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OLD SARUM

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  SORVIODVNVM, SERESBERIE, SORVIODUNUM
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Old Sarum is a multi-period site situated about 3 km from Salisbury, at the west end of a westward facing chalk spur overlooking the River Avon. The site comprises of a multivallate Iron Age hillfort, evidence for Romano-British occupation, evidence of a Saxon burh and mint, a Norman royal motte and bailey castle, a cathedral and bishop's palace and later castle structures (see associated monument records). The hillfort is roughly oval in plan and measures a maximum of 580 metres by 460 metres. The defences include an internal bank, a substantial steep sided ditch up to 30 metres wide and an outer bank. Excavations within the hillfort revealed evidence of an early Iron Age settlement and later Iron Age and Romano-British occupation. Old Sarum is the focus for a number of major Roman roads and the Roman town of Sorviodunum is thought to lie within the hillfort but there is no substantial evidence to support this. By 1004 AD, coins of Ethelred were being minted at Old Sarum and, by the mid-11th century, documentary evidence attest to the establishment of a Saxon buhr, Seresberie. After the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD, a royal motte and bailey castle was built within the hillfort. The defences of the hillfort were adapted to become the outer bailey and a mound over 100 metres in diameter was constructed. The inner bailey now contains the ruins of a series of stone buildings dating from about 1100 AD to the 13th century including the Great Tower, Postern Tower, Royal Palace, Herlewin's Tower and the New Hall. The Norman town was established in the south western quadrant of the outer bailey and there was an ecclesiastical precinct to the north east. This included a cathedral, first built in 1078 and rebuilt from 1130, and a bishop's palace. The cathedral was dissolved in 1226, after the bishopric moved to Salisbury, and in 1322 the castle was demolished. By 1514, Old Sarum had been completely abandoned and appeared as a 'romantic ruin' in paintings of the 19th century.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.