Old Salisbury: The castle

Pages 53-60

A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1962.

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With the Norman Conquest began the great age of Old Salisbury, when military considerations dictated so much of civil and ecclesiastical policy. It was a natural fortress; it was near the coast facing France; it was near also to Clarendon; and so it became a royal castle and a cathedral 'city' and a place of frequent resort by the Norman kings. William I was there about 1069; (fn. 1) and there, in 1086, was held that famous meeting of the king's council at which, according to the Chronicle, all the landowners 'of any account' in England, whosesoever men they were, did homage to the king. (fn. 2) In 1088 (fn. 3) and 1096 (fn. 4) William II held councils at Salisbury; in 1100 he attested a document there (fn. 5) and later in the same year Henry I held a council there. (fn. 6)

The castle built in the middle of the earthworks and on the summit of Salisbury hilltop was, as these occasions imply, a royal castle. In view of the dual reference to Salisbury in Domesday Book, (fn. 7) clarity requires that this fact should be emphasized. William of Malmesbury leaves no doubt on the point: he says expressly that the castle was juris proprium of the king. (fn. 8)

When the lands of Wiltshire were being allotted to the greater tenants by the king at specified rents and services due, provision was made for the guard of the castle. The returns of knight service sent in in 1166 show that Earl Patrick owed service of 40 knights, 20 of them for the custody of Salisbury and its defences. (fn. 9) Among the obligations of the Bishop of Salisbury were two ⅓ knights, in respect of which the earl was his subtenant, for guard of the castle. (fn. 10) Walter Walerand owed 12 knights of the old feoffment, out of them 5 to the guard of the castle, 3 of which were owed to him by subtenants and the other two charged on his demesne. (fn. 11) Walter's service was commuted for 5 marks annually, which payment he redeemed very cheaply for 20 marks in 1190. (fn. 12)

It appears that by 1255 all the castle guard service had lapsed or had been commuted or redeemed, for the jurors of the Hundred Inquest returned in that year that nothing belonged to the castle beyond the gates, whether in rents, wards or assizes and nobody held by castle guard. (fn. 13) An inquest of 1274–5, however, declared roundly that the baronies of the bishop, the Abbess of Wilton, the Abbess of Shaftesbury, of Walerand, Patrick, Earl of Salisbury, Walter de Dunstanville, Nicholas Haversham, Walter Pavely and certain others were held of the king in chief, and they ought to help to keep the castle. (fn. 14)

Clearly the jurors of 1274–5 were right as to the original liability of some of the magnates, and they may have been right as to all. The bishop, the earl and Walerand have already been mentioned. It is a point of interest that the two religious houses mentioned were both liable for knight service. Only those houses founded before the Conquest were so liable, and no additions of later houses were made. (fn. 15) In 1166 Shaftesbury Abbey owed seven knights (probably 10 originally) and Wilton five. (fn. 16)

The liability of the Abbess of Shaftesbury was under enquiry a little earlier. In 1267 a writ was issued to inquire whether the abbess was bound and accustomed to repair a bridge and gate within Salisbury castle. The verdict was that William Longespée, Earl of Salisbury, first distrained Mary, then abbess, to repair the bridge, when he held the castle during John's wars; and that Nicholas of Lushill during his tenure of office as sheriff (1246–9) distrained for 100s. when the office of abbess was vacant. But the jurors found that the abbess did not hold land on condition of repairing the bridge and gate. (fn. 17) No doubt to remove further question the king remitted the duty of repair. (fn. 18) At the eyre of 1281 the jury presented the abbess again for nonrepair of the bridge and gate, but the abbess produced the charter of Henry III in defence. (fn. 19)

In 1086 the castle was presumably in the hands of Edward of Salisbury, the sheriff, (fn. 20) and with the shrievalty may have descended to his son Walter. It passed, however, in Henry I's reign to the charge of Roger, consecrated Bishop of Salisbury in 1107. He was a great builder. He built castles at Sherborne and Devizes, and at Malmesbury, even in the churchyard, he began a castle. He obtained from the king the castle of Salisbury, in terms that are uncertain. (fn. 21) The date of transfer is unknown, but since Henry paid further visits to Salisbury in 1103, 1106, and 1116, (fn. 22) and since in 1130 the cost of works was still borne by the king's exchequer it almost certainly occurred in the later part of the reign. Stephen visited the bishop in Salisbury in 1136. (fn. 23)

Perhaps because of the equivocal part played by Roger in the dispute between Stephen and Maud, Stephen resolved to reduce him. He was seized in 1139, and at the first summons the castles of Salisbury, Sherborne and Malmesbury surrendered to the king. (fn. 24) Roger was taken to Devizes, where after three days that castle also surrendered. Roger died soon after, and at Christmas 1139 Stephen went to Salisbury, (fn. 25) presumably to take over, from the canons' hands, the treasure that the bishop had laid up in the cathedral. (fn. 26)

In 1146 Pope Eugenius III issued his bull to confirm the estates of the church of Salisbury. These included Salisbury fair, its toll and the pleas of toll, and some land there, to all of which there was good title. The bull also mentioned Devizes and Sherborne castles, but not the castle at Salisbury. That castle, therefore, whether given outright to Roger or merely committed to him, must by this time have been resumed by the king. (fn. 27)

After Roger's removal the castle was at Stephen's disposal. It fell under the immediate charge of the descendants of Edward of Salisbury, and in 1142 William, Edward's grandson, was described as its preceptor et municeps. (fn. 28) The family sided with the empress and garrisoned the castle for her, (fn. 29) and her supporters were apparently still in occupation in 1149 when Stephen, with his son Eustace, harassed the citizens of Salisbury (fn. 30) and devastated the country round about. (fn. 31) It may have been because the castle was held against him that Stephen in 1152 issued a writ ordering it to be demolished. (fn. 32)

