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A NEW two-day tourist trail has been announced by VisitWiltshire and Salisbury Cathedral to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015.
The new Salisbury and Wiltshire trail includes Salisbury Cathedral and Magna Carta on day one and the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and the Baron Town of Trowbridge on day two.
The Wiltshire trail is one of six special trails, each covering different aspects of the Magna Carta story.
Salisbury Cathedral is home to the best preserved of only four remaining copies of the original 1215 Magna Carta which will be re-displayed in an interactive exhibition for 2015.
Robert Key, chairman of Salisbury Cathedral’s Magna Carta Celebrations Committee, said: “This trail is great news and will bring many visitors to Wiltshire and to Salisbury Cathedral to see the finest preserved original Magna Carta in its anniversary year.
“We are looking forward to making those visitors a part of 2015’s 800th anniversary celebrations with a great programme of events and a wonderful new exhibition around Salisbury Cathedral’s Magna Carta.”
On June 15 it will be exactly 800 years after King John added his seal to Magna Carta, as presented to him by the barons at Runnymede on the Thames near Windsor.
The trails were commissioned by the 800th Commemoration Committee of the Magna Carta Trust to encourage visitors to the Magna Carta towns as history, heritage and anniversary tourism become increasingly popular themes for travellers.
Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta Trust’s 800th anniversary committee said: “They will be colourful guides for the thousands of visitors who will converge on England from around the world next summer, wishing to explore the areas which are part of the Magna Carta story. Doing all six trails will take visitors just over a fortnight, and immerse them in 800 years of history.” Article by: by Alex Rennie, Salilsbury Journal Reporter
Magna Carta 2015
Salisbury Cathedral is extremely proud to be home to the finest of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta. It plans to take a leading role in the 2015 celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the historic and iconic document.
For more information about the trails go to www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/magnacarta.
More News on this story:
Salisbury Cathedral has been awarded £415,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015. Click here
Christmas in Salisbury, Wiltshire is a truly magical time with special family events, twinkling lights and much more…
Salisbury will be hosting yet another Christmas Market promising some wonderful stalls, perfect for all your Christmas shopping, in the historic setting of the Guildhall Square.
Come to Salisbury’s lovely and very British Christmas Market! Rated by the Daily Telegraph in 2013 as one of the ‘Top 5 Christmas Markets in the UK’, we believe you will find it to be one of the most attractive and enjoyable Christmas Markets in the country.
During the Christmas Market there will be a programme of local choirs and music groups performing festive music, with many retailers in Salisbury organising additional special events.
This year we will also be celebrating ‘Christmas Traditions from around Europe’, with special events planned for St. Andrew’s Day, St. Lucia Day and St. Nikolaus Day, as well as the annual Lantern Procession on Thursday 27th November and a new event called ‘All Salisbury Sings’ on Friday 19th December: Visit the Salisbury Christmas Market website
Visit the excellent Visit Wiltshire website for further details: http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/whats-on/salisbury-christmas-market-p1367503
In addition to our colourful Christmas Market, Salisbury holds it’s traditional and vibrant Charter Market in the central Market Place each Tuesday and Saturday which incorporates a local Farmers’ Market too. In addition a Farmers’ Market is held every Wednesday at the Poultry Cross.
Take a stroll to Salisbury’s beautiful Cathedral Close and admire the grandeur of the surrounding buildings before visiting Salisbury Cathedral – if you are feeling active why not take a trip on one of the popular tower tours to find out more, and be rewarded with a most magnificent view of Salisbury from high. Follow this with a visit to the multi-awarding winning Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum to discover more about the history of this medieval City.
Christmas Highlights at Salisbury Cathedral:
- Christmas Twighlight Tower Tours
BBC Wiltshire Carol Service
The Christmas Procession
Christmas Events for families
Download information about Salisbury Cathedral key Christmas services and events here
Salisbury Tourist Information
Why not find out more about this medieval City by taking part in a guided walk that leaves Salisbury Information Centre in Fish Row every Saturday and Sunday at 11am.
