The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Old Sarum


<b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by ChanceImage © English Heritage
Nearest Town:Salisbury (3km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   SU137327 / Sheet: 184
Latitude:51° 5' 34.34" N
Longitude:   1° 48' 15.66" W

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Archaeology weekend at Old Sarum - Sat 25th Jul 2015 - Sun 26th Jul 2015

Willing adventurers required to dig deep into Wiltshire’s past. History hunters young and old can discover artefacts from Old Sarum, find out how objects are found and preserved, and get hands-on with a spot of digging. Dirty hands are a must!
Periods: Prehistory, Saxons and Vikings, Romans
Chance Posted by Chance
8th July 2015ce

Neolithic huts built at Old Sarum by English Heritage

Three Neolithic-style huts have been built at Old Sarum to learn more about how the builders of Stonehenge lived:-
scubi63 Posted by scubi63
6th May 2013ce

Old Sarum: Life in the Iron Age and Beyond

Members' Only Event - £30.00

Date: Fri 2 Mar
Property: Old Sarum
Time: AM tour - 10.00 to 12.00/PM tour 13.00 to 15.00
Suitable for: Adults

Go back in time and join archaeologist, writer and broadcaster Julian Richards for a special tour of Old Sarum Castle... continues...
Chance Posted by Chance
15th January 2012ce

Old Sarum opening hours cut to save cash

OLD Sarum will be closed to the public on weekdays for five months every winter under English Heritage cost-cutting plans.

The news comes as another blow to Salisbury's tourism industry, which already faces the closure of the city's youth hostel and cuts to the tourist information service... continues...
moss Posted by moss
6th April 2011ce

Archaeology Weekend

Sat 24 - Sun 25 July 10.00 - 17.00
Old Sarum, Salisbury

This is your chance to meet a real archaeologist and to uncover artefacts from Old Sarum's history.

English Heritage - 01722 335398
Chance Posted by Chance
6th July 2010ce

English Heritage respond to criticism of scrub clearance

From Salisbury Journal 11/2/2010:

English Heritage has hit back at criticism of its management of Old Sarum (the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England, containing evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BCE) as a fresh round of scrub clearance gets under way... continues...
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
16th February 2010ce

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Photographs:<b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by juamei <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by tjj <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by The Eternal <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by texlahoma <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Zeb <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Zeb <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by hrothgar <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by hrothgar <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Cursuswalker <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by stubob Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Rhiannon <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance <b>Old Sarum</b>Posted by Chance


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Old Sarum could be considered as similar to Avebury in terms of its scale, both in its earthly size and its mysterious Lay-Line energy. It has also witnessed many events that have created the kingdom(s) we live in today.

The site is run by English Heritage, but it is only the inner section that the visitor is required to pay an entrance fee (£3.70) to experience. The site is a jewel-in-the-crown kinda place and you should check the EH Old Sarum events page before you decide to visit. The bulk of the site is open 24-7 and public foot paths allow access to all the Neolithic outer banks and ditches, just like Avebury. Parking in the car park is free, although you may be asked to move on at dusk. Boo. There is a campsite next to Old Sarum at Hudson's Field, Castle Road, Salisbury SP1 3RR (01722-320713)

An excellent network of cycle tracks lead directly from Salisbury City centre, the Railway Station and the Coach parks. These connect up to many of the monuments that make up the Stonehenge sacred landscape and the WHS.

The site is connected to the almost forgotten hillfort of Ogbury, a little further up the majestic Avon valley. This waterway and ancient highway is itself scattered with Tumuli all the way up to Vespasians Camp and the Stonehenge WHS. Although some like the Little Down Barrows at Great Durnford take a bit of finding among the vegetation, others such as the Lake House Barrow have been updated in more recent times.
Chance Posted by Chance
16th January 2012ce

I had never actually been up to Old Sarum before, though have passed it many times. Today to celebrate the new year I travelled down to Salisbury with a friend intending to walk up to Old Sarum along the River Avon and through water meadows. The weather forecast was for the rain to hold off until late afternoon, this proved incorrect as we just made it to the village of Stratford Sub Castle when heavy rain set in. Not wearing a waterproof jacket today so just at the foot of Old Sarum we decided to turn back, although we still got a soaking. No matter, as we started our return walk a lone swan circled us in flight, always a rare and wonderful sight.

We decided to drive up to Old Sarum on the way back; as reported in the News Section about winter closures there were indeed closed signs. The hillfort is open to walkers, however, as I spotted a stoical runner go through the gate. My friend parked the car for a few moments by the entrances to the hillfort where we stood in the rain looking towards Salisbury Cathedral - just visible through the rain. We also had a very good view of the deep ramparts of the hillfort.

