Salisbury, Wiltshire Genealogy
Guide to Salisbury, Wiltshire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.
|Poor Law Union||Alderbury|
|Parish registers: 1564|
|Bishop's Transcripts: 1678|
|Rural Deanery||Not Applicable|
|Probate Court||Court of the Peculiar of the Dean of Salisbury|
|Location of Archive|
|Wiltshire Record Office|
Salisbury (or New Sarum). parish and municipal bor., city, and county town of Wiltshire, on the Upper Avon, at confluence of the Bourne and the Nadder and Wiley, 28 miles W. of Winchester and 83 SW. of London by rail. The extraparochial district of the Cathedral Close begun in 1220, and completed in 1258, is one of the finest specimens of Gothic architecture in the kingdom. The grammar school in the Close is for the education of eight boys.
The correct name for the city is SARUM, either old Sarum for the historic city, or New Sarum that was the city's official name until 2005. The Roman name Sorviodunum was a Latinized form of the Celtic name as well.
Salisbury is located about 90 miles almost due west of London, in a shallow valley. The geology of the area, like much of South Wiltshire and Hampshire, is largely chalk.
It is located on the same plain, and close to, Stonehenge and Avebury, two world famous ancient henges or stone circles in the area. While Stonehenge is the most famous, Avebury is by far the largest, and is a set of two concentric stone rings.
The hilltop at Old Sarum lies near the Neolithic sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and shows some signs of early settlement. It commanded a salient between the River Bourne and the Hampshire Avon near a crossroads of several early trade routes. During the Iron Age, a hill fort (oppidum) was constructed around it sometime between 600 and 300 BC.
Preferring settlements in bottom lands like nearby Wilton, the Saxons largely ignored Old Sarum until the Viking invasions led King Alfred to restore its fortifications.
Following the Norman invasion, a motte-and-bailey castle was constructed by 1070. The castle was held directly by the Norman kings; its castellan was generally also the sheriff of Wiltshire.
Osmund, a relative of William the Conqueror, was responsible for the codification of the "Sarum Rite", as well as the work that resulted in the Domesday book, which was probably presented to William at Old Sarum.
In 1075, the Council of London established Herman as the first bishop of Salisbury, uniting his former sees of Sherborne and Ramsbury into a single diocese which covered the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, and Berkshire. (He had earlier planned to move his seat to Malmesbury but was blocked by its monks and Earl Godwin. Hermann and his successor Saint Osmund began the construction of the first Salisbury cathedral but neither lived to see its completion in 1092.
The original cathedral was consecrated on 5 April 1092 but suffered extensive damage in a storm, traditionally said to have occurred only five days later. Bishop Roger refurbished and expanded Old Sarum's cathedral in the 1110s.
The present Cathedral building in New Sarum—the present Salisbury Cathedral—began in 1221. The site was supposedly established by shooting an arrow from Old Sarum, although this is certainly a legend: the distance is over 3 km (1.9 mi). The main body was completed in only 38 years. (The 123 m or 404 ft tall spire, the tallest in the UK, was built later.) This cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. New Sarum was made a city by a charter from King Henry III in 1227 and, by the 14th century, was the largest settlement in Wiltshire. Salisbury Cathedral also holds one of 5 copies extant of the original MAGNA CARTA. It is located within the cathedral.
In the 12th., 13th., and 14th. centuries, through to the early 15th. century, Salisbury was a major center of the woolen industry. However in about 1450 a number of riots broke out in Salisbury probably due to its declining fortunes in the cloth industry.
Salisbury was the site chosen to assemble James II's forces to resist the Glorious Revolution in the late 1600's. James II failed in this attempt, and Salisbury became, thereafter, only a major market town for the Wiltshire region.
The Salisbury City Council website for cemeteries and crematoria follows:,br>
Salisbury has several cemeteries and crematoria:
Devices Road Cemetery
Salisbury, Wiltshire SP2 7ND
Devices Road cemetery transcriptions
Note: At the present time there are no new interments in this cemetery.
London Road Cemetery
Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3JB
London Road cemetery transcriptions
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.
Salisbury has its own cathedral, one of the most famous in the UK, and its own Diocese. This Salisbury Anglican Diocese website provides links for all parishes in the Diocese.
There are a number of active Anglican churches:
St Martin's Church
Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2HY
Phone: 01722 503123
St Thomas' and St Edmund's Church
St. Thomas' Square
All Saints Church
+44 7925 108856
St Mark's Church
64 Barrington Rd
+44 1722 340368
St George's Church
+44 7925 108856
St Mary and St Nicholas' Church
27A West St
+44 1722 742393
St Paul's Church
Salisbury SP2 7QW
Phone: +44 1722 334005
St Laurence's Church
Salisbury SP1 3LL
Phone: +44 1980 611942
St Francis' Church
2 Beatrice Rd
Salisbury SP1 3PN
Phone: +44 1722 333762
43 Barnard St
Salisbury SP1 2BJ
Other Christian and non-christian groups follow:
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
- Jehovah's Witness
- Roman Catholic
- Seventh Day Adventist
Non Christian groups that meet regularly in Salisbury include:
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. Salisbury City does not appear to have its own BMD source. The following links provide access for Salisbury:
- A Sarum Chronicle
- A Salisbury past by Ruth Newman and Jane Howells
- Salisbury Through Time by Carol Dixon-Smith and Catherine Essenhigh
Maps and Gazetteers
Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.
- England Jurisdictions 1851
- Vision of Britain
- Vision of Britain: Salisbury Gazetteer
- Visit Wiltshire; Salisbury map
- Michelin maps: Salisbury
- old maps on line: Salisbury
- Britain Express: Salisbury Gazetteer
For most of its history, Salisbury was a market town and religious center. The area surrounding the city is a vast fertile lowland, and so agriculture has always provided both the produce, and Salisbury the market to sell that which was produced.
Salisbury holds a Charter market on Tuesdays and Saturdays and has held markets regularly since 1227. In the 15th century the Market Place had four crosses. The Poultry Cross whose name describes its market. The cheese and milk cross indicated that market which was in the triangle between the HSBC bank and the Salisbury Library. There was a third cross near the site of the present war memorial and this marked a woolen and yarn market. A fourth cross called Barnwell or Barnards Cross was situated around the Culver Street, Barnard Street area, this marked a cattle and livestock market. Today only the Poultry Cross remains, to which flying buttresses were added in 1852.
Because of the fame of the Cathedral, as well as the city's proximity to both Stonehenge and Avebury, both World Heritage sites, the major occupation available in the city is tourism and hostelry. It is also close to the Kennet and Avon canal, and narrow-boat holidays have become very important in the tourism industry and provides further employment in the region.
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Wiltshire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
- Wiltshire Family History Society
- genuki, Wiltshire
- Findmypast Wiltshire
- Salisbury FHS lectures
- Salisbury History Society
- Wiltshire Archives
- National Archives; Salisbury
- Salisbury Cathedral Archives
- genuki Wiltshire Archives
- Samuel A. Lewis A Topographical Dictionary of England1848, pp. 5-11 Adapted 2 April 2013
- Wikipedia contributors, "Salisbury," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salisbury, accessed 22 October, 2017.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Salisbury," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sallisbury, accessed 25 October, 2017.