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REGALIZING 800 years of Salisbury Market Square history is no easy task, but the guest speaker from the Fisherton History Society managed to cover a lot of information in just a few hours.

The event took place on Wednesday, October 12, and Geoff Lang, a local amateur historian, raved about his findings to a packed house at the Pheasant Inn in the city center.

His speech began at Old Sarum where the town of Salisbury was born. He said that at this time the king owned the Burrough and the council and people of Old Sarum paid the king their taxes, but market tolls were paid to the bishop of the day.

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Moving downtown, Geoff described the market as the hub where everyone used to meet and showed old maps and photos marking the transformation of where residents still meet and shop. today some 800 years later.

Introducing the Fisherton Historical SocietyGeoff Lang – Fisherton Historical Society

He said: ‘The northern boundary in its early years is the same as today and ran from Blue Boar Row to Queen’s Street, but the southern boundary would have been at the new canal, so much larger, and even at the top of the High Street District. It had to be this big for things other than the market to enter.

Geoff said wealthy people were drawn to the area and merchants took the best properties around the perimeter of the market and in the town center today many of these medieval buildings remain.

Geoff believes that at some point a courthouse and prison would have been on the east side since at least the 1240s and St Thomas’ Church would have overlooked the market. From public whippings to the medieval pillory, a lot has happened in central Salisbury over the years.

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Society members said the conference provided fascinating and fun insight into the properties around Market Place and the people who live there. It included shops through the ages and the revelation that Salisbury had its own Turkish bath which would have been located in the Cross Keys area.

To learn more, visit the Fisherton History Society Facebook page.