Edward of Salisbury's descendants retained custody of the castle under Henry II. In 1155–7 Earl Patrick, William's brother, who was then sheriff, paid its porters and watchmen out of the issues of Wiltshire, which shows that he was effectively its keeper. (fn. 33) In 1157–8 there is a reference to Ruald the constable, (fn. 34) but his period of service is uncertain, for he appears on the pipe roll merely as one who had been pardoned his contribution to a donum. In 1157–8 (fn. 35) the pipe roll includes among the terre date an estate in Salisbury, valued at £9 blanched, which, though eventually reassessed, can be traced from year to year until at least 1211. This was held until 1170–1 by William FitzHamon, lord of Warminster, (fn. 36) in 1171–3 by William de St. John, (fn. 37) in 1173–4 by Robert de Lucy and William de Bendeng, (fn. 38) and in 1174–5 by Bendeng alone. (fn. 39) In 1172–3 Lucy is once expressly called constable, (fn. 40) and seems to have acted in that capacity in the ensuing fiscal year as well. (fn. 41) In 1175–6 Bendeng is said to have enjoyed the estate dum custodivit castrum. (fn. 42) Next year the estate was transferred (fn. 43) to Robert Mauduit, who became sheriff in 1179–80 and held it throughout his shrievalty.

The language of the pipe rolls makes it plain that from 1173–4 the tenants of this estate were ipso facto constables of the castle. It is a reasonable inference that their predecessors in tenure were constables also, and that in fact there can be worked out from the pipe rolls a list of those officers from 1157–8. It has been shown that this was a year of administrative change for in it the earls first received the third penny. (fn. 44) The facts suggest that the holders of the nine librates were expected to meet the expenses of custody themselves; after 1130 the sheriff craved no allowance for repairing or garrisoning the castle, as distinct from the gaol, until 1170–1. He then met them, not out of the issues of Wiltshire, but from the profits of the bishopric of Bath sede vacante. (fn. 45) In 1171–4 expenses were charged upon the issues of Wiltshire, a fact which suggests that St. John held the constableship ut custos, though the pipe roll does not say so. FitzHamon lost the nine librates in the year following that in which the sheriff first paid for works at the castle: perhaps the king considered the bargain a bad one, deprived FitzHamon of his office and altered the administrative arrangements. So far as is known the incidental expenses of custody were ever after borne by the Crown.

Mauduit ceased to be sheriff in 1186–7, but the sheriffs of Wiltshire continued to hold the estate in requital for the duties of constable. In 1189–90 however William, Earl of Salisbury, resumed the ancestral office of sheriff, and the constableship with the estate was transferred to Robert of Tregoze. He became sheriff next year and kept the castle and estate until 1192–3, although the sheriffdom was returned to the Earl of Salisbury in 1191–2. An obscure passage in the pipe roll for 1193–4 suggests that when the earl reacquired the castle in 1192–3, Tregoze was temporarily compensated by the remission of part of the farm of Gastard, in Corsham, with which he was in arrear. The earl kept the castle and estate, with the sheriff's office, until 1195–6 though he did not hold them throughout that year. The castle estate is not mentioned in the pipe rolls of 1196–7. In 1197–9 it was again held by Tregoze. It then disappears from view until in the course of 1203–4 it is found in the hands of Robert de Vieuxpont, sheriff. It remained with him in 1204–5, although he had by then lost the shrievalty. In that year it was reassessed at £9 10s. In the next year it returned to the sheriff who was still holding it in the fiscal year 1211. (fn. 46)

During the later 12th and earlier 13th centuries royal visits to Salisbury continued. It has been held that Henry II was there in 1155 and 1158 (fn. 47) and perhaps also in 1165. (fn. 48) Richard I visited the city in 1189 (fn. 49) and John in 1205 (twice), 1208 and 1216. (fn. 50) When in 1194 Richard I licensed tournaments in England one of the five places named was between Wilton and Salisbury. (fn. 51)

It has not seemed necessary to trace from year to year the precise arrangements that prevailed at the castle during the long shrievalty of the Longespées. There can, however, be little doubt that the family enjoyed continuous custody and presumably was often actually in residence. Certainly the connexion between castle and county was no less intimate after their departure, for from 1236 to 1258 the sheriff invariably had custody. From the meeting of the Oxford Parliament, however, until 1267 the castle was four times entrusted to keepers who were not sheriffs, though one of these may have been an under-sheriff. (fn. 52) After 1267 the arrangements for custody are more difficult to trace. It is known, however, that Robert of Glastonbury, its constable, was ordered to deliver it to William le Dun, the sheriff, in December 1267, (fn. 53) and that he was still keeping it in February 1270. (fn. 54) In the time of his immediate successor, Stephen de Edworth, the castle was, at least for a time, in the charge of Henry de Shottesbrook, under-sheriff. (fn. 55)

In 1281 the castle was committed to the sheriff, John of Wotton. (fn. 56) In that year, with the borough and mill, it was valued at 10 marks, (fn. 57) the sum at which the sheriff farmed it in 1289. (fn. 58) In the latter year a garden and island were included in the valuation; perhaps these, in shrunken form, represented the constable's estate of the 12th century. (fn. 59) Passing references to the castle in 1295 (fn. 60) and 1305, (fn. 61) show that the sheriff himself was once again in control, though during the shrievalty of John Gerberd (1305–7) there was an underkeeper. (fn. 62) Thereafter the shrievalty and constableship continue to be held together until the later part of the 14th century.

It seems that throughout the period of baronial opposition and civil war in the middle years of the 13th century, the castle was continuously garrisoned and victualled, (fn. 63) and probably for a year or two after the civil war had ended. (fn. 64) Afterwards it was munitioned only on occasional alarms. Thus in 1287 the sheriff and constable of Old Salisbury and other constables were ordered to provide victuals to the value of £10. (fn. 65) Salisbury and other castles were fortified and guarded in 1308; (fn. 66) and in 1317 crossbowmen and others were to be put into the castle until further orders. (fn. 67) The fabric, however, does not seem to have been kept in a proper state. A survey, taken in 1315, showing considerable dilapidations attributed to the negligence or peculation of sheriffs and their subordinates, (fn. 68) does not seem to have resulted in effective repairs, for inquisitions taken in 1330–1, only 15 years later, still showed substantial decay. (fn. 69) It may be doubted how far the castle was ever truly defensible after the civil war, though as a gaol, and as offices for the sheriff, it was certainly maintained for several generations.

