Plans to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral and city announced | Salisbury Cathedral

Search form

Join us for our special 'Behind the Library Door' events for half term this week... click here for details.


Plans to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral and city announced

Today (Wednesday 16 October) plans for Salisbury 2020: City on the move, a year-long programme of events and activities

You are here

Plans to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral and city announced

Posted By : Roz Mitchell Tuesday 15th October 2019

Today (Wednesday 16 October) plans for Salisbury 2020: City on the move, a year-long programme of events and activities marking the 800th anniversary of the laying of Salisbury Cathedral’s first foundation stone and the development of Salisbury, were announced at the city’s Guildhall.

Photographed with a giant Salisbury 2020 logo, founding partners Salisbury Cathedral with Salisbury BID, Salisbury City Council, Visit Wiltshire, Wiltshire Creative, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership outlined plans for the year and invited local organisations, business and community groups to get involved and contribute their own events and activities to the evolving programme.

The logo was kindly provided by Signs Express Salisbury who, along with a number of other local organisations, have already agreed to take part in the year. A full list of partners will be released in due course along with a full events programme.

The story behind the anniversary begins in the early 1220s when Bishop Richard Poore, the medieval bishop of Salisbury, moved the cathedral and its community from Old Sarum to its present site.

Driven by the need to access fresh water, and desperate to escape bad weather, royal supervision and regular harassment by soldiers stationed at Old Sarum Castle, his actions changed the community and landscape of South Wiltshire forever.

By April 1220 the foundation stones for what was to become an iconic national landmark were laid and expansion of the city we know and love.

The anniversary programme is themed around movement with three ‘pillars’ or key areas of activity:

  • events that offer opportunities to take part in physical activities, echoing the strength and endeavour required to build a new cathedral
  • technology activities and events that celebrate the ingenuity of our forebears and offer ways to discover the latest in technology and science
  • activities and events that explore developments in thought and ideas across the last eight centuries


Anyone wishing to find out more about Salisbury 2020 can register to receive information about how to get involved here.

The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury said:
"Salisbury 2020 was conceived over three years ago, but the key partnerships were forged in a time of adversity in 2018, when the city of Salisbury was called upon to show its resolve and prove its determination to move ahead with optimism, much like our forebears when they made their epochal move. To reflect this extraordinary spirit and vision we have an exciting programme of activities planned for Salisbury 2020 with music, worship, art and a flower festival, and we begin our celebrations in February with a light and sound spectacular inspired by the Cathedral’s history."

Jeremy Nettle, leader of Salisbury City Council said:
“Salisbury City Council are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative – creativity, commerce and craftsmanship are in the DNA of Salisbury and this celebratory project with its city wide events will enhance vibrancy for residents and neighboring towns and villages and encourage national and international visitors to spend more time in Salisbury uncovering its stories.”

Robin McGowan, Chief Executive of Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID), said:
Salisbury 2020 will be a fantastic celebration of our city and we’re pleased the BID is a supporting partner. The yearlong programme of events will increase the vibrancy of our city centre and will give visitors from far and wide the reason to visit Salisbury. The BID is planning some exciting initiatives around the appearance of the city and as the organisation representative of Salisbury’s city centre businesses, we’re encouraging businesses to get involved with the 2020 programme.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader of Wiltshire Council said:
“We are delighted to be working closely with partners, especially Salisbury Cathedral, to deliver exciting and innovative events and activities that will hopefully encourage younger residents to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the future. Salisbury 2020 marks the founding of the Cathedral that was the catalyst for the formation of Salisbury and we look forward to celebrating this momentous year with our residents.”

Wiltshire Creative Executive Director Sebastian Warrack and Artistic Director Gareth Machin said:
“We are delighted to be working with the other city partners towards Salisbury 2020 and we are putting the final touches to a year of performances and events in our venues. As part of this, the 2020 Salisbury International Arts Festival will celebrate the beauty, courage and joy of human movement, inspiring everyone to enjoy our beautiful city.”

Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership Chief Executive, Steve Boocock said:
Salisbury 2020 is a great opportunity for the people of Salisbury to get out and about, try something new and get moving.  Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership are working with the City Council and local organisations to provide support for coaching, to deliver a programme of physical activities and showcase what is available in South Wiltshire”

For any further details please get in touch with: Marie Thomas at Salisbury Cathedral on 01722 555148.