If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
FAMED as the city of the soaring spire, Salisbury did not begin to take shape until the early part of the 13th century. It evolved from an Iron Age camp on a
hill a mile to the north, which was strengthened by the Romans and called Serviodunum. Then the Normans built a castle and cathedral on the site, which became known as Sarum.
The first recorded use of the name Sarum (the word is a corruption of an abbreviation used by medieval monks for the various spellings of the Anglo Saxon name, one of which was Sarisberia) was on the seal of St Nicholas' Hospital, which was in use in 1239.
But the clergy found the hillside spot at Old Sarum, as it is now known, too harsh. They also found the neighbouring castle garrison troublesome. So in 1220 Bishop Richard Poore laid the foundation stone of a new cathedral among lush green fields and streams to the south. The cathedral was completed 38 years later and a community, known as New Sarum and now called Salisbury, grew around it.
Originally the cathedral had a flat, squat tower. The soaring 404ft spire that makes it England's tallest cathedral was added in the next century.
A walled Close with houses for the clergy was built around the cathedral and a new town, arranged in a grid pattern of streets, spread out from there. A prosperous wool and cloth trade allowed Salisbury to flourish during the next four centuries and, when the wool trade declined, new crafts were established in the city and villages surrounding it - including cutlery, leather and basket work, saddlery, lacemaking, joinery and malting.
By 1750 it had become an important road junction and coaching centre - and then Victorian times brought the railways to Salisbury, creating a new age of expansion and prosperity. Today Salisbury is a thriving tourist centre, with its cathedral and host of other fine historic buildings, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Tourists are also drawn to the city because of its closeness to Stonehenge and stately homes such as Wilton House, Breamore House, near Fordingbridge and Longleat, near Warminster.
GETTING TO SALISBURY
The A30, A36, A338, A360 and A345 all converge on the city giving access to and from London, Andover, Winchester Bristol, Bath, Bournemouth, Stonehenge and Devizes.
Trains run throughout the day between London (Waterloo) and Exeter via Salisbury and there are also services from Salisbury Station between Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, Southampton and Portsmouth.
For exact train times contact National Rail Enquiries 08457 48 49 50 (local rate)
National Express and Stagecoach operate services from Salisbury Bus Station to Heathrow Airport and Victoria Coach Station in London. The Wilts and Dorset Bus Company also operate regular services to the New Forest and Stonehenge. For details and times ring National Express 020 7529 2000
The nearest airports to Salisbury are Southampton and Bournemouth International.