Salisbury Square and Court mark the site of the medieval palace of the Bishops of Salisbury who owned land from the 12thCentury. Their house, where the Bishops would stay when summoned to London to attend Parliament, or on other business, was the largest and most important in the district. It stood just to the south of today’s St Bride’s Passage and its grounds extended down to the River Thames. Salisbury Court appears on Ralph Agas’s 1561 woodcut map of the City and was the main carriage entrance, Salisbury Square was its central courtyard. In 1564 the Bishops sold the house to Sir Richard Sackville, father of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset – hence Dorset Buildings and Dorset Rise leading out of Salisbury Square – and the property was briefly known as Sackville Place. The house was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and not rebuilt.
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