When there was a threat of a French invasion in 1339, the sheriff was again bidden to put as many men-at-arms and archers into the castle as was necessary for its defence; victuals were ordered to a sum of £20, (fn. 70) and brushwood was requisitioned from Clarendon. (fn. 71) The threat materialized in 1360, when the French burnt Winchelsea, and Old Salisbury and Marlborough castles were ordered to be furnished with men and victuals sufficient for defence, and wood was ordered for fuel and estovers. (fn. 72)

In the later 14th and earlier 15th centuries the Crown began to grant the custody of the castle and the gaol to a succession of royal servants. (fn. 73) In 1447 a patent was issued separating the two custodies on the death of the then grantee, John Chitterne, and bestowing the castle and its precincts, apart from the gaol and chapel, upon Sir John Stourton, treasurer of the household, in fee simple. The grant comprised the castle itself, then fallen into such decay that the king received no rent from it, the ditches, banks, houses, walls, land, islands, water and closes with all the land that Chitterne had held as constable. A rent of 3s. 4d. was reserved. (fn. 74) Perhaps we have, once again, a description of the constable's original endowment of nine librates.

For some reason unknown the grant to Stourton seems not to have taken effect. Soon after it was issued, the Crown reverted to the practice of granting the custody of the castle or the constableship—both phrases are used—for life. Such grants were made in 1474, (fn. 75) 1484, (fn. 76) 1487 (fn. 77), and 1492. (fn. 78) The grant of 1487 included Fisherton gaol, which by that time had perhaps wholly replaced the castle as a place of safe-keeping for prisoners, although by a fiction if not in fact Old Salisbury gaol was still being delivered in 1508. (fn. 79) In 1492 separate persons received the custodies of the castle and the gaol, and the grantee of the castle, (fn. 80) Walter Berecok, received also its herbage with 'the demayn lands' of old pertaining to it. (fn. 81) Presumably the custody of the gaol returned to the sheriff under the Act of Resumption of 1503–4. (fn. 82)

A petition was presented to Henry VIII in 1514–5 stating that the castle standing beside New Salisbury was in a desolate and barren place and could never be made inhabitable; it was followed by a grant to Thomas Compton, groom of the Chamber, of the stone walls and stones called the castle or tower of Old Sarum, with liberty to knock down and carry the walls away. (fn. 83) It is hardly likely that the gaol remained after this process had begun, and Leland, when he paid his visit, does not mention it.


William of Malmesbury said that Salisbury was a castle rather than a city, and whatever the Normans may have found on the hilltop, they certainly so treated it. The whole area within the ancient earthworks became the royal castle; in the middle was dug the new ditch and within it was placed the castle proper. The space between became the lower and outer ward of the castle. Strategy as usual dictated the building of the citadel at the highest point of the defended area: this was in the centre, and as the whole area was being treated as a castle rather than a city there was not the usual reason for placing the citadel on the outer wall, where contact with the outer world would have been assured.

Any doubt about the status of the outer ward is disposed of by the many references to the cathedral church which was built in it. It was described as being built within the castle. (fn. 84) The hall that had once belonged to the bishop there was described in 1230 as being in the castle; (fn. 85) and the chapel of St. Mary, where the bishop's seat used to be, was in the castle. (fn. 86) Access to the ecclesiastical quarter was clearly in the control of the castellan: otherwise the complaints of the churchmen would have had no substance. This area was evidently known as the great bail. (fn. 87) There are many references to the king's domestic buildings in the castle, but none to buildings of the magnates or burgesses. The whole area was the king's. (fn. 88)

The importance from the first attributed by the Normans to Salisbury must have ensured an early start upon the castle works. Excavation has shown that they deepened the outer defensive ditch and added a curtain wall. (fn. 89) The castle proper must have begun with the cutting of the new inner ditch, and the heaping of the chalk removed therefrom in the enclosed area, which is artificially raised in height. It is probable that the original wall within the ditch was of timber, which was gradually replaced by one of stone. By 1130 they had built a keep or 'tower', for in that year payment was made for a store-room (cellarium) within it. (fn. 90)

It is told of Bishop Roger that he 'built' or perhaps rather rebuilt the castle, (fn. 91) and in particular that he surrounded it with a wall. (fn. 92) The remains of the keep in the eastern part of the inner bailey are consistent with its having been built in his time. There were doorways and window openings with varieties of zigzag ornament, and some of the windows were subdivided by stone shafts with spiral groovings and other patterns: the roof was covered with stone shingles and ridge tiles glazed green or yellow. (fn. 93) To the north-east of the keep is a block of residential quarters, grouped round a quadrangle, in which a chapel and kitchen have been discovered. (fn. 94) This is so similar in form to the bishop's work at Sherborne as to make it probable that he inspired it.

The pipe rolls point to continuous and considerable building from 1170 onwards. (fn. 95) Indeed in the next forty years or so there were only some dozen years in which expenses were not claimed. If the writ of 1152 (fn. 96) was in fact executed this is not surprising, for much rebuilding would have been inevitable. The most active period was 1176–9, when costs rose to £177 6s. 7d., (fn. 97) incurred, it seems, mainly upon domestic buildings. The years 1199–1203 (£55 11s. 10d.), (fn. 98) and 1205–8 (£108 19s. 1d.) (fn. 99) were also expensive ones. The particulars given in the accounts do not give any clear picture of the appearance or evolution of the castle, though it is known that in 1170–1 £24 4s. 10d. was spent upon the bridge, (fn. 100) that in 1172–3 the bail was being enclosed or more probably re-enclosed, (fn. 101) that in 1181–2 there was a treasury in the tower, (fn. 102) and that in 1187–8 there was a chamber over (super) the castle gate. (fn. 103) The arched gateway of the inner bail with its flanking drum towers, perhaps replacing an earlier one, seems to be of this period.

