Having explained how the new Cathedral came about in Salisbury Cathedral Pt 1, I’d like to talk a bit more about the building itself.
To start with I don’t suppose any building that’s been around for almost 800 years would have been untouched in any way, and of course Salisbury Cathedral is no exception, but the good news is that this remarkable church is still essentially the same as when it was built.
There have been a few hiccups along the way mind you including the removal of many of the stained-glass windows during the Reformation, and even some damage during the Civil War, but as was often the case, well-meaning restorers probably did the most amount of damage.
According to the official Salisbury Cathedral guidebook, the late 18th century saw James Wyatt clear the churchyard, demolish the Bell Tower, lime-wash the vaulting, cover medieval paintings, and remove even more medieval glass.
It wasn’t all bad news though. If you take a look at the West Front, you’ll find that there are 79 statues adorning the façade, and 72 of them have been added since the 19th century. George Gilbert Scott was responsible for most of them during his period of restoration between 1860 and 1876, and I reckon the West Front looks fantastic.
As soon as you enter the church, you’ll be in the impressive 200 ft (60m) long Nave with its triforium and clerestory reaching up to a height of 84 ft (25.2 m).
In the centre of the Cathedral, and flanked by the North and South Transepts, the Spire Crossing separates the Nave from the Quire and High Altar. If you look upwards you can see how an extra 6,500 tons of stone to build the Spire has caused the columns of Purbeck Marble to bend.
At the eastern end is the Trinity Chapel with its modern Prisoners of Conscience Window, and from here, if you follow the South Quire Aisle to the South Transept, a doorway will lead into the Cloisters and the Chapter House. For the energetic there are tours of the Tower which give inside views of the Spire.
As regards the practicalities, entry is free but donations are requested. At the time of writing (March 2018), a full paying adult is expected to fork out £7.50, which I don’t think is unreasonable when you consider that there is no financial help from the Church or government and it costs around £12,000 a day to run and maintain the building – and what’s more, unlike some places, you’re free to take photographs inside.