Sources for Old Sarum

The following lists provide a summary of the main sources for our knowledge and understanding of Old Sarum.

The Tournai marble tomb slab of Bishop Roger in Salisbury Cathedral with beautifully carved effigy standing above a dragon

The Tournai marble tomb slab of Bishop Roger (d.1139) in Salisbury Cathedral, one of the three bishops’ tombs moved to the new cathedral from Old Sarum on 14 June 1226
© Historic England (courtesy of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral)

Primary Documentary Sources

The earliest written references to Old Sarum (variously described as Sorviodunum, Searobryg, Sarisberie, etc) are scattered entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Burghal Hideage and Domesday Book:

  • Whitelock, D, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (London, 1961), 552 and 1003
  • Robertson, J, Anglo-Saxon Charters (Cambridge, 1939), 246–9 [Burghal Hideage]
  • The National Archives (TNA), Kew, E 31/2/1, 64v, 66r, 69r and 87v [entries in Domesday Book].

The condition of the site shortly after it was abandoned is mentioned by John Leland, who visited Old Sarum in 1540, and described both its then state and what he could establish of the site from what he was told. He also saw material from Old Sarum at Salisbury Cathedral, most importantly the tombs and material from Osmund’s shrine.

Thereafter the documentary history of Old Sarum is surveyed in:

  • Crittal, E (ed), Victoria County History: Wiltshire, vol 6 (London, 1962), 51–68 [accessed 27 Sept 2012]
  • RCHME, Ancient and Historical Monuments in the City of Salisbury, vol 1 (London, 1980), 1–24.

       

The Castle

The castle is better documented than the cathedral, both because it survived longer and because for most of its life it was maintained at the expense of the king. Much of this expenditure was recorded in the Pipe Rolls, the originals of which are kept at the National Archives, with published transcriptions for the period up to 1223 available online. There are also important entries describing work on the castle, curtain wall, gatehouses and cathedral in the Liberate Rolls and Close Rolls, most of which are now published and are available on the internet. The relevant entries in the Rolls are summarised in:

  • Colvin, H (ed), The History of the King’s Works, vol II (London, 1963), 824–8
  • Online versions of many of the Rolls can be found at the Internet Archive and at British History Online [accessed 27 Sept 2012]

A number of miscellaneous administrative documents in the National Archives allude to work on the castle, of which the most revealing is a contract for the repair of the castle dated 7 October 1366 (TNA, E 101/593/31[1]); a transcription and translation can be downloaded from the Related Documents list above.

            

The Cathedral

For the cathedral, many of the primary documentary sources are kept in Salisbury Cathedral Library. The most important of these are the texts of Osmund’s 1091 foundation charter, a short document entitled the ‘Institutio’, and various versions of the Old Sarum Customary (describing the duties of the cathedral’s personnel and the cathedral liturgy). Collectively these are known as the Use of Sarum and were finally brought together at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century.

The Customary effectively exists in three forms: an early Customary which relates to liturgical practice at Old Sarum Cathedral; a 13th-century rescension of the early Customary to which some material has been added intended for churches other than the cathedral; and a new Customary which relates to liturgical practice at 13th-century Salisbury Cathedral. Published versions of the first form can be found in Rich-Jones 1883–4 and the second and third in Frere 1898 (see below).

  • An online edition and translation of all forms of the Customary is available at Sarum Customary Online [accessed 27 Sept 2012]

In addition to the customaries, other documents relevant to the cathedral are published in the works listed below.

  • Frere, W, Use of Sarum, 2 vols (Cambridge, 1898) [second and third forms of the Customary]
  • Frost, C, ‘The symbolic move to Old Sarum’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 98 (2005), 155–64 [includes contemporary letter from Peter of Blois in praise of the move along with a laudatory poem by Henry of Avranches]
  • Greenway, D (ed), Fasti Ecclesiae Anglorum 1066–1300, IV (London, 1991) [includes records of Old Sarum Cathedral officials and prebends]
  • Jones, W and Macray, W, Charters and documents illustrating the history of the cathedral, city, and diocese of Salisbury, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (London, 1891) [compendium of documents relevant to the cathedral]
  • Kemp, B (ed), English Episcopal Acta XVIII: Salisbury, 1078–1217 (Oxford, 1999) [includes episcopal records and charters]
  • Kemp, B (ed), English Episcopal Acta XIX: Salisbury, 1217–1228 (Oxford, 2000)  [includes episcopal records and charters]  
  • Rich-Jones, W, The Register of St Osmund (London, 1883–4) [includes first form of the Customary, and detailed account of the move to the new site by the precentor, later dean, William de Wauda (3–124)]
  • William of Malmesbury, Historia Novella, ed K Potter (Oxford, 1998), 25–8, 31–2, 38–9 [includes reference to work undertaken by Bishop Roger at Old Sarum and related sites]
  • William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum Anglorum, 2 vols, eds RAB Mynors, RM Thomson and M Winterbottom (Oxford, 2007), vol I, 67–8, 430 [includes reference to work undertaken by Bishop Roger at Old Sarum and related sites]
  • William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum Anglorum, 2 vols, ed W Stubbs (London, 1887–9), vol II, 375, 483–4 [includes reference to work undertaken by Bishop Roger at Old Sarum and related sites].

