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Pictures from Old Sarum

Finally got them sorted! it was a very dark, cold and windy day. My camera was not happy, neither were my fingers and a lot of pictures are not worth looking at. Those that I think will be can be seen here.

A brief bit of history. Old Sarum is about two miles north of the present day city of Salisbury. Originally a fort and tribal settlement, it sits on a hill that’s easily defended but rather windswept and bleak. From 500BC it was successively occupied and built upon by Iron Age tribes, the Romans, Saxons, Normans and early English Kings but fell into quick decline in the 13th Century. A dispute between Church and State resulted in a new cathedral being built in what became Salisbury. The settlement, cathedral, royal palace and castle swiftly fell into decline and were progressively demolished to provide building materials for the new city and surrounding villages. The castle lingered on until the time of Henry VIII upon whose orders it was finally taken down.

The site even had a function in World War Two. An anti-aircraft battery was installed to protect the airfield down below. That airfield was very busy when we were there. It’s used mainly by light aircraft flying training companies There must have been forty or fifty landings and takeoffs in the two hours or so we spent. The airfield is also home to some vintage aircraft on show in a hangar and from time to time has flying displays of them. A visit to the castle site and the airfield can easily be combined, on a nice day! Airfield information at http://www.oldsarumairfield.co.uk/site/

The airfield dates from 1917 and many of the original buildings survive and are designated as historic sites. There’s a comprehensive history of the airfield on Wikipedia here.

Old Sarum was the original ‘rotten borough’ in English political history. Despite having a population of nil, it returned two MP’s to parliament until the Great Reform Act of 1832 did away with it.

There’s a short but informative article in Wikipedia here. A longer article on the English Heritage website here including information about opening hours etc.

The site is easily accessible from Salisbury by local bus and there is of course a car park. If you go in winter (or even the end of March!) it can be very windy and cold, so wrap up well. We had a good idea of what it must have been like as a Roman soldier on sentry duty!

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Pictures from Old Sarum

Tagged: , on April 13, 2013 by cubsur51

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