Middle Iron Age (About 400 BC)Outer Defences
The outer ramparts are probably built to protect residents and livestock from danger.
AD 43-Early 4th CenturyRoman Occupation
Old Sarum (Sorviodunum) is continuously occupied during the Roman period. Two major settlements flourish outside the ramparts.
Find out more about the history of Old Sarum
6th-10th CenturiesStrong Defences
Old Sarum functions as a religious centre, defensive refuge and stronghold for post-Roman British settlements.
William I builds a motte-and-bailey castle called Seresberi. It contains a new cathedral employing 36 priests.
Henry I builds the stone keep. Bishop Roger of Sarum rebuilds the cathedral on a lavish scale.
Queen Eleanor of Aquitane spends 16 years under house arrest for treason. Henry II undertakes major renovations.
1190sThe Cathedral Abandoned
The cathedral clergy decide to abandon Old Sarum for a new site in the valley below.
Bishop Richard Poore lays stones for New Sarum (Salisbury) cathedral.
1240-1331The Move to Salisbury
Most of the old cathedral is demolished and its stones are carried 2 miles to the new cathedral at Salisbury, to be reused there.
Although the castle is still functioning as an administrative building, Henry VIII grants all remaining stone as building material.
Despite its lack of population, Old Sarum continues to send members to Parliament until the Great Reform Act of 1832 abolishes such 'rotten boroughs'.
A dry summer reveals the foundation of the cathedral. Antiquarian Henry Hatcher reconstructs the cathedral's probable original plan.
Sir William Hope excavates with the London Society of Antiquaries. Much stone and soil is removed. On Hope's death, the knowledge of these loose stone layouts is lost.
Under English Heritage, excavations continue. Modern technologies allow far more to be uncovered than was thought possible, despite missing stones.
Learn more about Old Sarum