The Salisbury Link to The Pillars of the Earth
Salisbury Cathedral was built in just 38 years in the 13th Century. This was quick for a medieval cathedral, and took place less than 100 years after the fictional Kingsbridge Cathedral was built in a similarly rapid timescale. The two buildings demonstrate a wealth of architectural parallels, notably the Gothic arches and rows of narrow, pointed 'lancet' windows, and Ken Follett has written about how Salisbury Cathedral was one of his inspirations as he researched The Pillars of the Earth.
The director of The Pillars of the Earth, Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, visited Salisbury Cathedral in 2008 and spent time taking detailed notes about the building as well as receiving input from our Consultant Archaeologist, Tim Tatton Brown. Special effects photographers followed in October 2009 meaning that elements of the real Salisbury Cathedral are seen on screen during the 8 hour TV film woven into the stunning location photography shot in Hungary and Austria.
A fabulous personal link between Cathedral and film became apparent as location shooting began when David Oakes, who plays the evil William Hamleigh, mentioned that as well as being educated at Bishop Wordsworth School in the Salisbury Cathedral Close he was also the son of a current Canon of Salisbury Cathedral - Jeremy Oakes!
The book revolves around the building of a beautiful medieval cathedral, built to the glory of God. As the modern day Salisbury Cathedral continues to serve the purpose for which it was built, a current generation of craftsmen keeps the skills practiced by Tom Builder and Jack Jackson alive as they work to protect, restore and safeguard the building's beauty for future generations.