We recently drove down to Salisbury to visit the cathedral, naturally, and to wander round the “Cathedral Close” as it looked as if it could be quite pleasant. Since we have visited so many cathedral towns now we have also enjoyed the associated “closes” that most have. This is usually in the form of a square surrounding or extending out from one side of the cathedral bordered by lovely old buildings almost exclusively belonging to the church. This, of course, makes it a very exclusive area and one of some considerable privilege. To live or work in these environs would have to count as a some sort of blessing. Separated off from the hustle and bustle and worldliness of the town outside they represents havens of peace and little oases of history. Perfect for the English.
Salisbury’s cathedral close is particularly extensive (it is officially the largest in Britain as are its cloisters) and has two separate areas each with what one might call its own “village green”. I have added a gallery with pictures of the close and I hope that you will see that it feels as if they could all have been pictures of streets in a village and not within a large and busy town. As well as visiting the cathedral itself we wandered around a National Trust house in the close called Mompesson House which is yet another example of a home being donated to the Trust by the last owner, a Mr Dennis Martineau, who was then granted permission to live in it until he died on the condition that he maintained it.
Back at the cathedral there two further items of special note. Firstly the spire is the tallest in Britain and weighs 6,500 tons and secondly its quire stalls are the earliest complete set in the country.