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The site of Old Sarum is located one and a half miles north of the present town of Salisbury. Here the Normans built a royal castle within the earthworks of an Iron Age hillfort. During the twelfth century a great tower and palace were built in the inner bailey. The cathedral, begun in the late eleventh century, was constructed on the north side of the outer bailey. The cathedral remained the seat of the bishopric until 1218 when the pope permitted the clergy to remove it to a new site.
Unwrap over 450 years of history at Wilton House, where you will experience living history at its very best. Take time to uncover its secrets as you wander through its magnificent rooms, marvel at its architecture, soak in its fine paintings or be swept off your feet by its spectacular gardens.
Wilton House is one of the Treasure Houses of England and whether you are a day visitor, group organiser, conference co-ordinator or event manager, you can be sure the house, its grounds, adventure playground and restaurant will promise an exciting and memorable day out.
Wilton House - A Living History Wilton House opened its doors to the general public on the 1st May 1951 and this 450 year old building with its history, architecture, art treasures and 21 acres of gardens and parkland has attracted visitors from all over the world. Wilton House stands on the site of a ninth century nunnery founded by King Alfred. This, in turn, was replaced by a twelfth century Benedictine abbey which, with its surrounding lands, was surrendered at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries, to King Henry V111, who gave them to William Herbert around 1542. Wilton House has remained in the family since that time and is now the home of Henry Herbert - the 17th Earl of Pembroke. Around 1632 Isaac De Caus began work on a ambitious project to transform the gardens at Wilton House to include a variety of water features stretching over 300 metres across the river. At the same time plans were drawn up to extend the house to match the dimensions of the garden. However, change in family fortunes forced a scale down of these plans to the present size
Following a fire in 1647 which severely damaged the interior of the south range, John Webb completed the rebuilding of the house. The south front and State Rooms remain a testimony to the architect’s skill and the popularity of the Palladian style of architecture in the middle of the seventeenth century. The Single and Double Cube Rooms are recognised as the grandest rooms of this period in England. Double Cube Room
The ninth Earl was an architect who, in 1737 built the Palladian Bridge spanning the River Nadder. Between 1801 and 1815 the eleventh Earl had cloisters designed on two levels and the same time remodelling the north and west sides of the house and creating what is now the main entrance. Between 1987 and 1992, the present Earl commissioned a major restoration project on the inside and outside of the building and to celebrate the completion of this scheme, a new Coat of Arms was carved to replace the much eroded one on the inside of the Clock tower.
Wilton House, 450 year old home to the Earl of Pembroke, provides a fascinating insight into British history. The house contains many splendid State rooms including the magnificent Double Cube room which houses the world famous collection of Van Dyck paintings. This room, among others has offered film-makers the perfect setting for films such as 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Mrs Brown'.