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OLD SARUM CASTLE

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A Motte and bailey castle founded by William I soon after the conquest and constructed on the site of the Iron Age hillfort at Old Sarum. Additions to the castle were made during the reign of King Henry II, especially between 1170-79. Repairs were documented between 1201-1208 and the last known main phase of building took place during the early 13th century. Further repairs were also documented in 1247. During the 13th century, the military importance of the castle declined. Repairs to the castle took place during the 14th century, but it was demolished by 1514. The motte is situated on the highest point of the spur in the centre of the hillfort. It is oval in plan measuring 370ft by 320ft and is surrounded by a ditch 20ft deep and 75ft wide. The mound top covers an area of two acres and was enclosed by a stone curtain wall constructed 1170-80. It contained a range of buildings which included an adminstrative compound dating from the late 11th-early 12th century. The compound comprised the Great Tower, Herlewins' Tower, the Kitchen Tower and the courtyard house which was the principal domestic building for the castle. The foundations of these buildings are still visible. Excavations have also located the layout of additional buildings. The lower bailey originally comprised the eastern area of the hillfort, ultilising the hillfort defences. It was expanded in around 1140 AD, when the outer curtain wall was constructed to include the perimeter of the hillfort. The wall has no towers and is between 10ft-12ft wide and survives to a height of 12ft. It encloses an area containing the cathedral and Close which resulted in conflict between the castle and the ecclesiastical authorities, this eventually leading to the move of the cathedral (SU 12 NW 13) to Salisbury (New Sarum) in 1219 and subsequent abandonment of Old Sarum. The site is Scheduled and in the care of of the Secretary of state.

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