Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The city's origins go back to the Iron Age, and the Romans called it "Sorviodunum". There was a battle between the West Saxons and the Britons here, after which the place was called "Searoburh". The Normans built a castle and called it "Sarum". The site of the castle is now uninhabited and is referred to as Old Sarum.
The location is ideal for settlement. It is at the confluence of five rivers: the Avon, Nadder, Ebble, Wylye (pronounced 'Why-lee') and Bourne. The resultant river is the Avon (old English for 'river'), which flows to the south coast and out into the sea at Christchurch, Dorset. This Avon is sometimes referred to as the Hampshire Avon, in order to distinguish it from the River Avon which enters the sea at Avonmouth.
The first cathedral was built at Old Sarum by St Osmund between 1075 and 1092. A larger building was subsequently built on the same site in c.1120. However, deteriorating relations between the clergy and the military at Old Sarum led to the decision to resite the cathedral elsewhere. Thus the city of New Sarum, known as Salisbury, was founded in 1220, and the building of the new cathedral begun by Bishop Richard Poore in 1220. The main body was completed in only 38 years and is a masterpiece of Early English architecture. The spire, which is 404 feet (123 metres) tall was built later, and is the tallest spire in the UK. The cathedral is built on a gravel bed with unusually shallow foundations of 18 inches: the site is supposed to have been selected by firing an arrow from Old Sarum, although this is clearly legend due to the distance involved (although it is sometimes claimed the arrow hit a deer, which continued to run and died on the spot where the Cathedral now exists).
Salisbury holds a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and an annual funfair (the Sloe Fair) in October.
Salisbury is also a key centre of the art community, with many galleries situated in the city centre. Famous artists such as Bill Toop are locals in the area, and renowned impressionists such as John Constable and Monet have travelled from afar to paint the divine cathedral and the grounds.
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