Writs issued during Henry III's reign show that the castle was maintained in a constant state of repair. The details, however, do not greatly add to our knowledge. Between 1228 and 1245 the buildings within the castle, including the hall that had once belonged to the bishop, (fn. 104) were ordered to be mended on ten occasions. In 1237 there is mention of the castle kitchen and buildings above the gate in ingressum castri, (fn. 105) presumably the eastern gateway of the inner bail. (fn. 106)

In 1246 building work seems to have been intensified. Orders were issued in March to roof 'the chapel' with 10,000 shingles and to repair it, to roof the king's granary and the nurses' chamber, and to repair the bridge before the great gate. (fn. 107) In June another writ for repair gives further details of the buildings as they then were. It mentions the great tower or keep, the tower above the kitchen, Herlewin's tower, the tower above the great gate, the great gate itself, the great hall, the chamber above the king's wardrobe, a tower above the postern, and the postern bridge. All these were to be repaired and the cloister between the hall and the great chamber was to be rebuilt. (fn. 108) The postern gate and its tower, protected by a wooden bridge over the ditch leading to the great bailey, stood in the western part of the curtain wall, adjacent to the keep. The hall, the foundations of which are still discernible to the south-east of the keep, was built in this century, and a reference to the 'new' hall in 1247 may give us an approximate date for it. (fn. 109) The great chamber was probably in the quadrangle.

Activity continued Sixty oaks for timber were furnished in August 1246. (fn. 110) Next February a decayed fortification (joroyllum) was to be demolished. (fn. 111) In April a well-house was to be constructed and the well-wheel mended. (fn. 112) In December two kitchens were to be repaired and roofed with shingles and the new hall, and other domestic buildings repaired. (fn. 113)

Repair writs continued to be issued in 1249, (fn. 114) 1250, (fn. 115) 1252, (fn. 116) 1253, (fn. 117) 1254, (fn. 118) 1256, (fn. 119) 1257, (fn. 120) 1260, (fn. 121) 1264, (fn. 122) and 1269. (fn. 123) They tell us very little, though it is clear that the works done in 1257 were extensive, for 300 marks were allowed. (fn. 124) 'The tower', which in 1241 was said to have borne a wooden roof, (fn. 125) was in 1249 sheeted with lead, (fn. 126) and the 'great tower', presumably the same, was leaded or re-leaded in 1254. (fn. 127) By 1260 there was a tower above the castle gate, for in that year its leaden roof was mended. (fn. 128)

After the civil war had ended, the castle began to suffer depredations from sheriffs or their subordinates. Between 1267 and 1270 a granary and house were removed, between 1293 and 1304 the roof of the great hall was allowed to decay, and between 1299 and 1304 a stable was destroyed. Between 1305 and 1310 lead guttering and timbers of the kitchen and bakery were carried away, so that the vaulting perished and apparently both buildings fell, and stones and timber from other parts of the castle were removed. (fn. 129)

The defects began to be repaired in 1306 when ten oaks were ordered. (fn. 130) An outlay of £20 was authorized for repair of domestic buildings in the castle in 1308; (fn. 131) ten marks and ten oaks were provided in 1312; (fn. 132) and a tower was to have £20 spent on it in 1315, (fn. 133) and ten more oaks were to be found for houses and buildings. (fn. 134) Indeed in that year a detailed enquiry was made into the dilapidations, and estimates secured of the cost of restoring the great tower, the towers above the gate and the wardrobe, the chamber near Herlewin's tower, the chapel of St. Nicholas, and the vaulting of the great hall, a kitchen and the bakery. (fn. 135)

It is not clear how much of this extensive programme was carried out, or how rapidly, but orders for repair continued. Thus works were in progress in 1316, (fn. 136) £10 and three oaks were ordered in 1320, (fn. 137) and 20 marks for work on domestic buildings in 1328. (fn. 138) In 1330 and 1331 there were further surveys of dilapidations. It was reported that there were defects in the roof and flooring of the keep and of two garderobes within it, that the small tower at the entrance to the keep (perhaps the postern tower) had completely collapsed, that the walls, ceiling and leaden roof of Herlewin's tower were decayed, that a hall, a chamber and a chapel with a wardrobe in which the sheriff and his officers lived were almost too ruinous for habitation, that the valves of the great gate of the castle were old and rotten, and that the well-wheel and well-house ought to be renewed. The great hall, kitchen and bakery were still roofless, but their walls stood and could be repaired. (fn. 139)

The report was not ignored. Defects in a tower and in the king's mills were ordered to be repaired up to £40 in 1334, (fn. 140) and another £60 was allowed in 1338. (fn. 141) Moreover, an account survives of the actual work that was executed in 1337–8. The walls of the lower bail, their towers (turellos), the wall and roof of the chamber above the gate, the houses and rooms in the castle, the platform and walls of the great tower, and the wardrobe were all then put to rights. (fn. 142) A survey of the castle was again called for in 1341, (fn. 143) perhaps to see that these works had been duly performed. Works continued. In 1349 the sheriff was told to repair houses and other buildings to a limit of £40 16s. beyond a sum of £50 applied by writs before that time. (fn. 144) Upon walls and domestic buildings £20 were spent in 1351, (fn. 145) £20 in 1355, (fn. 146) and £30 in 1356. (fn. 147) The sum of 20 marks was devoted to domestic buildings and the king's mill in 1358. (fn. 148)

In the autumn of 1366 about £31 15s. were spent on works upon the castle and its buildings. A part of the chamber between the chapel and kitchen was screened off, and above the screened portion a solar, approached by a stair, was constructed. (fn. 149) Two new doors, three new windows and a new chimney were provided for the chamber. The walls and door of the hall and the wall of the wine cellar were repaired, and a new hearth introduced. A part of the high chamber by Herlewin's tower was likewise screened off, and since a stair and two new windows were provided it is probable that here also a solar was superimposed. The high tower and the great wall beside it were repaired, and two windows inserted in the knight's chamber in the tower. The roofs of the hall, the bakery, the chamber beside it, the stable and the cloister were all repaired, some plumbing done upon Herlewin's tower, and a chimney inserted in the chamber beside the bakery. (fn. 150) The details suggest that an attempt was being made to render the castle buildings more comfortable, either as dwellings or as offices; there is no evidence of defensive work.