Travelled back via Stonehenge which looked majestic and beautiful in the rain - the umbrellas of the visitors adding colour to a scene which otherwise would have been rain swept monochrome.
tjj Posted by tjj
2nd January 2012ce

Visited last year as part of my on-going project to try to visit every E.H. site (all 400 of them!). The site can be seen for miles around and is well sign posted. There is a car park with toilets, although you do have to pay to enter the centre of the site. The outer sections can be seen without having to pay. Nice views down into Salisbury which I hope to have a day exploring sometime in the future. Posted by CARL
17th June 2010ce


Site needs to be visited to appreciate the scale of the construction. Unfortunately we visited on a day that a historical military event was being held. We had to pay five pounds entrance even though we weren't really interested in the event. Couldn't really get a feel for the place with so many people about and so much going on. Will visit again and check the events diary before leaving home.
Posted by griffp
7th July 2003ce
Edited 10th July 2003ce

The Original earthwork at Old Sarum probably dates back to the Iron Age but may be earlier, although it was altered over the centuries. The mound in the centre of the earthworks was built in Norman times. The remains of Norman buildings can be seen as well as the foundations of the original Cathedral, abandoned in the 1400's when the town moved to New Sarum, Salisbury. stubob Posted by stubob
5th September 2002ce


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I'd not thought of this, but the trouble with putting your cathedral in a fort is that all the soldiers get in the way. Apparently.
One its short sheep-bitten turf may yet be traced, in dry weather, the outlines of the foudation walls of its ancient and once splendid cathedral, built by Bishop Osmond - the Conqueror's nephew - but transferred by Bishop Poore in 1220, from that bleak and barren position, into the sheltered vale and fertile meadows of the fishy Avon beneath. Old Aubrey gives the following version of the cause of its removal, which he says he had from Bishop Seth Ward, who extracted it from the musty records of the cathedral.
The old church in the castle of Old Sarum being seated so high was so obnoxious to the weather that when the wind did blow they could not heare the priest say masse. But this was not the only inconvenience. The soldiers of the castle and the priests could never agree; and one day when they were gone without the castle in procession, the soldiers kept them out all night, or longer. Whereupon the bishop, although much troubled, cheered them up as well as he could, telling them he would study to accommodate them better. In order thereunto he rode several tymes to the Lady Abbesse at Wylton to have bought or exchanged a piece of ground with her ladyship to build a church and homes for the priests. A poor woman at Quidhampton that was spinning in the street, sayd to one of her neighbours, "I marvell what the matter is that the bishop makes so many visits to my lady; I trow he intends to marry her." Well the bishop and her ladyship could not conclude about the land, and the bishop dreamt that the Virgin Mary came to him and told him she would have him build his church at Merrifield, and dedicate it to her. Merrifield was a great meadow where the city of New Sarum now stands and did belong to the bishop, as now the whole city belongs to him.
From an article about books on Wiltshire in 'The Quarterly Review' for January 1858.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
9th May 2016ce


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To fill out what Purejoy was saying: Old Sarum was the most notorious 'rotten borough'. It obviously it is / was no laughing matter but the style of this reminded me of a C19th Mark Steel:
.."Rotten Boroughs," i.e., towns which, centuries ago had a flourishing existence, continuing to send representatives to Parliament long after any human being had made his local habitation therein, and whose very names would have perished from the land, but that they were annually recorded on the Parliamentary rolls.

One of these has been immortalised by the discussions on the Reform bill -- Old Sarum. Not a soul had dwelt there since the Tudors ascended the English throne - not a tenement had been seen there since Columbus discovered America - nor could the vestiges of its ruins be traced by the antiquarian eye of a Champollion or a Stephens.

This sand-hill, in 1832, sent as many members to Parliament as Lancashire, with a population of a million and a half.
From 'Sketches of Reforms and Reformers' by H Brewster Stanton (1850) p166 - on Google Books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th October 2007ce
Edited 7th October 2007ce

Entrance is an absolute snip at 2 quid for adults. This is a really impressive place steeped in history all the way from the Iron Age to the political 'rotten boroughs' dealt with in the Reform Act of 1832.

Stonehenge, Old Sarum, Salisbury Cathedral and Clearbury Ring Hillfort are part of what is often considered one of the ‘best’ leylines. The latter three are often shown clearly in photographs.
pure joy Posted by pure joy
26th March 2003ce
Edited 26th March 2003ce


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You Tube

My video of Old Sarum mainly showing the ruins of the Norman castle but also with some nice photos of the Hillfort as a whole.
wickerman Posted by wickerman
2nd October 2012ce
Edited 2nd October 2012ce

English Heritage (Old Sarum)

pure joy Posted by pure joy
26th March 2003ce
Edited 10th July 2010ce