Medieval Art and Architecture at Salisbury Cathedral

British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, Volume 17
ISBN: 978 0 901286 67 3
December 1996
128 pages
Large Plans: 2; Colour plates: 50

Edited by:

Laurence Keen

Thomas Cocke

The articles in this volume were delivered as lectures during the conference held in Salisbury in July 1991.

The relocation of the cathedral from Old Sarum to its new site, with the first buildings being erected in 1219, provided the Dean and Chapter with the opportunity of constructing a new cathedral without any apparent constraints. The result was described by Francis Price in 1753 as ‘a piece of architecture of such singular and transcendent beauty as not to be equalled by any structure of its bulk and age.’ However, for architectural historians although built in one more or less continuous programme, the design of the cathedral is unexpected compared with other cathedrals under construction during the 1220s and requires explanation. The design, and influence of Bishop Poore are examined together with the constitutional and liturgical arrangements detailed in the ‘Use of Sarum.’

Recent archaeological work on the spire and scientific analysis of the timbers in the cathedral add significantly to a new understanding of the construction and development of the building. And detailed analysis of the crossing tower provides new dating for its construction and reinforcement. All these studies fresh insight into a building which is far more complex than might first appear. In addition to the articles about the building, the volume contains important papers on the complex iconography of the chapter house sculptures, the 13th -century glazing, the decorated medieval floor-tiles and the Tournai marble tomb-slabs, all of which have never received the attention they deserve. The volume makes a significant contribution to the study of England’s probably best known cathedral.