Visual Sources

There are a number of antiquarian sketches, plans and views of Old Sarum dating back to the early 18th century. Copies of most of these are conveniently gathered together at the Salisbury Museum. Many are reproduced in J McNeill, Old Sarum (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2006) (buy the guidebook). The more important are:

  • Map of Old Sarum ‘Burgage Plots’, c 1700
  • William Stukeley, 1723, engraving of Old Sarum
  • Drawings of a tunnel beneath the ramparts at Old Sarum, published in Gentleman’s Magazine, 65, part 3, March 1795, plate opposite page 193
  • J Bafire, 1812, Engraving of Old Sarum from east of the Castle Inn
  • JMW Turner, 1828–9, Distant view from Old Sarum, watercolour (Salisbury Museum)
  • John Constable, 1829, Old Sarum during a storm, oils (Victoria and Albert Museum)
  • H Hatcher, 1834, Plan of Old Sarum Cathedral as revealed in dry weather
  • John Constable, 1834, Old Sarum from the south-west, watercolour (Victoria and Albert Museum, Dept of Prints and Drawings).

          

Plans and Photographs

Some photographs of the 1909–15 excavations were published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (see Excavation reports, below), although a better selection can be seen in the album (which also includes plans and postcards) presented to the Salisbury Museum by DH Montgomerie in 1936. The most comprehensive set of excavation photos comprises W St John Hope’s large format slides at the Society of Antiquaries of London. These are housed in cardboard boxes in the small store attached to Upper Mezzanine Room 2.

Further and more recent photographs, plans and drawings can be found in the Historic England Archive, including:

  • ‘Diagram Showing How the Relative Position of Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Grovely Castle Form a Triangle of Exactly Six Miles A Side’, 19th century (AO0897B)
  • a file containing 213 drawings, including archaeological surveys and works plans dating from the 19th century to 1998 (PF/OSC)
  • a series of photographs taken in 1913 by WE Zehetmayr (BB90/03024–29, BB90/03038).

More details of these and many other items can be found in the online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed in the online catalogue, including a large collection of aerial photography; for a full search, please contact the search team.

Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archive’s price list.

A carved animal head from the early 12th-century cathedral, now in the Salisbury Museum

A carved head from the early 12th-century cathedral, now in the Salisbury Museum
© Historic England (photograph courtesy of the Salisbury Museum)

Material Sources

Loose building materials from Old Sarum (stonework, ceramic tiles and window glass) are divided between the English Heritage Stone Store at Fort Brockhurst (Hampshire), Salisbury Cathedral, and the Salisbury Museum.

        

Material Removed in the 13th Century

Although it is impossible to create a retrospective inventory of material taken from Old Sarum when the cathedral was moved to a new site, it is likely that large numbers of portable artefacts made the journey to Salisbury within two or three decades of the move. The most significant of the portable objects to survive consist of two episcopal tomb effigies, a tomb slab, a Purbeck marble shrine base, and a nationally significant collection of manuscripts. The manuscripts, now in Salisbury Cathedral Library, are the most extensive collection to survive from any 11th- and 12th-century cathedral in England.

The episcopal effigies, tomb slab and Purbeck shrine base are in Salisbury Cathedral. All four are likely to have been removed from Old Sarum in preparation for a dedication ceremony in the new cathedral on 14 June 1226. An account of the ceremony is recorded in The Register of St Osmund (see above), which maintains that the bodies and tomb slabs of three bishops, Osmund (d.1099), Roger (d.1139) and Jocelyn (d.1184), were brought from the old cathedral to the new to mark the consecration of the altar of the Trinity in the axial eastern chapel of the new cathedral.

