Old Sarum in Wiltshire, an uninhabited hill which until 1832 elected two Members of Parliament. Painting by John Constable, 1829
A reconstruction of Old Sarum in the 12th century, housed at Salisbury Cathedral
An 1829 sketch of Old Sarum by John Constable, displaying the site of the abandoned hillfort
A 1916 plan of Old Sarum by the Ordnance Survey (300 ft ≈ 92 m)
Aerial view of Old Sarum
The present ruins: the exposed foundations of the cathedral in the foreground and the Norman central motte behind
The exposed foundations of the cathedral

Although the settlement was effectively uninhabited, its landowners continued to have parliamentary representation into the 19th century, making it one of the most notorious of the rotten boroughs that existed before the Reform Act of 1832.

- Old Sarum

For example, in the 12th century Old Sarum had been a busy cathedral city, reliant on the wealth expended by its own Sarum Cathedral within its city precincts, but it was abandoned when the cathedral was moved to create the present Salisbury Cathedral, built on a new site nearby ("New Sarum").

- Rotten and pocket boroughs
Old Sarum in Wiltshire, an uninhabited hill which until 1832 elected two Members of Parliament. Painting by John Constable, 1829

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Old Sarum in Wiltshire, an uninhabited hill which elected two Members of Parliament. Painting by John Constable, 1829.

Old Sarum (UK Parliament constituency)

From 1295 to 1832 a parliamentary constituency of England , of Great Britain (until 1800), and finally of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

From 1295 to 1832 a parliamentary constituency of England , of Great Britain (until 1800), and finally of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Old Sarum in Wiltshire, an uninhabited hill which elected two Members of Parliament. Painting by John Constable, 1829.

It was a so-called rotten borough, with an extremely small electorate that was consequently vastly over-represented and could be used by a patron to gain undue influence.

The constituency was on the site of what had been the original settlement of Salisbury, known as Old Sarum.