Despite all this the king was informed in 1368 that the walls, turrets, and buildings of the castle were in sore need of repair. Expenditure of £40 was authorized, and 100 oaks were ordered. (fn. 151) A further outlay of £40 was authorized in 1371. (fn. 152) In 1383 the goods of two outlaws were ordered to be sold and the proceeds applied to the repair of the castle. (fn. 153) Another period of neglect apparently ensued, and in 1399 a commission was issued to inquire into divers wastes, dilapidations and destructions committed in the castle. (fn. 154) It is probable that the state of the works was then so bad that the cost of repair could not be faced, for there are no more entries relating to the maintenance of the castle fabric. It is worthy of note that excavation disclosed that the building north-west of the quadrangle contains carved and worked Norman stone, implying that it was built after the demolition of the quadrangle. In it is work of the late 14th or early 15th century. It evidently belongs to a period when the castle defences were no longer being maintained. It is significant that the list of coins found in Old Sarum ceases with a coin of 1361. (fn. 155)

The Gaol.

A gaol had probably been established in Salisbury by 1159, (fn. 156) but the first undoubted reference to it occurs in 1166—the year of the Assize of Clarendon when so many gaol works were done in England. The small sum of 5s. 10d. was then spent on its repair, (fn. 157) and the cost of further repairs was met in the fiscal years 1179, (fn. 158) 1182, (fn. 159) 1188, (fn. 160) 1197, (fn. 161) 1201, (fn. 162) 1204, (fn. 163) 1206, (fn. 164) and 1211. (fn. 165) In his revolt against Richard I, Count John broke the gaol and some prisoners escaped. (fn. 166)

About 1226 repairs were being done to what is called the castle gaol. (fn. 167) It is not certain whether this was the same building that had existed since the 12th century or whether it was separate. At any rate by 1241 there were two gaols, one inside the castle and another (forinseca gaola) without. (fn. 168) The latter may have been the gaol in the outer bailey which existed in 1247. (fn. 169)

As the city decayed and lost its military importance the prisoners were no doubt removed from wooden cages in the bailey to the interior of the castle. In 1330 the prisoners were being kept in a room below a tower of the castle, the ceiling of which was so rotten that its fall was daily expected. (fn. 170) An identical report was submitted next year. (fn. 171) In 1335 20 prisoners escaped from this or another tower, killed a sheriff's clerk, and made away with some of the king's treasure in the castle and other goods. (fn. 172) Next year, perhaps in consequence of this incident, an enquiry was instituted into the ruinous state of the gaol and the responsibility for it. (fn. 173) The gaol was surveyed again in 1341 (fn. 174) and in 1348 £20 was allowed for its repair, as it was weak and broken. (fn. 175) The sheriff complained of its ruinous condition in 1399–1400 and asked that it might be mended or else that another building might be assigned to him for the custody of prisoners. (fn. 176) The later state of the gaol has not been traced, but it seems to have remained open until well on in the 15th century. (fn. 177)

Deliveries of the gaol always took place at the old city until 1341. After that it was delivered at the new city with increasing frequency, and the last delivery held at Old Salisbury was in 1414. (fn. 178) This is a further symptom of the city's decay.

The Chapels.

The chapels in the castle must also have separate mention, but the references to them are puzzling. It is clear that in the 13th century there were at least four of them, that two of these survived into the 14th century, and one apparently into the 16th. One of them was probably part of the fabric of the old cathedral, and this may have been true of some of the others. Which of them, if any, were in the castle proper and which in the outer ward is less certainly determined, nor is it clear in what way they were served.

The story most conveniently begins with the chaplains. In 1239 orders were issued to appoint a chaplain for the Holy Cross chapel and to pay him 50s. out of the issues of Wiltshire. (fn. 179) In 1242 there were two chaplains, each in receipt of the same sum. (fn. 180) There were the same number in 1246, similarly rewarded, and it was their task to celebrate in the chapels of St. Margaret and St. Mary (see below). (fn. 181) In 1249 there were five, serving within and without the castle, and their fees were the same as before. (fn. 182) In 1273 there were four celebrating within the castle for Henry III's soul, and maintained out of the issues of Wiltshire. (fn. 183) In 1289 the chapter admitted liability for the support of two chaplains resident in the castle in houses of their own and praying for the souls of the king's ancestors. (fn. 184) Possibly between these two dates the stipends of two of the chaplains had ceased to be a charge upon the sheriff and had become a capitular expense.

In 1246 St. Mary's chapel was said to be 'where the seat of the bishopric used to be', and since books and ornaments were then ordered both for it and for St. Margaret's chapel, it may be that it was then first established. (fn. 185) It is quite possible, however, that the Lady Chapel of the cathedral still remained and was then being refurnished. (fn. 186) Next year a light was being maintained in St. Mary's out of the county issues. (fn. 187) In 1289 the chapter agreed that they were responsible for the repair of three chapels, which were out of repair, and for the chaplains' houses. (fn. 188) In 1331 the chapter were given leave to build a chapel in any suitable place within the castle for the service of the chantry that they were bound to find. (fn. 189) While certainty is unobtainable, it is not impossible that there is a reference here to the rebuilding of St. Mary's. In 1393 the chapter gave orders that the chapel in the castle that belonged to them (presumably St. Mary's) should be repaired at their expense. (fn. 190) St. Mary's is next heard of in 1419 when the treasurer and a canon nominated two vicars choral of Salisbury to celebrate within it, and vicars were similarly nominated, year by year, until 1427. (fn. 191) When Leland visited the old city he found a chapel of Our Lady 'yet standing and mainteynid', (fn. 192) but it is possible that he was confusing it with the chapel of the Holy Cross (see below). St. Margaret's is not heard of again after 1246. It has been suggested that it lay directly north-west of the quadrangle. (fn. 193) A chapel of St. Nicholas, in which a lamp burnt day and night, is mentioned in 1246, (fn. 194) and again in 1315, when it was said to have been damaged by storms. (fn. 195) It has been tentatively identified with the chapel in the quadrangle of which the lower walls have been uncovered. (fn. 196)