The two episcopal effigies are generally believed to be the effigies of Roger and Jocelyn. The simple Tournai marble slab inscribed with the date 1099 has long been associated with Osmund, while the Purbeck shrine base is most likely to have been created for Osmund, though whether for a position in the new cathedral after 1220, or at an earlier date in Old Sarum, is uncertain.

            

Stonework Reused from Old Sarum

Huge quantities of stone were removed from the site of the cathedral following its demolition, most of it destined for the building of the new cathedral and associated precinct. This will have been cleaned and dressed for reuse at Old Sarum, and then transported to the new site. The most obvious concentrations of reused 11th- and 12th-century stone are all in and around Salisbury Cathedral, namely the east precinct wall, the cemetery wall, the inner lining of the cathedral upper presbytery and choir wall, the inner nave triforium wall, and the south cloister wall. Some of the stone used for the 13th-century pulpitum now partially reset in the north-east transept at Salisbury Cathedral is also reused Romanesque carved stone, almost certainly from Old Sarum.

In addition there is a quantity of richly carved, mid 12th-century stonework in the cathedral lapidary collection. This is kept in the presbytery roof of the cathedral. The relevant stonework is unprovenanced, though seems likely to have originated in now demolished buildings and garden walls in the cathedral close. This material was included in a short descriptive catalogue known as the ‘Lapidarium Inventory’ produced by Howard Jones in 1998. A copy of the Lapidarium Inventory is lodged in the Cathedral Library. Access to the cathedral lapidary collection can be arranged through the cathedral verger’s office.

The relevant inventory numbers for loose material likely to have come from Old Sarum in the Salisbury cathedral lapidarium are:

  • SC94-SC95 (a capital and a vault fragment)
  • SC 97 (capital)
  • SC100 (finial)
  • SC103–106 (capitals and window jamb fragments)
  • SC109–SC116 (capital fragments)
  • SC119–SC120 (capitals)
  • SC122–SC123 (capitals)
  • SC126–SC137 (finials, wall fragments, capitals)
  • SC142–SC144 (capital fragments)
  • SC146–SC154 (architectural fragments, capitals)
  • SC165 (capital)
  • USC2–USC3 (fragmentary worked stones – possibly from Old Sarum)
  • USC5–USC6 (fragmentary worked stones – possibly from Old Sarum)
  • USC8–USC17 (fragments of stringcourses, columns, capitals, walling, possibly from Old Sarum)

Miscellaneous reused stonework likely to have come from Old Sarum has also been recovered from a number of sites, most if not all of it likely to have come from the castle after 1514 (see Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, vol 1, no. 5715, 26 December 1514). Material from two houses in Stratford-sub-Castle now in the reserve collections at the Salisbury Museum probably came from Old Sarum castle. The most significant quantity of this type of reused 12th-century masonry was found at Toone’s Court, a hall house on Scot’s Lane, Salisbury, which was demolished in 1972.

Of 13th-century origin, the house had been extensively remodelled in the 16th century, when it is likely that stone from Old Sarum was employed around a fireplace and window jambs. Following its demolition this material was also moved to the Salisbury Museum, where it is kept in store. This stonework is itemised in P Saunders (ed), Salisbury Museum Medieval Catalogue: Part 4 (Salisbury, 2012).

            

Stonework Uncovered in the 1909–15 Excavations

Much of the finest work is held in the Salisbury Museum, where it is either displayed in the Shortt Gallery, or kept in the reserve collection. This is catalogued in P Saunders (ed),  Salisbury Museum Medieval Catalogue: Part 4 (Salisbury, 2012; view the Salisbury Museum catalogues).

The greatest quantity of excavated stonework is housed in the English Heritage stone store at Fort Brockhurst, Gosport, Hampshire. A summary inventory can be downloaded from the Related Documents list above. The material is discussed in the 1910–16 Reports of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum (see Excavation reports below), and in various later papers on Old Sarum.

