VCH Explore

Explore England's Past

Old Sarum

Old Sarum And The Cathedral Foundations.

Old Sarum in Wiltshire is well known as notorious rotten borough pre the 1832 reform act.

Old Sarum was the original site of the settlement of Salisbury but the population moved to a nearby site as the original site was not big enough to satisfy the local needs. The rotten borough had 7 votes for just 3 houses and 1 MP represented these voters despite no MP’s for many of the new industrial cities such as Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester. In the last election of 1831 11 votes were cast all from land owners who didn’t live in the borough.    

The settlement moved a mile and a quarter to the south away from the natural hill fortress so the site could be easily expanded. It was mentioned in the doomsday book and was owned by the bishop of Salisbury the books mentions 50 hides and land for 32 ploughs in 1086. Cathedral foundations were found within the hill fort. The settlement was named as Sorbiodunum and was one of ten British cities that had particular privileges such as a castle and good roads. The city was established in 1220 in this new location.

Content derived from research undertaken as part of the Victoria County History project

Results (1 assets)

Prehistoric (before AD43), Roman (AD43-410), Medieval (AD410-1485)