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We have changed the opening arrangements of our sites to play our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Old Sarum is currently closed and any tickets pre-booked for the closed period will be cancelled and refunds automatically made as needed, so there is no need to contact us. We are keeping a selection of sites open for local people to use for exercise during the lockdown period. These are a mixture of free-to-enter and paid sites, and all have plenty of outdoor space for safe social distancing. Visits to paid sites must be booked in advance. We hope to be able to reopen all our sites in the near future, and we are taking bookings for February half-term and beyond. Thank you for your understanding, patience and support during this difficult time.
The outer ramparts are probably built to protect residents and livestock from danger.
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
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.
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.
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