             

Secondary Literature

Excavation Reports

The major excavations at Old Sarum took place between 1909 and 1915, and were published in the form of annual interim reports under the supervision of the director of the excavations, WH St John Hope. Hope, or the site supervisor, Lt-Col William Hawley, delivered the reports as lectures in the spring of the year following the excavations at the Society of Antiquaries of London. These were then published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries between 1910 and 1916. Hope’s death in 1919 meant that a final report was never produced. The relevant reports are:

  • Hope, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 22 (1910), 190–201
  • Hope, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 23 (1911), 501–19
  • Hawley, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 24 (1912), 52–65
  • Hawley, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 25 (1913), 93–104
  • Hope, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 26 (1914), 100–19
  • Hawley, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 27 (1915), 230–38
  • Hope, W St J, ‘Report of the Committee for Excavations at Old Sarum’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Second Series 28 (1916), 174–83

Lt-Col Hawley also kept what he described as a field diary, and which amounts to a narrative account of the excavations, which he deposited with the Salisbury Museum in 1939.

Since the 1909–15 excavations, there have been more limited archaeological investigations. The relevant reports for these are:

  • Bartlett, ADH ‘Old Sarum ‘Chapel Site’, Wiltshire: Report on Geophysical Survey 2003’, CfA Report 60/2003, unpublished report (English Heritage, 2003) 
  • Stone, J and Charlton, J, ‘Trial excavations in the east suburb of Old Sarum’, Antiquaries Journal, 15 (1935), 174–92
  • Rahtz, P, and Musty, J, ‘Excavations at Old Sarum 1957’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 57 (1960), 352–70

              

Other Published Works

Items marked * represent key works in which our understanding was significantly altered, summaries showing the state of knowledge and theories at particular dates, or recent works detailing the latest discoveries.

*Ashbee, J, ‘Cloisters in English palaces in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 159 (2006), 71–90

Benson, H and Hatcher, H, The History of Modern Wiltshire. Old and New Sarum, or Salisbury (London, 1843)

*Blair, J, ‘Hall and chamber: English domestic planning 1000–1250’, in Anglo-Norman Castles, eds G Meirion-Jones and M Jones (London, 1993), 1–21

Braun, H, ‘The choir of Old Sarum Cathedral’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 56 (1955), 55–9

Britton, J, Beauties of Wiltshire, I (London, 1801), 19–42 [accessed 27 Sept 2012]

Brown, S, Sumptuous and Richly Adorned: The Decoration of Salisbury Cathedral (Swindon, 1999), 1–8, 113–16, 178, 186

*Chandler, J, ‘Where was Old Sarum?’, Sarum Chronicle, 4 (2004), 22–30

Clapham, A, English Romanesque Architecture after the Conquest (Oxford, 1934), 22–3

Clapham, A, ‘Salisbury meeting of the Archaeological Institute (notes)’, Archaeological Journal, 104 (1947), 144–5

*Cocke, T and Kidson, P, Salisbury Cathedral: Perspectives on the Architectural History (London, 1993) 

*Colvin, H (ed), The History of the King’s Works, vol II (London, 1963), 824–8

Corney, M, ‘The Romano-British nucleated settlements of Wiltshire’, in Roman Wiltshire and After: Papers in Honour of Ken Annable, ed P Ellis (Devizes, 2001), 5–38

*Crittal, E (ed), Victoria County History: Wiltshire, vol 6 (London, 1962), 51–68 [accessed 27 Sept 2012]

Cunliffe, B, Iron Age Britain (London, 2004) 

Draper, S, Landscape, Settlement and Society in Roman and Early Medieval Wiltshire (Oxford, 2006) 

Fernie, F, The Architecture of Norman England (Oxford, 2000), 152–3, 172

Frost, C, ‘The symbolic move to Old Sarum’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 98 (2005), 155–64

Frost, C, Time, Space, and Order: The Making of Medieval Salisbury (Oxford, 2009) 

*Gem, R, ‘The first Romanesque cathedral at Old Salisbury’, in Medieval Architecture and its Intellectual Context, eds E Fernie and P Crossley (Hambledon, 1990), 9–18

Goodall, J, The English Castle: 1066–1650 (New Haven and London, 2011), 103–5

*Greenway, D, ‘The False Institutio of St Osmund’, in Tradition and Change: Essays in Honour of Marjorie Chibnall, eds D Greenway, C Holdsworth and J Sayers (Cambridge, 1985), 77–101

Greenway, D, ‘Orders and rank in the cathedral of Old Sarum’, in The Ministry: Clerical and Lay Papers Read at the 1988 Summer Meeting and the 1989 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society (Studies in Church History 26), eds WJ Sheils and D Wood (Oxford and Cambridge, 1989), 55–63

*Greenway, D, ‘1091, St Osmund and the Constitution of the Cathedral’, in Medieval Art and Architecture at Salisbury Cathedral, eds L Keen and T Cocke (Leeds, 1996), 1–9

