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Old Sarum

Old Sarum (sârˈəm) [key], site of a former city, Wiltshire, S England, just N of Salisbury (New Sarum). Excavations in the old settlement's mound have revealed remains of an ancient British camp, the Roman station Sorbiodunum, and a later Saxon then Norman town. The bishopric, moved to Old Sarum from Sherborne in 1075, was transferred to Salisbury in 1220. Old Sarum's cathedral was torn down and parts of it were used in the construction of the cathedral at Salisbury. At Old Sarum the Use of Sarum, a ritual adopted in S England, was compiled. Old Sarum was an important city until strife between the men of the castle and garrison and the men of the religious institution arose. It was that turmoil which led to the cathedral's removal and eventually to the decay of the old city; water shortage and harsh winds may also have been causes of its decline. The "rotten borough" of Old Sarum continued to be represented in Parliament until the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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