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Salisbury moving from RP to local dialect) is a cathedral city in the English County of Wiltshire. The city forms the largest part of the Salisbury district. It has also been called New Sarum to distinguish it from the original site of settlement at Salisbury, Old Sarum, but this alternative name is not in common use. Similarly, a native of Salisbury may be known as a "Sarumite"[citation needed], but this term is also not commonly used. In 1990 Salisbury was twinned with Saintes in France, and in 2006 with Xanten in Germany. The city is located in the south-east of Wiltshire, at the edge of Salisbury Plain.

Salisbury railway station serves the city, and is the crossing point between the West of England Main Line and the Wessex Main Line making it a regional interchange.

Salisbury is at the confluence of five rivers: the Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne are tributary to the Avon (Brythonic for 'river'), which flows to the south coast and into the sea at Christchurch, Dorset.

The location was chosen for a settlement because of the abundance of water. The city's origins go back to the Iron Age. The Romans called it "Sorviodunum". In modern Welsh the city is Caersallog. There was a battle between the West Saxons and the Britons here, after which the place was called "Searoburh". The Normans built a castle and called it "Searesbyrig" or "Seresberi". By 1086, in the Domesday Book, it was called "Salesberie". The site of the castle is now known as Old Sarum. Old Sarum was a rotten borough that was abolished as at the time, one MP represented three households. The bury element is a form of borough, which has cognates in words and place names throughout the Germanic languages. For a fuller explanation, see borough.

The origins of the name "Sarum" are obscure. It most likely derives from the fact that Sarum came into use when documents were written in contracted Latin. It was easier to write Sar with a stroke over the "r", than write the complete word "Saresberie". That mark was also the common symbol for the Latin termination "um". Hence "Sar" with a stroke over the r was copied as "SarUM". One of the first known uses of "Sarum" is on the seal of Saint Nicholas Hospital, Salisbury, which was in use in 1239. Bishop Wyville (1330-1375) was the first Bishop to describe himself "episcopus Sarum".

August 2000

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