Only the chapel of the Holy Cross has a continuous history. It stood above the eastern gate of the outer bailey, (fn. 197) and was first mentioned in 1236 when the king's timber was requisitioned for its repair. (fn. 198) It was ordered to be roofed in 1239. (fn. 199) It seems that in 1244 a lamp was furnished for it. (fn. 200) In 1246 it was stated to be unroofed and shingles were provided to make good the defect. (fn. 201) Later in the year the nave was said to be ruinous and orders were given to pull it down and rebuild it. (fn. 202) Its repair was again ordered in 1247, (fn. 203) 1249, (fn. 204) 1315 (fn. 205) and 1359, (fn. 206) but it is not known what works, if any, were then executed. In 1365 the nave was damaged in a storm and it was decided not to rebuild it. The arch formerly separating nave from chancel was accordingly walled up, a porched door, surmounted by a window, inserted in the wall, and a 'staire' constructed to give access to the chancel. (fn. 207) In 1392 further but less extensive repairs were carried out, involving the use of timber from Clarendon and stone tiles from 'Compton'. (fn. 208) In 1447–8 the building was retiled. (fn. 209) John Mundy, of Stratford, by will proved in 1484, left 20d. to the fabric, and 6s. 8d. each to the lights of Holy Cross and St. Christopher there. (fn. 210)

So far as is known a chaplain was first engaged in 1239, (fn. 211) and thereafter there is a succession of appointments until 1531 at least. (fn. 212) Besides his annual fee out of the issues of Wiltshire, (fn. 213) the incumbent was declared in 1327 to have commonly enjoyed the tithe and oblations of Old Salisbury since the departure of the cathedral clergy. (fn. 214) It is clear from a patent of the sheriff of 1429 that the chapel with its graveyard was then a freehold. (fn. 215) Leland records a 'paroch of the Holy Rode' as having once existed and 'an other over the est gate whereof yet some tokens remayne'. (fn. 216) Both these phrases could refer to the chapel of the Holy Cross.


