Day 55 – Salisbury to Weymouth


AAAND here is the Torch, arriving in Salisbury! I haven’t been able to find out who this gentleman is, but he had the biggest grin as he moved past. Naturally, the rain showed up at the same time as he did.

I’ve lived in Salisbury all my life, give or take a couple of years in South Wales.  It’s offically a city, altbough it’s little more than a small market town in size, but its roots go back many centuries. The city and its history have always been an important part of my life, and much as I love travelling, I’m always happy to come home. Some of my stories are set in the area – Fox Hunt, a vampire story, is set in Wilsford, a small village a few miles away. The Psychic’s Tale is set near the Wiltshire/Dorset border, a few miles south of Salisbury, in a fictional village. The hero’s grandmother lives in Wilton, close to Salisbury.

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Salisbury from old Sarum by Andrew Michaels

The Torch left Reading and headed towards Wiltshire, passing through part of Salisbury Plain, famous for Army training areas and ancient monuments. My area of Wiltshire is packed with history and legend. Stonehenge is six miles away, Durrington Walls and Woodhenge even closer.

Salisbury itself began life over five thousand years ago on the hill overlooking the present city, where Neolithic hunter/gatherers dug the ditch and bank of a causewayed enclosure. Later in the Bronze Age and again in the Iron Age, the ditches were deepened, and a defensive hornwork built across the entrance.

The Romans came along and booted out the locals, and built them a small settlement in the valley below, alongside the River Avon where the village of Stratford-sub-Castle now sits. As usual, the Romans constructed roads for the swift passage of the legions, and constructed a small fort or way station behind the ramparts. Five roads met beside the hill, and one is still used. The footpath, locally called Portway, leads straight down to Stratford-sub-Castle.

When the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, the British took back their hillfort, but didn’t keep it long. A century or so later, Saxons turned up and defeated the locals, and settled down in the rich farmlands below the fort, leaving it deserted behind its mighty earth walls.

Reconstruction of Early Medieval Sarum: photo by hpeguk

What happened in the following centuries is admirably summed up by Moira Allen HERE, and it’s a pretty fascinating tale, including the imprisonment of Queen Eleanor, conflicts between castle folk and the clergy – ending in the resiting of the cathedral to its present location, Parliamentary history and misdeeds and Rotten Boroughs. Interestingly enough, the name of Salisbury can be traced all the way back to its Romano-British name of Sorbiodunon, via a medieval scribe’s ‘typo’.


In more recent times, ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath lived in Arundells, a magnificent old house dating from the 13th century, in The Close of Salisbury Cathedral. He was a noted musician as well as a scholar and yatchsman, and often played the massive organ in the Cathedral. A neighbour of his was Leslie Thomas, an internationally acclaimed author of many best-sellers. Another world-famous author lives not far from Salisbury – Terry Pratchett – now Sir Terry Pratchett!



Mompesson House

In 1995, Mompesson House, a beautiful eighteenth century town house in the Close, was used in the filming of Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslett, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. The last owner of Mompesson House, Denis Martineau, left it in his will to the National Trust, who have restored much of it to its Georgian splendour.

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Robert Rees, full-time librarian, part-time art restorer, is called in to finish a commission when his father goes into hospital – a pair of Elizabethan portraits on oak panelling, Adam Courtney and Ann Darcy. Trouble is, there’s more interest in the paintings than Rob ever bargained for; a lot of people want to get their hands on such priceless treasures, and they’re not always particular about their methods. Just as well he’s got his brother’s mysterious friend Fox on hand to look out for him, then, isn’t it? Or, for that matter … is it?

All Romance eBook Buy Link HERE

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THE PSYCHIC’S TALE – Part 1 of The Fitzwarren Inheritance

“I curse you and your children’s children, that you shall all live out your allotted years, and that those years shall be filled with grief and loss and betrayal, even as you have betrayed and bereaved me.”
Four hundred years ago in rural England, a mob burned two men to death, but not before one of them, Jonathan Curtess, hurled a dreadful curse at the mob’s leader, Sir Belvedere Fitzwarren. The curse has followed the family through the centuries, bringing grief and loss to each generation.
Mark  Renfrew is a closeted psychic and openly gay. When his grandmother discovers a family link to a 17th century feud and a still-potent curse, she insists he investigates and do his best to end it. When he travels to the village of Steeple Westford, he meets and falls for Jack Faulkner, an archaeologist. He also meets the Fitzwarrens, who are facing yet another tragedy.
Then Mark learns that the man who cursed them had twisted the knife by leaving three cryptic conditions that would lift the curse, and he knows he has to try to break the curse his ancestor had set.
Books in this series…
Book 1- The Psychic’s Tale by Chris Quinton
Book 2- The Soldier’s Tale by RJ Scott
Book 3- The Lord’s Tale by Sue Brown

Buy Link from Silver Publishing HERE


4 responses »

  1. Thanks for the lovely post, Chris. Ages since I’ve been to Salisbury – the close is so lovely.

    That gorgeous bloke in the wheelchair looks remarkably like Jim Fox, who was one of my teenage heroes. Modern pentathlon team gold, 1976. Boris Onischenko controversy and all that.

  2. Lovely post… (I couldn’t help but giggle at Edward Heath’s big organ… ROFL)

    I love this area of the country… I need to come down and visit! X

  3. Salisbury is lovely. I haven’t visited it for – ooh, must be 25 years. Not since my bro-in-law was a feckless student there 🙂 The cathedral close is gorgeous. Must visit Mompesson house too. thanks for a lovely post.

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