After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, William the Conqueror used Old Sarum as a base of operations. William moved the bishopric from the Anglo-Saxon Sherborne Cathedral to Old Sarum, appointing his nephew, Osmund de Sees, as his chancellor and Bishop of Salisbury. Osmund had the first cathedral at Old Sarum built, completed in 1092. Sarum is described as a fortress rather than a city, placed on a high hill, surrounded by a massive wall. Peter of Blois (c.1135–1203) describes the site as "barren, dry, and solitary, exposed to the rage of the wind; and the church [stands] as a captive on the hill where it was built, like the ark of God shut up in the profane house of Baal."
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