Old Sarum, Wiltshire Family History Guide

Old Sarum is an extra-parochial place.

Alternative names: Old Castle

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers:
  • Bishop’s Transcripts:

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

SARUM (Old), a quondam city and an extra-parochial tract in Alderbury district, Wilts. The city stood on a lofty eminence, on the S border of Salisbury plain, nearly midway between the rivers Avon and Bourn, and on Icknield-street, at a convergence of Roman roads from Winchester, Silchester, Speen, the Severn, and Dorchester, 2 miles N of Salisbury; occupied the site of the Roman station Sorbiodunum; was known to the Saxons as Searebyrig or Sarisbyrig, signifying “the dry town;” was taken from the Britons, in 552, by the Saxon king Cynric or Kenric; is supposed to have been re-fortified, with addition of outer entrenchment in 871, by Alfred; was the meeting-place of a wittenagemot of Edgar, in 960, to concert a defence of England against the Danes; became the seat of a diocese in 1072, by removal to it of the see of Sherborne or Wilton; was the meeting-place of a great council in 1086, convoked by the Conquerorto establish the feudal system; had its cathedral completed and formally opened in 1092; was the meeting-place of a council of William Rufus in 1096; was visited by Henry I. in 1100, 1106, and 1116; was taken and damaged by the Empress Maud, in her wars with Stephen; was partly restored, and had a castle rebuilt, by Henry II.; began to decline at the removal of its see to Salisbury in 1220; continued, nevertheless, to be a resort of kings and a place of national councils down to the 15th century; sank afterwards into such desolation as not to have one inhabited house; sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward I., and continued to send them till disfranchised by the reform act of 1832; is now represented by only remains of ditches and ramparts, enclosing an area of about 27½ acres; had suburbs extending beyonds these limits a considerable way down the hill; presents now a dreary surface, partly under the plough, partly in a state of waste; and commands a very fine view over Salisbury plain and along the valley of the neighbouring rivers. The extra-parochial tract includes the quondam city, and bears the alternative name of Old Castle; but, in 1861, had only one house.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

See Also Salisbury Wiltshire Family History Guide

Coombs Henry, Sarum, Wiltshire, money scrivener, April 22, 1834.


Vision of Britain historical maps


  • County: Wiltshire
  • Civil Registration District: Alderbury
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Salisbury (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Not Applicable
  • Rural Deanery: Not Applicable
  • Poor Law Union: Alderbury
  • Hundred: Underditch
  • Province: Canterbury