Welcome to the Sarum Customary Online

Update on website progress: December 2013

We have now completed the major phase of editing and translating four MS sources of the Sarum Customary, as well as translating the composite readings found in W. H. Frere’s Use of Sarum, I.

These texts are now available as PDF files. They can be viewed and downloaded here in three versions: Latin text with English translation interleaved, Latin text only, and English translation only.

In early 2014, as we gather corrections and comments on these texts and translations, these texts will be updated. We shall also be updating the sortable master list of Contents.

Once this revision stage is complete, the texts will be entered into the Direct Comparison and Free Comparison elements of the ‘Exploring’ section of the website. (NB: At present, although Direct Comparison and Free Comparison are operational, they include only preliminary versions of texts for test and demonstration.)

The ‘Customary’ and ‘Context’ sections of the website are complete. Building plans are still to be added. These will again follow in early 2014, along with ‘Further Reading’ and other ancillary materials.

Introducing the website

Here you can

  • find out about the late medieval liturgy of Salisbury Cathedral, the so-called Use of Sarum;
  • use the resources as a tool for study, investigation, or research into the ritual customs described in the Customary;
  • for the first time explore and compare different versions of the Sarum Customary in the original Latin and in English translation.

On this site you can find out about

  • the versions of the Customary, their ordering and manuscript sources, our approach to editing and translating - Customary
  • the community, buildings and liturgy at Salisbury and the wider background of medieval church and liturgy - Context
  • the project, the people, libraries, copyright and sitemap - About
  • how to be in touch with us - Contact

but above all, you can

  • explore, compare and search the texts of the Customary - Texts

What is the Sarum Customary? A short explanation

Sarum is a word derived from the Latin version of Salisbury.
A Customary is a document that tells you who does what, where, when and how.

The versions of the Customary available here tell you who was supposed to do what, where and when in the liturgy of Salisbury Cathedral in the late Middle Ages
– or more precisely in the two cathedrals at Salisbury:

  • the first cathedral built and enlarged in the eleventh and twelfth centuries in Old Salisbury (generally known as Old Sarum), and
  • the second cathedral built in the thirteenth century in the brand new town of New Salisbury – the present city of Salisbury.