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Old Sarum Bishops Palace(s)

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Old Saresbury; Salisbury

In the civil parish of Salisbury.
In the historic county of Wiltshire.
Modern Authority of Wiltshire.
1974 county of Wiltshire.
Medieval County of Wiltshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SU13653272
Latitude 51.09475° Longitude -1.80597°

Old Sarum Bishops Palace(s) has been described as a certain Palace.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A Medieval cathedral and close situated within the northwest section of the bailey at Old Sarum Castle. The cathedral was first constructed between 1078-92 AD and comprised an apsidal east end, narrow north and south aisles and an aisled nave. Between circa 1110-25 the east end of the cathedral was enlarged to comprise an aisled presbytery, three chapels, a tower and aisled north and south transepts. This phase may have also included construction of the cloister. The Bishops Palace was constructed between 1102-39 and comprised four ranges enclosing a courtyard. Further additions at the western end of the cathedral took place between circa 1142 and 1200. The cathedral is situated in the centre of the Close which was bounded on the east by a bank, to the south by a road and to the northwest by the hillfort defences. The canons cemetery has been identified to the south of the Cathedral, with a lay cemetery situated further to the south and east. The cloister and bishops palace are both situated to the northeast. A number of buildings including a possible deanery were present to the southwest and west of the cathedral. The siting of the cathedral within the bailey of the castle eventually caused conflict between the castle and ecclesiastical authorities, leading to the removal of the cathedral to Salisbury (New Sarum) in 1219. A chapel in the cathedral remained in use at Old Sarum. From 1331 stonework from the cathedral was removed for the construction of a range of buildings in Salisbury including the precinct wall to Salisbury Cathedral. (PastScape)
A re-examination of the published excavations of 1909-15 has led to a reappraisal of the buildings to the north of the cathedral. While the cloister requires re-excavation to arrive at a final dating, much of its meaning and the source for its construction can be said to have come from the enclosed bishop's palace to the north, by Bishop Osmund in the closing decades of the 11th century. (PastScape ref. Montague 2006)

Thompson writes there were two palaces here; the first the aisled hall on the northern range of the cloister adjoining the cathedral, the second a courtyard house within the Royal castle with its own hall (but there is some ambiguity as to who held the castle).
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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