Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Old Sarum

Our first full day at Salisbury was a Sunday, and lots of things were closed and we didn't feel like touristing around the cathedral on a Sunday, so we set off for Old Sarum. The bus schedule was typical Sunday -- a bus every hour or two -- so we walked the couple of miles, stopping at a pub for an enormous lunch!
Old Sarum was a hill fort for centuries and William the Conquerer had a castle here and even built a large cathedral. This is the big ditch around the central hill. Dug by hand, of course, in the chalky earth. In the 1200s, the church and castle were not getting along and the bishop decided to build a new church down the hill, where there was a better water supply anyways! So they built a new cathedral and the whole town just moved! Some time later a king let the new church take the stone from the old church to build itself a big wall to enclose the church and grounds, so one can see little carvings and decorative bits in the wall in town, although they're all jumbled up! This picture of Arthur in the ruins is almost unique, in that he is not sticking his tongue out. The sense of humour of the eight-year-old is a bit trying....

This outline is all that remains of the old church! It's outside the big ditch, on a huge grassy field that the kids enjoyed even more than the ruins, perhaps! Arthur got himself a slingshot (though I think it was called a catapult, to give it that historical edge) and Elaine got a helmet for jousting, and they rocketed around the cloister (a square piece of grass with a little ditch around it!) with big boys tossing a rugby ball, toddlers toddling, and a few parents catching their breath. We did manage to get a bus back into town, and we checked at the bus station about schedules for future expeditions.

The next day, after our B&B English Breakfast, including fried bread for Arthur, we went to the cathedral, which I'll tell you about tomorrow.