The tomb of William Longespee Earl of Salisbury
(died 7th March 1226), was opened in 1791. Inside Longespee's skull excavators found a dead rat curled
up. Amazingly the rat was preserved with much
of its skeleton and fur intact. Rumours persist that
the Earl had been poisoned! Was the rat the second victim of an unknown medieval murderer? Today the
rat is on display inside the Salisbury Museum.
I was asked to design four postcards for the Salibury Cathedral.
After an inspiring tour of the magnificent Cathderal, I decided to use
the incredible legends I had been told as themes for each postcard.
The client was delighted with this idea and we included
each story on the back of the postcards.
According to the legend a bowman was ordered,
by the Bishop Herbert Poore (1194-1217), to fire an
arrow from the ramparts of Old Sarum. Where the
arrow fell would be the site of the new Cathedral.
The arrow hit a stag who, mortally wounded, ran
on to fall dead at Marysfield. Where it died this
Cathedral was built.
The simple image of a cat etched into the Cathedral stone is believed to date back to the 17th Century,
when England was a Commonwealth. Was this the graffiti carved by Dutch prisoners who were gaoled
in the Cloisters in 1653?
During the great storm of 26th June 1741, the Cathedral was struck by lightening so powerful that many inhabitants of the Close were woken up by the thunderbolt. The next morning flames were seen pouring out of the windows. The tower was on fire! Help was called and a chain of people passing buckets of water took two hours to quench it. Another hour and the great tower would have been destroyed.