For more information on what to see and do, and where to stay please visit Salisbury Information Centre, Fish Row or call 01722 342860.
The Stonehenge Travel Company (Proud Visit Wiltshire Member)
Private guided tours of Salisbury and Stonehenge.
The recently built Neolithic houses built by volunteers next to the new Stonehenge visitor centre have proved popular with tourists. Overseas visitors have found them fascinating. This recent international article in Newsweek gives an indepth insight:
Stonehenge Reconstructions Show Brits Have Always Been Houseproud
English Heritage has opened five recreated Neolithic houses, in the shadow of Stonehenge, revealing how the builders of the monument lived 4,500 years ago. At first glance, we could be forgiven for thinking they were built in the modern age. Certainly, their building techniques are very similar to those used on Victorian cottages in nearby Wiltshire villages. The walls were made from cob, a mixture of the local chalk and hay, slapped, when wet, onto seven-year-old hazel stakes. These walls were then topped with thatched roofs, made from knotted straw tied onto a woven hazel frame.
Far from being dark, little Hobbit spaces, the interiors are surprisingly bright, illuminated by the white chalk walls and floors, and open door. A tall man can easily stand up straight inside. In the middle of the room, the ash-log fire on the hearth sends up smoke, which seeps through the thatch. As the smoke slowly dissipates, it creates a thin carbon dioxide layer against the straw that stops any spark from the fire igniting the thatch. As if that weren’t ingenious enough, the thatch expands in the rain, providing an even more waterproof membrane.
The houses are pretty small – around 5m across – but they were certainly big enough to hold a family: English Heritage has managed to fit in 15 people easily into a single house, gathered around the fire.
It wasn’t just the architecture that was astonishingly avant-garde. Furniture in 2,500 BC, when Stonehenge and these cottages were thought to have been built, was pretty advanced too. Neolithic man slept on animal skins on wooden beds, with cupboards and shelves carefully inserted into the wall. In the house and outside the front door, there were handy pits, filled with handsome, striped pottery, known as “grooved ware”, the first pottery in Britain with a flat base. The pits also contained a selection of flints and animal bones, carved to create every conceivable mod con. Near Stonehenge, archaeologists have found chalk axes, bone tweezers, flint awls for piercing holes in bone and leather, flint saws and flint “fabricators” to create sparks for igniting fires.
The beauty of these objects – and the advanced engineering of the houses – seems particularly astonishing when we consider how early on in European, and global, civilisation they were made. In 2,500 BC, the Great Pyramid was being built at Giza, in Egypt. It was 500 years before the Minoan civilisation flourished at the Palace of Knossos; 900 years before the Mycenean civilisation in mainland Greece; and 2,000 years before the Parthenon was constructed. Jesus Christ is 500 years closer to us today than he was to the people who lived in these houses
Constructed over five months by 60 English Heritage volunteers, the buildings were closely based on the remains of Neolithic houses discovered in 2006 and 2007 at Durrington Walls, a ceremonial earthwork enclosure just north-east of Stonehenge. Radiocarbon dating has placed that settlement at about the same time that the mammoth sarsen stones from north Wiltshire, and the smaller bluestones from south Wales, were being raised at Stonehenge. So they’re among the earliest houses ever found in Britain.
Just like those nearby Wiltshire villages today, Durrington Walls consisted of a series of these cottages – and there may be 100s more, yet to be found – clustered closely together, but separated by woven wooden fences.
Again like lots of modern villages, Durrington Walls was built next to the River Avon – a crucial water source, home not just to trout and salmon, but to beavers and otters, much prized for their fur. Edible plants grew in the nearby damp soil, and red deer came to drink at the water’s edge. Deer antlers were used both as pickaxes and rakes to build the ditch and banks that circle Stonehenge. One red deer antler pick was found, laid carefully right on the floor of the ditch, perhaps to celebrate the end of the work.
