Salisbury Cathedral has the largest cloisters of any British Cathedral.

The cloisters were started as a purely decorative feature only five years after the cathedral building was completed, with shapes, patterns, and materials that copy those of the cathedral interior.

It was an ideal opportunity in the development of Early English Gothic architecture, and Salisbury Cathedral made full use of the new techniques of this emerging style. Pointed arches and lancet shapes are everywhere, from the prominent west windows to the painted arches of the east end. The narrow piers of the cathedral were made of cut stone rather than rubble-filled drums, as in earlier buildings, which changed the method of distributing the structure’s weight and allowed for more light in the interior. The piers are decorated with slender columns of dark gray Purbeck marble, which reappear in clusters and as stand-alone supports in the arches of the triforium, clerestory, and cloisters. The triforium and cloisters repeat the same patterns of plate tracery – basically stone cut-out shapes – of quatrefoils, cinquefoils, even hexafoils and octofoils. Proportions are uniform throughout.



14 Comments CherryPie on Jul 9th 2014

14 Responses to “Salisbury Cathedral – Cloisters”

  1. Lisl says:

    This has got to be one of my favourite Cathedrals – it’s good to see such good photos of it, thank you, Cherie

    • CherryPie says:

      I enjoyed my visit which had been a long time in waiting. I will be visiting Winchester later in the year, a first for that one too :-)

  2. JD says:

    “The cloisters were started as a purely decorative feature ”

    I don’t think so-

    Your link also says the spire is 404ft and I thought…is it?
    Every book I have read has the spire as 415ft.
    Building Construction Before Mechanization by John Fitchen

    Anybody measured it recently?
    Sorry to be pedantic – I don’t know what came over me! :)

  3. Astrid says:

    Fabulous pictures of the cloisters. The long waiting paid off, great weather and wonderful pictures.

  4. I have often thought I could live quite happily as a monk wandering round cloisters, especially in those places where they brew Belgian beer, but the inability to believe in anything seemed to disqualify me. Knowing what I know now I expect I would not have been alone in my lack of belief, for I have made the mistake through life of taking what people say literally. Ah well, lovely photo though.

    • CherryPie says:

      As far as I know most people believe in something unless they are thinking the world we live in is a dream…

      Glad you enjoyed the photos :-)

      • Well, there is a difference between suspecting or presuming and absolutely believing. To me the word belief implies internal certainty, and in our predicament as mere humans I don’t believe that certainty is justifiable (althugh I’m not certain about that) :)

  5. J_on_tour says:

    I still recall the feel of walking around a cloister for the first time as a child in Durham. that feeling of light, space and airiness remains with me as I visit other similar locations.