cathedral's library contains the best preserved of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta.

In 1386, a large mechanical clock was installed at Salisbury Cathedral. It is the oldest surviving mechanical clock in Britain.

The city wall surrounds the Close and was built in the 14th Century. There are five gates in the wall, four are original, a fifth was created in the 19th Century to allow access to Bishop Wordsworth's School located inside the Cathedral Close. They are known as the High Street Gate, St Ann's Gate, the Queen's Gate, and St Nicholas's Gate. A room located above St Ann's Gate is where the composer Handel is known to have stayed, and whilst there wrote several works. During the Great Plague of London, Charles II held court in the Close.

The novel Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd, is an imaginary retelling of the history of Salisbury.

[edit] Economy

Image:SalisburyMarket20040724 CopyrightKaihsuTai.jpg
The 15th century Poultry Cross in the Market Place originally marked the section of the market trading in poultry.

Salisbury holds a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays and has held markets regularly since 1227. In the 15th century the Market Place was dotted with stone crosses marking the centres for certain trades and goods. Today only the Poultry Cross remains, although the addition of flying buttresses was made in 1852.

In 1226, King Henry III granted the Bishop of Salisbury a charter to hold a fair lasting 8 days from the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (15 August). Over the centuries the dates for the fair have moved around, but in its modern guise, a funfair is now held in the Market Place for three days from the 3rd Monday in October. However, there is still an ancient law stating that the fair can be held in the Cathedral Close.

The world famous Stonehenge site is about 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Salisbury and greatly aids the local economy. The city itself, Old Sarum and the original cathedral also attract visitors.

Shopping centres include The Old George Mall, The Maltings, and Winchester Street. The BBC conducted a survey in 2006 of towns around the country and Salisbury was among the 40% and shrinking number of "home towns" as opposed to "clone towns".

Major employers include: Salisbury General Hospital, Friends Provident and Pains Wessex.

[edit] Culture

Salisbury has a strong artistic community, with galleries situated in the city centre, including one in the public library. In the 18th century, John Constable made a number of celebrated landscape paintings featuring the cathedral spire and the surrounding countryside. Salisbury's annual International Arts Festival, held in late May to early June, provides a programme of theatre, live music, dance, public sculpture, street performance and art exhibitions.

Some buildings in Salisbury are reputed to be haunted. Ghost tours are popular with locals and visitors. One such building is the local Odeon cinema located in the House of John Halle. It is the oldest building in the UK to contain a cinema.

[edit] Geography

Salisbury is located in a valley. The geology of the area, like much of South Wiltshire and Hampshire, is largely chalk. The rivers that flow through the city have been redirected and along with landscaping have been used to feed into public gardens. They are popular in the summer, particularly Queen Elizabeth Gardens as the water there is shallow and slow-flowing enough to enter quite safely. Close to Queen Elizabeth Gardens are water meadows, the water is controlled by weirs. Because of the low-lying land, the rivers are prone to flooding particularly during the winter months. The Town Path, a walkway that links Harnham with the rest of the city is at times unpassable.

A frequent cause of concern to the people of Salisbury is the lack of adequate roads. There is no motorway that links the ports of Southampton and Bristol meaning that all traffic must pass through the city.

The closest town is Wilton which is the ancient capital of the former county and kingdom of Wessex. Other places, to the west of the city, include Barford St Martin, Tisbury and Gillingham (Dorset). To the east can be found the garrison town of Tidworth, and slightly further lies Andover. Alderbury and Romsey are to the south, as is Salisbury's largest neighbour, Southampton. Finally to the north are Warminster and Westbury.

To the north and east is a large flat expanse of Salisbury Plain. This area is used by the military for manoeuvres and weaponry testing. There is a military aviation base at Middle Wallop, a civil airfield at Thruxton and another airfield at Old Sarum where the experimental aircraft the Optica was developed and tested.

[edit] Leisure

Image:Salisbury racecourse.jpg
Salisbury Racecourse with the cathedral in the distance.
  • The Bishop's Walk on the edge of the city provides excellent views.
  • The Five Rivers Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool is located just outside of the ring road and was opened in 2002.
  • The local theatre is the Playhouse.
  • The City Hall is a multi-purpose entertainment venue and hosts comedy, musical performances as well as seminars and conventions.
An old building in Salisbury

[edit] Media

Salisbury is served by its own radio station, Spire FM. BBC Radio Wiltshire is a regional station for the whole of the county. The Salisbury Journal is the local newspaper.

Local event information can be found on The Best of Salisbury website

Salisbury falls into the BBC's southern region. Commercial TV is supplied by Meridian.

[edit] Areas within and around Salisbury

  • Bemerton Heath
  • Bishopdown
  • Bishopdown Farm
  • Bodenham
  • Britford
  • Churchfields
  • Clarendon
  • Constable Court
  • East Harnham
  • Ford
  • The Friary
  • Fugglestone Red
  • Homington
  • Laverstock
  • Lower Bemerton
  • Milford
  • Netherhampton
  • Nunton
  • Odstock
  • Paul's Dene
  • Petersfinger
  • Riding's Mead
  • Quidhampton
  • Shady Bower
  • Solstice Park
  • Spire Views
  • Stratford-Sub-Castle
  • West Harnham

[edit] Trivia

  • The Debenhams department store is said to be haunted by Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. The store is on the site where he was beheaded in 1483.
  • Many other Salisburys exist in the world. Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, was formerly named Salisbury.
  • The BBC TV series Archer's Goon was filmed in Salisbury.
  • There is a sundial in St Thomas's Square.
  • Old Sarum was the first place William the Conqueror visited having defeated King Harold at Hastings.
  • At night there is a red light on top of the Cathedral. It is possible to buy postcards titled "Salisbury at Night". The cards are plain black with a red dot.
  • The pub 'The Haunch of Venison' until recently contained a mummified disembodied hand. The hand was severed from its owner's body during a rather heated game of cards. The hand was an important piece of local culture, as well as a tourist attraction. However, the hand was stolen on March 16, 2006. [1]. Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower are said to have met in the small room at the front of the pub whilst planning the D-Day landings.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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