  • 1. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, ed. H. W. C. Davis, i, no. 46.
  • 2. Two Saxon Chronicles, ed. C. Plummer, i. 217.
  • 3. Simeon of Durham, Hist. Dunelm. in Opera (Rolls Ser.), i. 179; E. A. Freeman, Reign of William Rufus, i. 94.
  • 4. Two Saxon Chronicles, ed. Plummer, i. 232; Freeman, Reign of William Rufus, ii. 56.
  • 5. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, ed. Davis, i, no. 427.
  • 6. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, ed. C. Johnson and H. A. Cronne, ii, nos. 626–9.
  • 7. See p. 51.
  • 8. Gesta Regum (Rolls Ser.), ii. 547.
  • 9. Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), i. 239.
  • 10. Ibid. 236.
  • 11. Ibid. 241–2.
  • 12. Pipe R. 1190 (P.R.S. N.S. i), 122.
  • 13. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 238.
  • 14. Ibid. 268. It was stated in 1289 that Peter of Scudamore, Peter de la Stane, Nicholas of Haversham, William de Wodefaude, Henry Daubeny, John Gilbert, William of Durnford and Walter Paveley held vacant plots in the castle and owed castle guard service for them in wartime: J. I. 1/1011 m. 63. As late as 1321 the sheriff ordered the bishop and the Earl of Salisbury to be distrained for their service: Sar. Dioc. Regy., Reg. Martival, i. f. 188d.
  • 15. D. Knowles, Monastic Order in Eng. 609.
  • 16. Ibid. 136, 712.
  • 17. Cal. Inq. Misc. i. p. 119. A similar demand to Lushill's, made in 1240, was respited: Close R. 1237–42, 170, 201.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1266–72, 208.
  • 19. J. I. 1/1005 pt. 2, m. 152.
  • 20. V.C.H. Wilts, ii. p. 100.
  • 21. Wm. of Malmesbury, Hist. Novella, ed. K. R. Potter, 25.
  • 22. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, ed. Johnson and Cronne, ii, pp. xxix-xxx.
  • 23. Orderici Vitalis . . . Hist. Eccles., ed. A. Le Prévost, v. 63.
  • 24. Wm. of Malmesbury, Hist. Novella, ed. Potter, 27.
  • 25. J. H. Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 46.
  • 26. Deeds of Stephen, ed. K. R. Potter, 64; Wm. of Malmesbury, Hist. Novella, ed. Potter, 39.
  • 27. Sar. Chart. and Doc. (Rolls Ser.), 12–13.
  • 28. Complete Peerage, xi. 375.
  • 29. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 6.
  • 30. Deeds of Stephen, ed. Potter, 144.
  • 31. Ibid. 145.
  • 32. Hatcher, Salisbury, 32; Complete Peerage, xi. 376.
  • 33. Pipe R. 1156–8 (Rec. Com.), 57.
  • 34. Ibid. 117.
  • 35. Ibid. 116.
  • 36. Pipe R. 1171 (P.R.S. xvi), 19.
  • 37. Pipe R. 1172 (P.R.S. xviii), 123; 1173 (P.R.S. xix), 96.
  • 38. Pipe R. 1174 (P.R.S. xxi), 29.
  • 39. Pipe R. 1175 (P.R.S. xxii), 99.
  • 40. Pipe R. 1173 (P.R.S. xix), 97.
  • 41. Pipe R. 1174 (P.R.S. xxi), 29.
  • 42. Pipe R. 1175 (P.R.S. xxii), 99.
  • 43. Pipe R. 1176 (P.R.S. xxv), 171. The estate is there described as 'in custodia castelli'.
  • 44. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 6.
  • 45. Pipe R. 1171 (P.R.S. xvi), 23.
  • 46. All information in this paragraph comes from the relevant Pipe Rolls published by P.R.S.
  • 47. R. W. Eyton, Court . . . and Itin, of Hen. II, 12, 34.
  • 48. Ibid. 59, quoting Chron. Mon. de Abingdon (Rolls Ser.), ii. 228.
  • 49. L. Landon, Itin. of Ric. I (P.R.S. N.S. xiii), 3.
  • 50. Archaeologia, xxii. 141, 143, 147, 159.
  • 51. Foedera (Rec. Com.), i. 65.
  • 52. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 11, 36.
  • 53. Cal. Pat. 1266–72, 174.
  • 54. Cal. Close, 1268–72, 172.
  • 55. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 36.
  • 56. Cal. Fine R. 1272–1307, 145.
  • 57. J. I. 1/1005 pt. 2, m. 152.
  • 58. J. I. 1/1011, m. 63.
  • 59. See p. 54.
  • 60. Cal. Close, 1288–96, 430.
  • 61. Ibid. 1302–7, 289.
  • 62. Cal. Inq. Misc. ii. p. 51.
  • 63. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 11–12.
  • 64. Close R. 1261–4, 339; ibid. 1264–8, 288, 310.
  • 65. Cal. Close, 1279–88, 464.
  • 66. Ibid. 1307–13, 30.
  • 67. Cal. Close, 1313–8, 505.
  • 68. Cal. Inq. Misc. ii. p. 51.
  • 69. Ibid. iii, pp. 285, 302–3.
  • 70. Cal. Close, 1339–41, 35, 64.
  • 71. Ibid. 61.
  • 72. Ibid. 1360–4, 9, 15.
  • 73. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 22.
  • 74. Cal. Pat. 1446–52, 35.
  • 75. E 372/328. Item Wilts. dorse. The customary yearly fee was then 100s.
  • 76. Cal. Pat. 1476–85, 478.
  • 77. Ibid. 1485–94, 157, replacing a grant of 1485 (ibid. 58) thereby invalidated.
  • 78. Ibid. 418. The grant was reissued in slightly altered terms in 1493: ibid. 428.
  • 79. Ibid. 1494–1509, 561; and see V.C.H. Wilts. v. 21.
  • 80. Cal. Pat. 1485–94, 407, 418.
  • 81. Estimated at 4 a. in 1493: ibid. 428.
  • 82. 19 Hen. VII c. 10.
  • 83. L. & P. Hen. VIII, i (2), p. 1488.
  • 84. Florence of Worcester, Chron. ex Chron. ed. B. Thorpe, ii. 30; Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv. 12.
  • 85. Cal. Lib. R. 1226–40, 172.
  • 86. Ibid. 1245–51, 65.
  • 87. Pipe R. 1172 (P.R.S. xix), 97.
  • 88. See p. 53.
  • 89. Excavations undertaken in 1957 showed the wall to be absent for about 1/8 of the total circuit: W.A.M. lvii. 353–58.
  • 90. Pipe R. 1130 (Rec. Com.), 13.
  • 91. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 51.
  • 92. Wm. of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum (Rolls Ser.), ii. 547.
  • 93. Proc. Soc. Antiq. (2nd Ser.), xxiii. 509. This conflicts with what is said below (note 54) about the material with which the keep was roofed in and after 1241.
  • 94. The excavations of 1909–14 are reported upon in Proc. Soc. Antiq. 2nd Ser. xxiii. 190 sqq., 501 sqq., xxiv. 52 sqq., and digested in Old Sarum (Min. of Works' official guide [1954] and Arch. Jnl. civ. 137–40. The excavators mistook the quadrangle here described for the 'great tower' or keep, and their mistake has been perpetuated in later works.
  • 95. The following references in the pipe rolls, some of which are cited again in notes (26)–(32) below, have been noticed to building works at the castle, 1170–1212: (P.R.S. xvi), 22–23; (xviii), 124; (xix), 96–7; (xxi), 29; (xxv), 174–5; (xxvi), 98–100, 103; (xxvii), 28, 31; (xxviii), 57; (xxxi), 84; (xxxii), 129; (xxxiv), 195; (xxxvii), 181. (xxxviii), 14; (P.R.S. N.S. ii), 118; (iii), 78; (v), 196; (vi), 136; (vii), 24; (viii), 208; (xii), 155; (xiv), 75; (xv), 119; (xvi), 13; (xix), 161; (xx), 182; (xxiii), 193; (xxvi), 77; (xxx), 147; Pipe R. 1189 (Rec. Com.), 177–8; and cf. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 111.
  • 96. See p. 54.
  • 97. Pipe R. 1177 (P.R.S. xxvi), 98–100, 103; Pipe R. 1178 (P.R.S. xxvii), 28, 31; Pipe R. 1179 (P.R.S. xxviii), 57.