Greenway, D, Saint Osmund: Bishop of Salisbury 1078–1099 (Salisbury, 1999) 

Hatcher, H, An Historical Account of Old and New Sarum or Salisbury (Salisbury, 1834)

Harper, J, The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1991) 

Hearn, MF, ‘The rectangular ambulatory in English medieval architecture’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 30 (1971), 187–208

*Hope, W St J, ‘The Sarum Consuetudinary and its relation to the cathedral church of Old Sarum’, Archaeologia, 68 (1917), 111–26

James, D, ‘Sorviodunum – a review of the archeological evidence’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 95 (2002), 1–26

James, D, ‘Settlement in the hinterland of Sorviodunum: a review’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 103 (2010), 142–80

Kealey, E, Roger of Salisbury, Viceroy of England (Berkeley, 1972)

*Keen, L and Cocke, T (eds), Medieval Art and Architecture at Salisbury Cathedral (Leeds, 1996) 

King, J, ‘The Old Sarum Master: a twelfth-century sculptor in south-west England’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 83 (1990), 70–95

*McNeill, J, Old Sarum (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2006) [buy the guidebook]

Montague, J, ‘The cloister and bishop’s palace at Old Sarum with some thoughts on the origins and meaning of secular cathedral cloisters’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 159 (2006), 48–70

Montgomerie, DH, ‘Old Sarum’, Archaeological Journal, 104 (1948 for 1947), 129–42

Norton, C, ‘The luxury pavement in England before Westminster’, in Westminster Abbey: The Cosmati Pavements, eds L Grant and R Mortimer (Aldershot, 2002), 7–27

Pevsner, N and Cherry, B, Buildings of England: Wiltshire, 2nd edn (Harmondsworth, 1975), 385–9

Raby, FJ, ‘The tomb of St Osmund at Salisbury’, Archaeological Journal, 104 (1948 for 1947), 146–7

Renn, D, Old Sarum (English Heritage guidebook, London, 1994) 

RCHME, Ancient and Historical Monuments in the City of Salisbury, vol 1 (London, 1980), 1–24 [for Toone’s Court see 142–3]

*Saunders, P (ed), Salisbury Museum Medieval Catalogue: Part 4 (Salisbury, 2012) [catalogue of stonework from the 1909–15 excavations]

Schwartzbaum, E, ‘Three Tournai tomb slabs in England’, Gesta, 20 (1981), 89–97

Shortt, H, ‘The mints of ancient Wiltshire from Eadgar to Henry III’, Archaeological Journal, 104 (1948 for 1947), 112–28

Shortt, H, ‘Three early episcopal tombs in Salisbury Cathedral’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 57 (1958–9), 217–19

Stalley, R, ‘A twelfth-century patron of architecture: a study of the buildings erected by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 124 (1971), 62–83

Stone, J and Algar, D, ‘Sorviodunum’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 56 (1955), 102–26

Stroud, D, ‘The cult and tombs of St Osmund at Salisbury’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 78 (1984), 50–54

Stroud, D, ‘The site of the borough at Old Sarum 1066–1226: an examination of some documentary evidence’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 80 (1986), 120–26

Stroud, D, ‘Miracles of St Osmund’, Hatcher Review III, 23 (1987), 107–15

Stroud, D, ‘A twelfth-century effigy in Salisbury Cathedral’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 86 (1993), 113–17

Stroud, D, ‘Eve of Wilton and Goscelin of St Bertin at Old Sarum c.1070–1078’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 99 (2006), 204–12

Tatton-Brown, T, ‘Purple and green porphyry at Old Sarum Cathedral’, Hatcher Review V, 45 (1998), 33–8

*Tatton-Brown, T, ‘The burial places of St Osmund’, Friends of Salisbury Cathedral Annual Report (1999), 19–25

Tatton-Brown, T, ‘Reconstructing the medieval landscape around Salisbury’, Sarum Chronicle, 9 (2009), 30–36

Thurlby, M, ‘A note on the twelfth-century sculpture from Old Sarum Cathedral’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 76 (1982 for 1981), 93–7

*Thurlby, M, ‘Sarum Cathedral as rebuilt by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, 1102–1139: the state of research and open questions’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Magazine, 101 (2008), 130–40

*Webber, T, Scribes and Scholars at Salisbury Cathedral c 1075–c 1125 (Oxford, 1992)

                     

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