Salisbury and the Cathedral are featured in England's Historic Cities, an app that brings to life stories from some of the UK's finest and oldest cities. The app, which can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play, uses ground-breaking augmented reality (AR) technology to explore the hidden lives of some of the Cathedral's most fascinating medieval characters.
App users are introduced to Countess Ela of Salisbury, a towering female figure from the mid-13th century. Ela was the wife of William Longespée, King John's illegimate brother and his advisor at Runnymede when Magna Carta was sealed in 1215. As Earl and Countess of Salisbury, the couple were great benefactors of the Cathedral and laid one of the first foundation stones. William was the first person to be buried here and his tomb stands on the plinth between the Nave and the South Nave aisle. Using 360 degree pictures, video and stills, the app tells the story of their long and happy marriage and Longespée's sudden death in mysterious circumstances. Tales of political intrigue, war, murder and faith are recounted alongside the story of Magna Carta and the Cathedral's thousand year old tradition of choral music.
Jane Morgan, Director of Development and Communications said: "Enabling visitors to encounter our Cathedral using digital technology is something we have long wanted to do. This app brings to life people who were intimately involved in the construction of this extraordinary building and the story of our 1215 Magna Carta. It allows visitors to ‘meet’ characters from our past and ‘visit’ Cathedral spaces that are not readily accessible to the public.”
David Andrews, CEO VisitWiltshire said: “We are delighted to be working on this project as the city has so much to offer visitors to the area. We want to ensure our Visit Salisbury website is a top-of-mind resource for visitors to the county and embracing technology in this way can only be positive for Wiltshire’s tourism economy going forward.”
Nicola Said, Head of Digital and Funding at Marketing Cheshire, who has delivered the project on behalf of the Heritage Cities, said: "This is one of the most exciting tourism products on the market – a true marrying of old and new and a completely innovative way to inspire an increasingly digital world to take a step back into the past. I cannot wait to see the app in action and watch people from all around the world take pleasure in England’s glorious, captivating history. It will enable all the cities in question to be able to reach new audiences and showcase the iconic cultural heritage we have to offer."
This exciting new project is one of a number of projects to benefit from the £40 million Discover England Fund - a central government funded programme of activity administered by VisitEngland supported by match-funding from private and public partners. It is the result of a close collaboration between Visit Wiltshire, Salisbury BID, Salisbury City Council and Salisbury Cathedral.
England’s Heritage Cities, a curated group of fascinating and prestigious locations, cover the length and breadth of England, from Canterbury to Durham and Salisbury to Carlisle. They offer diverse experiences and all of them are well-connected via rail, making it easy for tourists to travel to more than one at a time. To download England’s Historic Cities go to www.historic-cities.com/stories or find it in either Google Play or iTunes.