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Water Meadows

In the 1190s the bishop, dean and chapter of canons of Salisbury Cathedral embarked upon a visionary enterprise. At that time the cathedral was situated within the crowded precincts of the king's castle now known as Old Sarum. The clergy resolved to move to a new site where they would build a magnificent cathedral set on spacious grounds with large tracts of land for the houses of the canons and dean and for the bishop's palace, a town laid out on a grid of streets around a large market square with a unique hydraulic system that would provide the townspeople with fresh water diverted from the river and parish churches to serve a growing population. Many years passed before the plan could be implemented. Then on April 28, 1220, in solemn ceremony, stones were laid for the foundations of the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. By the day of consecration, September 20, 1258, the cathedral and the town were flourishing. The dream had become reality.