Cathedrals require a large supporting population of clergy, cleaners, and choristers. Like many English cathedrals, Salisbury Cathedral is surrounded by a close, or enclosure, of walls and houses where bishops and clerics have lived since the cathedral was constructed back in the 13th century. The Bishop of Salisbury still lives there, although he doesn't live in the Bishop's Palace these days, but most of the homes are now rented out to more secular residents. A school of theology has been teaching scripture there since the Middle Ages.
Arched stone gates cut through the walls and connected the sacred inner sanctum to the profanity of costermongers and fishwives on the cobblestone streets leading to the central marketplace. The original gates are still there: High Gate (or North Gate) towards the market square, Queen's Gate and Harnham Gate to the west and south where the River Avon curves around the close, and St. Anne's Gate in the northeast corner, leading to the even older church of St. Martin's parish.
St. Anne's Gate dates back to 1331, and has a small chapel built in above it where Handel gave his first performances in England, according to some reports; others say the concerts were held in the music room at Malmesbury House, built around 1430 and connected to the west side of the gate. Malmesbury House was recently put up for sale - at only 5 million pounds it's a bargain, though the upkeep would be fairly expensive. A 16th-century brick gatehouse huddles in the shadow of the larger mansion, and on the other side an 18th-century Regency townhouse looks down its dormered nose at the passers-by.
St. Anne is the patron saint (or "patroness") of women in labor, miners, cabinet-makers, sailors, mothers, equestrians, childless women, lace-makers, and/or dealers in old clothes. You can celebrate any or all of these on July 26th each year.
Away from the older structures in the center of town, more modern brick buildings make up most of the architectural landscape of Salisbury. The mix of clay, sand, and gravel that makes up much of the region led to the establishment and tradition of brick-making in the 14th century (if not earlier) in this region, with several brick and tile works providing jobs in the 18th and 19th century. The manor and village at Downton, about 6 miles south of Salisbury along the Avon, have been rebuilt and maintained with local brick. It's not the Downton of Downton Abbey, although the real-life Highclere Castle is less than 50 miles away to the northeast. There is, however, a yearly Cuckoo Fair.
This week in Salisbury they held their Charter Fair, which has been a yearly event since 1227, when Henry III granted the Bishop of Salisbury the right to hold a fair on the third Monday of every October. Since the history of the region goes back to Roman times and before, there have undoubtedly been fairs held for millennia in the area.
Salisbury escaped the destruction of the bombing raids that devastated London in World War II because the German airplane pilots were told to use the cathedral's steeple as a position marker, rather than blasting it off the landscape. What they were aiming for, among other things, was the Spitfire factory in Woolston, about 50 miles away on coast to the southeast. By the time the Germans destroyed the factory, most of the manufacturing and equipment had been moved to satellite locations, including Salisbury. For several years during the war, many of the wing-mounted fuel tanks for these fighter planes were built in the bus station there.