Old Sarum is the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury in England. Located on a hill about 2 miles (3 km) north of modern Salisbury near the A345 road, the settlement appears in some of the earliest records in the country. It is an English Heritage property and is open to the public. The great monoliths of Stonehenge and Avebury were erected nearby and indications of have been discovered from as early as 3000 BC. An Iron Age hillfort was erected around 400 BC, controlling the intersection of two native trade paths and the Hampshire Avon. The site continued to be occupied during the , when the paths became roads. The took the British fort in the 6th century and later used it as a stronghold against marauding Vikings. The constructed a motte and bailey castle, a stone curtain wall, and a great cathedral. A royal palace was built within the castle for King Henry I and was subsequently used by Plantagenet monarchs. This heyday of the settlement lasted for around 300 years until disputes between the Wiltshire sheriff and the Salisbury bishop finally led to the removal of the church into the nearby plain. As New Salisbury grew up around the construction site for the new cathedral in the early 13th century, the buildings of Old Sarum were dismantled for stone and the old town dwindled. Its long-neglected castle was abandoned by Edward II in 1322 and sold by Henry VIII in 1514. Although the settlement was effectively uninhabited, its landowners continued to have parliamentary representation into the 19th century, making it the most notorious of the rotten boroughs that existed before the Reform Act of 1832. Most famously, Old Sarum served as a pocket borough of the Pitt family. Wikipedia
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