  • 98. Pipe R. 1200 (P.R.S. N.S. xii), 155; Pipe R. 1201 (P.R.S. N.S. xiv), 75; Pipe R. 1202 (P.R.S. N.S. xv), 119.
  • 99. Pipe R. 1206 (P.R.S. N.S. xx), 182; Pipe R. 1208 (P.R.S. N.S. xxiii), 193; Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 111.
  • 100. Pipe R. 1171 (P.R.S. xvi), 23.
  • 101. Pipe R. 1173 (P.R.S. xix), 97.
  • 102. Pipe R. 1182 (P.R.S. xxxi), 84.
  • 103. Pipe R. 1188 (P.R.S. xxxviii), 14.
  • 104. See p. 61.
  • 105. C 62/11, m. 6.
  • 106. Ultra which occurs frequently in documents relating to the castle has here been consistently rendered 'above', and not 'beyond'.
  • 107. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 31, 62.
  • 108. Ibid. 65, where ultra is invariably translated 'beyond', cf. n. 35 above.
  • 109. See note 42, below.
  • 110. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 74.
  • 111. Close R. 1242–7, 499.
  • 112. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 116.
  • 113. Ibid. 156. A writ of 1237 refers to 'the kitchen', as though there was but one: ibid. 1226–40, 280. For the gaol see below, p. 59.
  • 114. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 239, 240, 246.
  • 115. Ibid. 282.
  • 116. Ibid. 1251–60, 61; Close R. 1251–3, 294.
  • 117. Cal. Lib. 1251–60, 142.
  • 118. Ibid. 180.
  • 119. Ibid. 272.
  • 120. Ibid. 374.
  • 121. Ibid. 496, 500, 529.
  • 122. Close R. 1261–4, 339.
  • 123. Ibid. 1268–72, 49.
  • 124. Cal. Lib. 1251–60, 374.
  • 125. Close R. 1237–41, 367. The archaeological evidence suggests that the roof had originally been of stone tiles: see above, p. 57.
  • 126. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 239.
  • 127. Ibid. 1251–60, 180.
  • 128. Ibid. 529. For the meaning of ultra see above, p. 57, n. 35.
  • 129. C 145/75/21; C 145/114/1. The dates are those of the periods during which the sheriffs, who are said to have been responsible for the depredations, filled office.
  • 130. Cal. Close, 1302–7, 362.
  • 131. Ibid. 1307–13, 27.
  • 132. Ibid. 491.
  • 133. Ibid. 1313–8, 237.
  • 134. Ibid. 246.
  • 135. C 145/75/21.
  • 136. Cal. Close, 1313–8, 357.
  • 137. Ibid. 1318–23, 193.
  • 138. Ibid. 1327–30, 262.
  • 139. C 145/114/1; C 145/118/6; and see below.
  • 140. Cal. Close, 1333–7, 254.
  • 141. Ibid. 1337–9, 558.
  • 142. E 101/593/12.
  • 143. Cal. Pat. 1340–3, 218.
  • 144. Cal. Close, 1349–54, 112.
  • 145. Ibid. 310.
  • 146. Cal. Close, 1354–60, 152.
  • 147. Ibid. 272.
  • 148. Ibid. 468.
  • 149. The excavations of 1909–11 revealed but one kitchen, the northern wall of which abutted upon the great tower. Next to it lay a chapel, identified by the excavators with St. Nicholas's chapel (see p. 60). It seems unlikely that any 'chamber' could have been squeezed in between these two buildings. N. of the chapel lay a long, narrow building, marked on the plan in the M. of W. guide, Old Sarum [1954], as an 'undercroft'. This is intersected by a screen and may have been the 'chamber' in question. Beyond it lay a small room marked on the same plan as a 'chamber'. Possibly this was a second kitchen. It is known (see above, p. 57) that in 1247 there were two kitchens. There can, however, be no certainty, for there were several chapels in the castle (see below, p. 59).
  • 150. E 101/593/31.
  • 151. Cal. Close, 1364–8, 415.
  • 152. Ibid. 1369–74, 218.
  • 153. Ibid. 1381–5, 340.
  • 154. Cal. Pat. 1399–1401, 125.
  • 155. W.A.M. xlvi. 268.
  • 156. V.C.H. Wilts. v. 10.
  • 157. Pipe R. 1166 (P.R.S. ix), 72.
  • 158. Pipe R. 1179 (P.R.S. xxvii), 56.
  • 159. Pipe R. 1182 (P.R.S. xxxi), 85.
  • 160. Pipe R. 1188 (P.R.S. xxxviii), 14.
  • 161. Pipe R. 1197 (P.R.S. N.S. viii), 208.
  • 162. Pipe R. 1201 (P.R.S. N.S. xiv), 75.
  • 163. Pipe R. 1204 (P.R.S. N.S. xviii), 248.
  • 164. Pipe R. 1206 (P.R.S. N.S. xx), 182.
  • 165. Pipe R. 1211 (P.R.S. N.S. xxviii), 164.
  • 166. R. of the King's Ct. (P.R.S.), 103, 106–9.
  • 167. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), ii. 126b.
  • 168. Close R. 1237–42, 273.
  • 169. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 156. Some 30 years later there was a gaol in the outer bailey of Sherborne Castle (Dors.): Cal. Pat. 1272–81, 356.
  • 170. C 145/114/1.
  • 171. C 145/118/6.
  • 172. J. I. 3/120, m. 6.
  • 173. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, 283.
  • 174. Ibid. 1340–3, 218.
  • 175. Cal. Close, 1346–9, 430.
  • 176. E 28/7.
  • 177. See p. 56.
  • 178. J. I. 3/130, m. 55; V.C.H. Wilts. v. 40, where an earlier date is incorrectly given for the earliest delivery at New Salisbury.
  • 179. Cal. Lib. 1226–40, 374.
  • 180. Ibid. 1240–5, 125.
  • 181. Ibid. 1245–51, 65.
  • 182. Ibid. 239.
  • 183. Cal. Close, 1272–9, 21.
  • 184. J. I. 1/1011, m. 63d.
  • 185. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 65.
  • 186. M. W. Beresford and J. K. S. St. Joseph, Medieval England, 186.
  • 187. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 156.
  • 188. J. I. 1/1011, m. 63d.
  • 189. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, 234.
  • 190. D. & C. Sar., Reg. Dunham, f. 235.
  • 191. D. & C. Sar., Reg. Harding f. 7, 13, 22d., 30d., 38d., 48d., 62, 71, 88.
  • 192. Leland, Itin. ed. Toulmin Smith, i. 260.
  • 193. Proc. Soc. Antiq. (2nd ser.), xxiii. 509.
  • 194. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 65.
  • 195. Cal. Inq. Misc. iii. p. 51.
  • 196. Proc. Soc. Antiq. (2nd ser.), xxiii. 509.
  • 197. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 62, compared with MS. The editor translates ultra as beyond.
  • 198. Close R. 1234–7, 280.
  • 199. Cal. Lib. 1226–40, 374.
  • 200. Ibid. 1240–5, 229. The writ, however, refers only to 'the cross at Old Salisbury'.
  • 201. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 62.
  • 202. Ibid. 96.
  • 203. Close R. 1242–7, 499.
  • 204. Cal. Lib. 1245–51, 109. It is probably this chapel that was ordered to be repaired in 1297 and 1305: Cal. Close, 1296–1302, 33; ibid. 1302–7, 289.
  • 205. Cal. Close, 1313–8, 171.
  • 206. Ibid. 1354–60, 598. Inquests upon the repairs needed were taken in 1315 and 1330: Cal. Inq. Misc. iii, p. 51, 285.
  • 207. E 101/593/30. The chancel seems to have stood upon the earthen bank, for the foundations of the porch were 'dug', which could not have been so if the building had rested upon the masonry of the gateway.
  • 208. E 199/47/34.
  • 209. E 101/460/10.
  • 210. P.C.C. 14 Logge.
  • 211. Cal. Lib. 1226–40, 374.
  • 212. E 372/376, Item Wilts.
  • 213. See p. 59.
  • 214. See p. 61.
  • 215. E 199/48/5.
  • 216. Leland, Itin., ed. Toulmin Smith, i. 260.