Old Sarum: cathedral

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Old Sarum, cathedral © David Gill

The cathedral at Old Sarum was probably started under Bishop Hermann (d. 1078), when the see was moved from Sherborne (in 1075); much of the work was conducted by his successor Bishop Osmund (d. 1099). This structure was placed inside the outer walls of the castle (that follow the line of the Iron Age hillfort), and completed in 1092.

The cathedral was rebuilt by Bishop Roger (d. 1139) and expanded by Bishop Jocelin de Bohun (d. 1184). The foundations of the new Salisbury cathedral were laid in 1220 under Bishop Richard Poore (1217-28), and the remains of the first three bishops of Salisbury were moved from Old Sarum in June 1226. The old cathedral was then dismantled and the stone reused for the new building.

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Old Sarum, cathedral and castle © David Gill

Old Sarum: Ministry sign

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Old Sarum © David Gill

The iron age hillfort at Old Sarum was taken into State Guardianship in February 1892. It contained a later medieval castle as well as the remains of a cathedral started in 1078.

Excavations by the Society of Antiquaries were conducted in 1909. The site is now managed by English Heritage.

The Ministry sign was originally mounted on the side of the custodian’s hut.

St Andrews Cathedral

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St Andrews © David Gill

The cathedral at St Andrews was started in 1160. It was here, in the east end and behind the high altar, that the relics of St Andrews were placed. There were reported to have been brought to St Andrews (Kilrymont) from Patras in Greece.

The view from St Rule’s Church shows the nave and west end of the cathedral. The cathedral was adjacent to an Augustinian priory. The western edge of the cloister can be seen in the picture.

Bury St Edmunds: Norman Tower

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Norman Tower © David Gill

The Norman Tower was constructed in the period 1120 to 1148 under Abbot Anselm. It stands opposite the end of Churchgate Street, and in front of the west end of the abbey church. It served as a gateway to the abbey (completed in 1095) and the bell tower to the adjacent church of St James (now St Edmundsbury Cathedral).

Abbot Anselm was also responsible for the construction of the precinct wall, the church of St James, and the church of St Mary (at the south-west corner of the precinct).

The present ground level is well over the original street level. The tympanum over the western entrance was removed in 1789, and the battlements on the tower in 1842-46.

The Norman Tower, along with other parts of the abbey remains, is in the care of English Heritage.

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Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Norman Tower © David Gill

Whithorn: Bishops’ Graves

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Whithorn © David Gill

A Premonstratensian community was established at Whithorn c. 1175. A cathedral was constructed at the site. Excavations during the late 1950s and 1960s discovered a group of graves near to the High Altar of the cathedral, and located within the vaults at the east end. It was presumed that these contained the remains of the bishops, and one of the graves contained the Whithorn Crozier.

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Whithorn © David Gill

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Whithorn © David Gill

North Elmham guidebook

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1960 (repr. 1966)

North Elmham was the location of an Anglo-Saxon cathedral for East Anglia. The site was excavated by the Reverend A.G. Legge in 1871, and was placed in State Guardianship in 1948.

Stuart E. Rigold prepared the paper guide for the site in 1960 (reprinted with amendments in 1966). The twelve page guide includes a history of the site, a general plan (on page 4) and a detailed plan of the cathedral (pp. 6-7), followed by a description: the castle earthworks; the cathedral, the west tower, the nave, the eastern arm, and Despenser’s adaptations.

The site is now in the care of English Heritage and is known as North Elmham Chapel.