Salisbury Cathedral is most famous for the 800 year old cathedral. Its second claim to fame is being home to the Magna Carter, the great charter that laid the foundation for Western civilization’s defense of individual rights like due process, quick access to justice, limits on state power and general recognition of property rights. However, Salisbury Cathedral offers a much wider array of activities and events.
Their Modern Art Collection
Salisbury Cathedral has a modern art exhibit on the grounds including a large sculpture garden. The Cathedral isn’t open to the public due to the coronavirus from China. However, this doesn’t mean you can enjoy their art collection. You can take a look at the Salisbury Cathedral virtual art exhibition online. It includes works by Mark Wallinger, Conrad Shawcross and Henry Moore. Furthermore, there are brand new works by artists like Bruce Munro and Daniel Chadwick. You can enjoy the tour online using almost any device.
Their Role as a Place of Worship
Salisbury Cathedral was built in the thirteenth century. It is considered one of the best examples of early English architecture. It is famous for having the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom. The church continues to host regular religious services. It sees an uptick in attendance during the run-up to Easter and Christmas.
Its Historic Significance
Salisbury Cathedral is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta. Yet that isn’t the only historic piece worth visiting here. It is also home to the Salisbury Cathedral clock. It may be the oldest working modern clock in the world. There is no clock face. Instead, it rings out the hours with a bell. It originally sat in a bell tower. The clock was moved and neglected for years, but it was restored to working order in 1956.
The roughly 800 year old cathedral continues to be repaired as well as see periodic renovations. This is why the cathedral is home to a stonemasonry works. The facility teaches traditional stone-carving. It regularly holds tours.
The Salisbury Cathedral has a massive on-site library and historical archive. These documents include acts of Parliament, royal documents dating back centuries and Anglican Church documents. For example, they have what might be one of the first printings of Venerable Bede’s books De Natura Rerum and De Temporum Ratione. They have several original poetry books by William Lisle Bowles. Genealogists periodically visit to peruse records of births, deaths and weddings.
You could visit the Arundells, the former home of Sir Edward Heath. It has a massive collection of sailing memorabilia, original political cartoons and Oriental and European ceramics. The Mompesson House is a classic historic home open to the public located within the Salisbury Cathedral’s walls.
Peregrine falcons historically nested in cliffs, but they found Salisbury Cathedral to be a suitable alternative. This is why they nested in Salisbury Cathedral from 1864 to 1953. They disappeared due to the use of organochloride pesticides like DDT and persecution. Peregrines returned in 2014 when a mated pair nested in a box built just for that purpose. The tower has seen birds return to the site every year since. The resident peregrines are so popular that they are subjects of a YouTube channel. The birds themselves are ringed with satellite trackers so that conservationists know where they are.