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Salisbury Cathedral
Ela Longespee


Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is home to one of four surviving 1215 Magna Carta, a cornerstone of liberty and human rights across the globe. For centuries it has stood at the heart of Salisbury - a place of intrigue, scandal, and legend.

Sky Building

The world within its walls

As you explore you'll hear the tale of Countess Ela of Salisbury - a towering female figure of the mid-13th century - and how she laid one of the Cathedral's foundation stones and buried her husband here after he died in mysterious circumstances.

Ela tells her incredible story whilst unveiling the hidden histories of this beautiful building - from the quirky tradition of the bumping stone to the violent legacy of religious conflict in England. Hers is a tale of mystery, political intrigue, war, murder, faith, and ultimately the freedom women like her gained from Magna Carta - all of which will unfold beneath the Spire of this gothic masterpiece.



Magna Carta

The magic arrow & Magna Carta

The story of Salisbury Cathedral and Magna Carta began two miles away in Old Sarum, where the original cathedral stood.

Legend has it that in 1220, after the Pope granted the clergy permission to relocate, the then-Bishop took up a bow and arrow and fired a single shot, declaring that he would build the new cathedral wherever the arrow landed.

Unbeknownst to him, the arrow struck a deer and was carried to the current site. Upon finding the fallen deer the Bishop, along with the Earl and Countess of Salisbury, William and Ela Longespée, laid the foundation stones of the present-day building.

Thus begins a long history, full of fascinating stories including William's suspicious death and Ela's great accomplishments.




About your visit

The app

Meet William Shakespeare, the Venerable Bede, Sir Joseph Banks, and a cast of colourful figures ready to take you on a journey through the annals of history. Along the way, you'll discover some of England's tallest tales, horrifying histories, magical myths, and larger-than-life legends.

All these stories and more will give you unique insight into the history of England's most stunning heritage sites. Simply download the English Historic Cities app now and take it with you to one of our 12 essential locations around the UK.

Useful info

6, The Close

Opening hours: 9am – 5pm daily

01722 555120