Salisbury Cathedral located in the heart of the city offers a trinity of historical experiences – The extraordinary architecture of its Early English Gothic design (inside and out), it also houses one of the oldest working clocks in the world, as well as one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta.
The glorious Salisbury Cathedral took a century to build, it started construction in 1220 and was completed in 1320. The elaborate façade of the cathedral is adorned with gothic details, and notable sculptures. The towering spire was built in 1320, and stands at 404 feet, it has been the tallest spire in the United Kingdom since 1561. You can also take a “Tower Tour” of the hollow spire, and view its ancient wooden scaffolding.
The interior of Salisbury Cathedral is not typical for gothic cathedrals of its time. The nave, central part, is tall and narrow. It creates a visual emphasis with the two tone coloring, and use of the pale gray Chilmark stone walls, as well as the polished dark Purbeck Marble columns. Between the pillars are tombs of notables such as the half brother of King John, William Longespee, and the illegitimate son of Henry II.
Salisbury Cathedral also houses the largest cloister in Britain, the gothic arcaded square/ quadrangle was added in the later part of the 13th century. When first constructed, more than likely the middle of the cloister was a simple lawn. Although now it has ornamental shade trees, which is managed like a public park or garden, and has its lawn routinely mowed.
Magna Carta and Oldest Clock
As I had mentioned Salisbury Cathedral contains two extraordinary and historical objects. One is a copy of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta, which is a seminal document of English constitutional practices. It is the charter of liberty, and political rights that were obtained by King John of England in 1215.
Another historical piece that can be found inside the cathedral is one of the oldest working clocks in the world. It is a tower clock with a large iron frame and no dial. It dates back to about 1386, and is a great example and well preserved early type of mechanical clock.
Salisbury Cathedral is a magnificent place to visit for those who are exploring England. The early Gothic architecture and significant historical items inside are worth the venture. Additionally when I had gone to the cathedral, I teamed up the visit with a trip to Stonehenge since it was very close by. Stonehenge Experience – A UNESCO World Heritage Site | Discovering England
For more information, please visit – Salisbury Cathedral
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