Obviously, the focal point of my visit was the esteemed Salisbury cathedral and the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta or the Great charter is the first official document granting certain civil liberties to free subjects of the English King at the time and subjecting the king to the rule of law. King John signed the document in 1215 after the famous revolt of the barons, with the threat of a full scale civil war hanging over his head. The Magna Carta was the world’s first step towards civil rights, the rule of law and democracy, which makes it a quite important document. As far as old manuscripts go, it’s not particularly impressive in person, but its historical significance and the incredible cathedral make Salisbury well worth a visit. As an engineer I also have to mention, that Salisbury cathedral houses the world’s oldest working clock mechanism (although similar claims have been made elsewhere, but of course I saw the authentic one! and I even bought a postcard).
The Salisbury cathedral
I ate lunch at the cathedral refectory, where an elderly nun gave me a cookie. Besides the Salisbury cathedral I explored the small medieval city centre, encountered a magical sweets shop and a beautiful park. The streets in the old part of Salisbury have kept their medieval names, which originated from the professions practiced there, such as Butcher’s row, Fish row… and I found it adorably amusing.
It was one of those rare sunny English Sunday afternoons, with not a lot of people about in the centre, which almost made it feel like I’d stepped back in time, so I ended up spending a whole hour sitting on a park bench in the sun and people watching before it was time to go. To be honest, there is not much to do in Salisbury besides the cathedral, so an afternoon there was more than enough for me.
I’d brought study material for the train journey back to Leeds, but the book I bought in Bath turned out to be way more interesting. Although that resulted in a late night cramming session after I eventually got back to my house in Leeds, the whole trip was worth it!
Impressions of Salisbury