Salisbury Cathedral to mark 800th anniversary in 2020

Salisbury Cathedral plans to mark the 800th anniversary
Salisbury Cathedral plans to mark the 800th anniversary

Salisbury Cathedral and partners Salisbury BID, Salisbury City Council, Wiltshire Creative, Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership and Visit Wiltshire have announced plans for a year-long programme of events and activities in 2020 to mark the 800th anniversary of the laying of the first foundation stones of Salisbury Cathedral in 1220 and the development of modern Salisbury.

Photographed with a giant Salisbury 2020 logo at the city’s Guildhall, founding partners outlined plans for the year and invited local organisations, business and community groups to get involved and contribute their own events and activities to the evolving programme.

The story behind the anniversary begins in the early 1220s when Bishop Richard Poore, the medieval bishop of Salisbury, moved the cathedral and its community from Old Sarum to its present site. Driven by the need to access freshwater, and desperate to escape bad weather, royal supervision and regular harassment by soldiers stationed at Old Sarum Castle, his actions changed the community and landscape of South Wiltshire forever. By April 1220 the foundation stones for expansion of the city and what was to become an iconic national landmark were laid.

The anniversary programme is themed around movement with three ‘pillars’ or key areas of activity:

  • events that offer opportunities to take part in physical activities, echoing the strength and endeavour required to build a new cathedral
  • technology activities and events that celebrate the ingenuity of our forebears and offer ways to discover the latest in technology and science
  • activities and events that explore developments in thought and ideas across the last eight centuries

The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury said, “Salisbury 2020 was conceived over three years ago, but the key partnerships were forged in a time of adversity in 2018, when the city of Salisbury was called upon to show its resolve and prove its determination to move ahead with optimism, much like our forebears when they made their epochal move. To reflect this extraordinary spirit and vision we have an exciting programme of activities planned for Salisbury 2020 with music, worship, art and a flower festival, and we begin our celebrations in February with a light and sound spectacular inspired by the Cathedral’s history.”

Jeremy Nettle, Leader of Salisbury City Council said, “Salisbury City Council are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative – creativity, commerce and craftsmanship are in the DNA of Salisbury and this celebratory project with its city-wide events will enhance the vibrancy for residents and neighbouring towns and villages and encourage national and international visitors to spend more time in Salisbury uncovering its stories.”

For more information on how to get involved with Salisbury 2020, please visit Salisbury Cathedral website.