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Salisbury is one of the most beautiful cities in England often referred to as the City in the
Countryside. It dates back to the early 1200s when the inhabitants of the hill fort known
as Old Sarum moved to New Sarum. The city is a fine example of a medieval town planning
much of which is still in evidence today. The cathedral and its close attract thousands of
visitors a year. The close also houses an excellent museum that displays many of the
famous archaeological finds from the area. There is a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays
as well as many fine restaurants, cafes and pubs. Its renown annual festival also attracts
performers from all over the world.
Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England, and is considered one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. The main body was completed in only 38 years, from 1220 to 1258. The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom (123m/404 ft). Visitors can take the "Tower Tour" where the interior of the hollow spire, with its ancient wood scaffolding, can be viewed. The cathedral also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain (80 acres (320,000 m2)). The Cathedral contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta (all four original copies are in England). Although commonly known as Salisbury Cathedral, the official name is the Cathedral of Saint Mary. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.
Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an Angevin charter, originally issued in Latin in the year 1215, translated into vernacular-French as early as 1219, and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions. The later versions excluded the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority that had been present in the 1215 charter. The charter first passed into law in 1225; the 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) "The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest," still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.
The 1215 charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitrary, for example by explicitly accepting that no "freeman" (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today.
Magna Carta was the first document forced onto a King of England by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded and directly influenced by the Charter of Liberties in 1100, in which King Henry I had specified particular areas wherein his powers would be limited.
Despite its recognised importance, by the second half of the 19th century nearly all of its clauses had been repealed in their original form. Three clauses currently remain part of the law of England and Wales, however, and it is generally considered part of the uncodified constitution. Lord Denning described it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot". In a 2005 speech, Lord Woolf described it as "first of a series of instruments that now are recognised as having a special constitutional status", the others being the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Petition of Right (1628), the Bill of Rights (1689), and the Act of Settlement (1701).
The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world. Magna Carta was important in the colonization of American colonies as England's legal system was used as a model for many of the colonies as they were developing their own legal systems.
It was Magna Carta, over other early concessions by the monarch, which survived to become a "sacred text" In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not generally limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law. It influenced the early settlers in New England and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.
Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The site has
evidence of human habitation as early as 3000 BC. Old Sarum is mentioned in some of
the earliest records in the country. It is located on a hill about two miles north of modern
Salisbury adjacent to the A345 road. Old Sarum was originally an Iron age hill fort
strategically placed on the conjunction of two trade routes and the River Avon. The hill
fort is broadly oval in shape, 400 metres (1,300 ft) in length and 360 metres (1,180 ft)
in width, it consists of a double bank and intermediate ditch with an entrance on the
eastern side. The site was used by the Romans, becoming the town of Sorviodunum.
The Saxons used the site as a stronghold against marauding Vikings, and the Normans built a stone curtain wall around the Iron age perimeter and a centrally placed castle on a motte protected by a deep dry moat. A royal palace was built within the castle for King Henry I and subsequently used by Plantagenet monarchs. A Norman cathedral and bishop's residence were built at the western end of the town.
In 1219, the cathedral was demolished in favour of the new one built near the river and the townspeople moved down to the new city, then called New Salisbury or New Sarum. The castle fell out of use and was sold for materials by King Henry VIII.
It is now an English Heritage property and open to the public.
The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily-populated South of England. It covers south-west Hampshire and extends into south-east Wiltshire and towards east Dorset. In the past it was a royal hunting ground. The forest is rich in history and today is famous for its free grazing herds of horses and cattle. It also has herds of deer which can bee seen from various viewing points throughout the forest.
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