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The Restoration of the Chapter House of Salisbury Cathedral

A cathedral was built at Old Sarum - an Iron Age Hill Fort just to the north of Salisbury - towards the end of the eleventh century. However, the site was never ideal because of the lack of water and the fact that the cathedral authorities shared the site with the army. In 1220 work started on a new cathedral in the valley below, and soon afterwards work also began on creating the city of Salisbury. The cathedral was completed by 1258 but lacked a tower and spire, which were added in the early fourteenth century. Work on the Chapter House was most probably started around 1248 and the design is believed to be based on that used for the Chapter House associated with Westminster Abbey. Prior to the Reformation, the Chapter House was very much part of the liturgical space associated with the cathedral, and was in daily use. After the changes which were introduced as part of the Reformation it ceased to be so central to the cathedral's liturgical life and the fabric was allowed to deteriorate until the nineteenth century when an extensive restoration was commenced to recreate its architectural splendour. Salisbury Cathedral has an extensive archive and library both of which hold documents from the cathedral's origins. This publication has been based upon the extensive records which are held in that archive.
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