Salisbury Cathedral - Notable Cathedrals

Salisbury Cathedral boasts the largest cathedral close in Britain. Editorial credit: irisphoto1 /
Salisbury Cathedral boasts the largest cathedral close in Britain. Editorial credit: irisphoto1 /

The Salisbury Cathedral is an old Anglican church located in Salisbury, England. It was formally referred to as Cathedral Church of Blessed Virgin Mary. This representation of English architecture was built in 38 years (main body), starting in the year 1220.


According to history construction of the cathedral was brought about by the fall out between military and clergy in Old Sarum Cathedral. The fallout meant that the bichop’s seat and cathedral had to be relocated. The land on which the Cathedral is built was donated to the church by a rich man of those days by the name Richard Poore. Apparently, the site was chosen by Old Sarum’s Bishop who shot an arrow to guide where the church would be built. The arrow is said to have hit a deer which died in the same spot the church stand today. Other stories claim that the site was chosen due to the unavailability of another preferred site in a different location. The first stone was laid on 28 April 1220, and by 1258 the transepts, nave and choir were done. Other important art of the building were began later including the cloisters in 1240, the chapter house in 1263 and the tower and spire which dominated the skyline from 1320.

Unique Features

The structure has several features of architecture that stand out to professionals and visitors. For example, the cathedral brags of the highest spire among churches in the United Kingdom standing at 404 feet (123m). Among it’s the best status is its cloister and cathedral close which is the largest in Britain measuring 80 acres (32 ha). The clock at the cathedral is considered among the oldest working ones in the world. The church is also home to one of the four copies of the Magna Carta. This copy is considered the best copy of the four. The other notable features include the church's west front which acted as the ceremonial entrance and a status symbol. It is screen like with a stair tower on both ends. Lastly, is the Church’s nave known for its narrowness, height, and visual captivation which is brought about by the unique stones used on the walls and the columns. The Nave has 3 levels, the high reaching arcade, a clerestory, and a gallery.


Conservation and repair between 1995 and 2000 was the set off of major conservation efforts that are either complete or almost done today. These efforts can be categorized into masonry repairs, which involved the cleaning, replacing and repointing dysfunctional masonry. This activity began in 2000 and was completed in 2006 on the north side of the nave. Preservation of the cloister started in 1999 and it is not yet complete. Major works on the cloister include the east walk and west walk which were completed in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The west front received intensive repair woks from 1994-2000. The other conservation efforts are represented in the roofing campaign that started in 1999 and ended in 2005, the repair of the tower and spire, cleaning of the cloisters and cleaning of stained glass.


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