Old Sarum

Foundation of Sarum Cathedral, used until the middle of the 13th century

It is entirely fascinating to live in an area with so much history. Stonehenge and castle ruins in the same day! There are stories everywhere. And the "new" things are those that date from after 1600. Old Sarum is old. Read the novel, Sarum, by Edward Rutherfurd, if you have the time. The place is prehistoric and onward. The castle/fort at Old Sarum was built by William the Conqueror (1066---remember?), but it was occupied well before his time. The trenches around the outside of the hill were in place before, but the moat around the castle was his. Most of the walls you will see below were faced with hewn stones, which have been scavenged over the years. Only a few are left. The flint stones were used to fill.

Old Sarum was abandoned in the late 13th century, mainly because there was no space for growth and a not enough water to maintain a community. It eventually came into private ownership, but continued to send representatives to Parliament until the early 19th century. You do get a great view of Salisbury and the cathedral from there.

Walking around ruins is one of my favorite things, and Old Sarum is wonderful in that regard---literally a peak experience.

A model of Old Sarum which is in the cloisters at the Salisbury Cathedral. The cathedral is on the near right. All that remains of the city is the foundations of the cathedral and ruins of the castle.

The first thing you see coming up from the car park is the moat. Probably never had water in it, but it looks like a good defensive device nevertheless.

This once was a tower. (See the model.)

The chapel for the castle, with a stone altar.

The only current inhabitant of the castle that we could find was this magpie.

Quarters for the warden of the castle.

The same area from a distance.

Holes where beams were placed for the ceiling and 2nd level floor. Folks weren't very tall then---these holes were barely 6 feet high.

If you're like me, you always wonder where the loo is. This was one of them, and it doubled as a garbage dump, too. The Romans had much better sanitary facilities.

A closer view of the tower.

William the Conqueror took the oath of feality from his vassels in this castle. And he could keep an eye on them from up here, too.

William the Conqueror walked here. So did we, and really didn't think too much about it until later.

And isn't it amazing that I should find the most beautiful woman in the world here in this castle, and got to take her picture.

And even got to have my picture taken with her.

This is what's left of the castle wall. Note the cut stones on the face to the left.

Inside the wall.

On patrol atop the earthen wall.

Bill Gavitt, Sr. ponders the ruins of the castle bakery.

Look carefully at the well-shaped stone on the end. This was the entry way into a great hall---maybe where William met with the newly conquered nobles of England.

The castle keep---where all the common folk like us would be, if we got in at all.

Looking from the old to the "new". The Salisbury Cathedral was completed in the 2nd half of the 13th century.