The Flintstone diet wasn’t so different to ours, either: surviving cow and pig bones, some of them still with butchering marks on them, reveal a meat-rich diet, although there’s little trace of any cereal grain.
Already at this early stage, there are plenty of signs of human migration by water, too. The Amesbury Archer – whose burial was discovered in 2002, 5km east of Stonehenge – was born in the Alps, probably in what is now Switzerland. His origins were found thanks to chemical analysis of his teeth. The Amesbury Archer is thought to have been buried in 2,400 BC, a century after Stonehenge was built.
His body was surrounded by a glittering array of treasures: three copper knives, 16 flint arrowheads and a pair of gold hair ornaments, the earliest gold found in Britain. He was also buried with two archers’ stone wrist-protectors, which gave him his moniker. Alongside him, there were five delicately-carved and shaped Beaker pots, which gave their name to the neolithic Beaker culture, which spread right across western Europe, from present-day Holland to Spain, France and Germany.
The more archaeological research is made into Stonehenge man, the more evidence emerges that Britain wasn’t some remote backwater in the Neolithic Age, waiting for the Romans to provide it with the basics of civilised life. In the new Stonehenge visitors’ centre, hidden in a fold of Salisbury Plain close to the stones, there stands the skeleton of another early Neolithic Briton – whose recent bone analysis reveals quite how advanced this supposedly primitive civilisation was. The skeleton – excavated from a long barrow at Winterbourne Stoke, 3km west of Stonehenge – belonged to a man active in 3,000 BC, when the first earthwork enclosure at Stonehenge was built. Examining the enamel in his teeth – and the levels of strontium and oxygen, elements which vary in quantity from location to location – archaeologists have determined that he was probably born in Wales, moved to Wiltshire at two, went back to Wales at nine, and then shuttled between Stonehenge and Wales from 11 to 15. These regular journeys might explain the Welsh bluestones at Stonehenge – they were religious and sentimental reminders of the old country. This Neolithic man wasn’t so different from us. He was 1.72m, only 25mm shorter than the average British male today. He was 76kg, and lived off a classic West Country diet of dairy products and meat – mostly beef, mutton and venison.
Dr Simon Mays, the English Heritage scientist who carried out the bone analysis, determined that he’d led a peaceful life, with no injuries apart from a damaged knee ligament and a torn back thigh muscle. There was no sign of any illness, disease or nutritional stress in the body. He seems to have died in his late 20s or 30s. Life expectancy was a lot shorter, then, but what’s clear is that the great British obsession – class – was already alive and well 5,500 years ago. Our man was buried in one of the area’s grandest mausolea – and was initially the only body there, until he was joined around a thousand years later by other bodies in less prominent spots in the 82m-long grave.
There are around 350 of these long barrows in Britain. Half of them had no one buried in them at all; another quarter had five to 15 people in them; and only a quarter were allotted to a single person. So we are dealing with a major toff here, moving between his various smart residences in Wales and Wiltshire. A second home for the rich is nothing new.
The Durrington Walls houses may also help unlock one of the great secrets of mankind -–what was Stonehenge actually for? No one can be definitively sure but one of the most popular current theories is that it was a sort of holy cemetery. Its circles of cold stone, with cremated human bones all around, have been called “the land of the dead”. This is contrasted with “the land of the living” – with the timber houses of Durrington Walls, next door to another circular monument, Woodhenge, also built out of timber. Just walking around the Neolithic houses, we begin to see why this part of the West Country is so rich in Neolithic and Bronze Age finds. Not only is the open, rolling country so well-suited to farming – as it still is today – but also it’s purpose-built for house construction.
As visitors stroll around Stonehenge, they still kick up great lumps of chalk, studded with fragments of flint – the same chalk that built those ancient houses, the same flint that lit those long-extinguished ash fires. Suddenly, the Stone Age doesn’t seem so far away.