t the Council of London held in 1075 Archbishop Lanfranc proposed the movement of several English Bishoprics to other sites. One of these was the Bishopric of Sherborne and Wilton whose bishop was Herbert of Lothringia. Herbert began the construction of a new cathedral in the confines of the Castle of Sarum. In 1078 Herbert was succeeded by Osmond a Norman who came to England with William the Conqueror. Osmond completed and dedicated the cathedral in 1092. In 1220 it was decided to move the cathedral to a new site. The chosen site was only 2 miles away from Sarum, on meadowland next to the river. The new cathedral was built in a relatively short period of time and was constructed in a consistent style of Early English architecture. The construction was orchestrated by various Bishops starting with Bishop Roger Poore. Six years after the start of construction, when the choir was complete, the bodies of St. Osmond and other important Bishops were moved to the new cathedral. The cloisters were added between 1263 and 1284 and are the earliest that have remained unchanged in England. They form a perfect square and are the same length as the nave. The chapter house is octagonal in shape and has a central pillar with a vaulted ceiling. The spire and its tower were built between 1320 and 1380 and the spire is the highest of its period in the world reaching to a height of 404 feet. Edward III granted Bishop Richard de Wyvile the right to use the stone from the old cathedral and the houses that belonged to it in the construction of the new cathedral and the tower at Salisbury may contain some of this stone.
Henry I appointed Roger, a Norman Monk, as Chancellor. While in Caen Henry and his elder brother William (Rufus) had entered a church and requested the priest say mass. The priest impressed the two with his efficiency that they made him their chaplain. Roger then became chancellor and later Bishop of Salisbury. Roger helped build many churches and castles. ¹
King Stephen arrested Roger, the Bishop of Salisbury. Bishop Roger was a powerful landowner and had several castles. Stephen also arrested Alexander, the bishop of Lincoln and had him imprisoned. Stephen wanted to take control to bishop Roger's castles and the bishop was taken to his castle at Devizes where he was held captive outside the walls and starved until the castle surrendered. Roger's son was also captured and tortured until the castle finally fell to the King. Roger's castle at Sherborne was also captured by Stephen. The castles at Newark and Sleaford in Lincolnshire belonging to bishop Alexander were forced to surrender to the King using the same underhand tactics.
A new site 2 miles from the original site at Old Sarum was chosen for the new Salisbury Cathedral. For a cathedral the construction work was completed in a very short time and the building was consecrated in 1258 only 38 years later.
The tower and spire of Salisbury Cathedral were constructed between 1334 and 1380. The spire at 404ft was the tallest stone spire built in the Medieval era. ¹
3D Virtual Reconstructions
Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past. Built using the popular game development tool Unity 3D, these reconstructions will run in the most of the popular web browsers on your desktop or laptop computer.
Uncover the lives of the hundreds of kings, queens, lords, ladies, barons, earls, archbishops and rebels who made the medieval people an exciting period of history to live through.
Selection of references used:
1. Alan & Veronica Palmer, Pimlico Chronology of Britsh History, ISBN:0-7126-7331-8