Salisbury, Wiltshire's only city is smaller than the urban sprawl of Swindon and a total contrast to it. The city of the present was founded because a shortage of water, bad weather and disputes with the military forced the clergy to leave the former exposed site at Old Sarum to establish a new cathedral in a more suitable place.
Work started on the cathedral in 1220 and the people of Old Sarum followed the clergy to the new site. In 1227 Henry III granted Salisbury its first charter, and it became an important centre to the cloth trade.
The city has kept its architectural heritage and the modern stopping centre is in no way intrusive. There are medieval buildings with bow windows and overhanging gables standing side by side with grand Georgian buildings in harmonious contrast.
Salisbury's wide and busy market place is surrounded by old, large buildings and its modern shopping centre. In Butchers Row traders still cluster round the hexagonal Poultry Cross as they have since the 15th century. The Haunch of Venison, a 14th century inn is close by. The old towns street system is built on a grid system, with six streets running east to west, crossed by five streets running north to south. Each square within the streets was named after a building within it, such as Salt Lane, Fish Row, Ox Row and Chipper Lane. All relating to their commercial origins.
Salisbury was fortified in the fourteenth century, partly with stone taken from the by then derelict cathedral at old Sarum. Parts of the wall remain, including the North Gate in High Street and St Ann's Gate in St Ann Street. Five rivers Converge just to the south of the city, the Avon, Nadder, Bourne, Wylye and Ebble.
The Old George Hotel in High Street was built around 1320 and Cromwell stayed there in 1645. In New Street is the New lnn, built in the 14th century In New Canal the entrance to the cinema is John Halle's 14th century banqueting hall, restored by Augustus Pugin in 1834. The Library in Castle Street was originally the market house. In Salt Lane a little northeast is the Shoemakers' Guildhall of 1638. The Church House in Crane Street once belonged to a wool merchant, then later became the house of correction and workhouse. The Kings Arms in St John's Street is said to be as old as the cathedral and the White Hart hotel, which is the largest in the city, was a coaching inn of importance where King Henry VII is reputed to have stayed. The Rose and Crown was built in the 14th century and the Joiner's Hall was built in the 17th. In Trinity Street stands Trinity Hospital, founded in 1379. The House of John à Port in Queen Street was built in 1425 and the Guildhall 1795.
In the Close and Choristers' Green there are many old and attractive buildings comprising the largest cathedral close in England. In 1692 The College of Matrons was founded for the widows of clergymen. The National Trust owns Mompesson House and The Wardrobe houses a military museum and King's House is another museum. Leadenhall, Malmesbury House, built in the 14th century and the South Canonry are well worth a visit. In 1665 King Charles II sat out the great plague at the 13th century Bishop's Palace and from its gardens John Constable painted the cathedral.
North Gate - Salisbury Cathedral
Grade 1 listed arch built fourteenth century
Butcher Row, Salisbury
Looking towards Queen Street. This Row is directly south of the Market Place and shows the backs of some of the businesses that front onto the Market Place.
Salisbury - Poultry Cross
This cross was built as a shelter for market traders in the 15th century to shelter market traders from bad weather. The fancy roof was added in the 1850s.
Salisbury Cathedral and water meadows
View of Salisbury Cathedral and the water meadows between the River Nadder (seen here) and River Avon. Photo taken from near the mill on the River Nadder.