Sarum

Sarum sits upon a steep, windswept mound amidst the rolling Salisbury Plain. Educated, Latin-speaking persons call this city Sorbiodunum. Its old Cymric name is Caer Caradduc.

Sarum was first settled centuries ago during the time before iron was used, in the days when people still worshipped the sun at Stonehenge. A series of concentric rings surround the city: a massive ditch on the outside, then a huge rampart, then another large ditch and another rampart. A great curtain wall perches on the inner rampart and overlooks the inner ditch. The wall is 12 feet thick and 40 feet high. Battlements give its top a serrated shape, made by merlons (the upright stone) and crenellations (the breaks or indentations between the merlons).

Two gates, to the east and west, pierce the walls. They are defended by towered gateworks, each with its huge ironreinforced portcullis, murder holes, and drawbridges. As with all cities, these are closed at night and normally admit no one.

In the center of the city is a great motte, or artificial mound, upon which sits the large castle of the earl. Four ditch-and-rampart spokes radiate from the castle almost to the outer wall, and divide the city into quarters. The northwestern quarter is given over to the magnificent cathedral and church buildings, a part of the fief of the Bishop of Salisbury. It is occupied by churchmen and the bishop’s retinue. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mary, the Mother of God.

The city occupies the rest, and it serves as the outer bailey for the castle. It is large and relatively rich. It serves as the trading center for the entire county and the earl receives rich revenues from its taxes, part of which go to the High King. A royal mint is here stamps out silver pennies that show King Uther’s image on one side and the name of mint and minter on the other. The earl receives no income from this source.

Sarum485

Sarum

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