A Matter of Britain
In and Around Salisbury
In the following section is the information your character knows about specific locations in his homeland and neighboring regions.
See the map of the County of Salisbury and the associated Travel Times map, which shows the same area in terms of how many days’ ride places are from one another. Travel times are based upon 15 miles per day, always following the roads.
Aurelius Ambrosius, the first Pendragon and brother of Uther, built these massive earthworks as a part of a defense system against the Saxons to the east. Too large to be manned as walls, these were used to observe the moving army, hinder its approach, and hide an ambushing defensive army. They now mark the northern boundary of the county.
Aurelius Ambrosius established this monastery, which is still supported by royal funds. It is a double-abbey, having facilities for both men and women. Although this is within the county, it is actually a fief of the Church and contributes no income to the earl.
This river is one of several of the same name in Britain. It is the main drainage of the Salisbury Plain, and continues to flow southward through the Camelot Forest and Dorset to the British Sea. It is navigable by coastal ships that sail all the way up to Wilton.
This is an ancient hill fort. Its great destiny lies in the future, after the Saxons have overrun a large part of Britain.
The main city of Somerset, it is called in Latin Aqua Sulis, or the Baths of Sulis, because of the magical healing properties of its springs. It is three days’ ride from Sarum, in the land of Somerset.
This is a north-facing bank and ditch built in Roman times to separate tribes that have, since then, become extinct.
It now marks the boundary between the counties of Salisbury and Dorset.
A tributary to the Avon River. Many villages and farms dot the valley.
This is a fortified city that serves as the local market, and is part of the fief of Clarence. It is about two days’ ride from Sarum.
Caer Gwent is a small city about two days’ ride from Sarum, the center of the county of Hampshire. It was an important Roman city, but deteriorated badly before and during the Saxon occupation. It is destined to become the capital first of the invading Saxons, and then of King Arthur, when it will house the Round Table.
This is a dense forest that forms the southern border of Salisbury County. It is inhabited by both normal and fabulous beasts.
This dense forest lies several days’ ride north of Sarum. It stretches for many miles, primarily east and west, and encloses many holdings, some of which are still independent from the king’s rule.
Like all forests, it houses many strange creatures, but is especially noted for a pair of huge night-black lions that periodically terrorize nearby peasants. A persistent rumor about the forest tells of a rich princess imprisoned in a tower surrounded by a garden of giant, thorny roses.
This was once an important Roman city, and is now the primary seat of the Duke of Clarence. It is about four days’ ride from Sarum.
The Duke of Clarence feuds continually with the Duke of Gloucester.
This woodland is a favorite hunting place for knights and commoners both. It probably has no exotic animals or faeries.
This is a market town with a motte-and-bailey castle. It is about one to two days’ ride from Sarum.
DU PLAIN CASTLE
One day’s ride from Sarum, this fortified manor and its town marks the eastern boundary of the county.
This is an old motte-and-bailey castle made mostly of wood, but still serviceable in defense. It is the most southern settlement of the county.
A tributary of the Avon River, this river valley is not densely inhabited. Menaces often come out of the surrounding Camelot Forest.
Of late, the river has been plagued by a school of repulsive water leapers that prey upon small boats.
This is one of numerous hill forts on the Salisbury Plain. It has been abandoned since ancient times. Sometimes on Midsummer’s Eve, it is said, the sounds of groaning men and clanking chains can be heard coming from the ground beneath it.
Glastonbury is one of the most sacred places in Britain, for it was here that the first Christian church was built. Before that it was sacred to Don, the earth mother, and was a magical entrance to the Otherworld. An abbey is there now. Glastonbury is about four days’ ride from Sarum, within the County of Somerset.
Gloucester, called Glevum in Latin, is the most important seaport of the western coast, located near the mouth of the Severn River. It is ruled by the Duke of Gloucester, a rival of the Duke of Clarence. It is about five days’ uninterrupted ride from Sarum.
Not really a castle, this is an ancient hill fort of great earthworks, now mostly overgrown with thorns and wild flowers.
This is a part of the County of Hampshire, and is the nearest seaport to Sarum. It is two days’ ride from Sarum.
This city is the center of a county ruled by a militant lord who defends his ancient rights fiercely.
A large, eastward-flowing river which is a tributary which joins the Thames far to the east.
This city is part of the fief of the Duke of Silchester. Its steward and his brothers hold a fierce grudge against all men of Salisbury because Earl Roderick obtained the hand of Lady Ellen in marriage.
London is the largest and most important city in Britain. It has no lord but the king, and is ruled by a council of its most important merchants. It is about eight days’ ride from Sarum.
This is a fine castle. It is built atop a large ancient mound, believed by many to be the burial mound of an ancient wizard. It is about two days’ leisurely ride from Sarum.
This unwalled city is the local market for the farms along the Kennet River, and is held by the castellan from Marlborough.
This dense forest which lies to the west of the county is named after an ancient goddess of the Britons. It is rumored to be inhabited by many wicked faeries and beasts.
This is a heavily populated river valley. The river is a tributary of the Avon River.
This is the main river that flows through White Horse Vale. Its farmers visit Uffingham for their local market. It is a tributary of the Thames River.
The Salisbury Plain is a gently undulating plain whose rivers are populated by many villages of farmers. It also held many ancient bronze- and early iron-age settlements, mostly long abandoned but occasionally resettled, as at Sarum. Only the largest of these are shown on the map, and many are unrecognized as such by the natives.
This border forest is within either or both of the lands of the Earl of Salisbury and the Baron of Marlborough, and has been the cause of considerable dispute between those lords. No faeries have been reported here, though Countess Ellen claims privately to have once seen a unicorn there.
This is one of the Roman cities of the past, now much diminished in size and importance, but still great nonetheless. It is about two days’ ride from Sarum. It is part of the holdings of the Duke of Silchester.
Silchester is the dukedom that commands most of the lands east of Salisbury.
This marshy land is an independent kingdom and includes all the lands to the north west of Salisbury.
This monumental structure was built by giants in ancient times and dedicated to the sun, stars, and ancestors. It consists of five concentric rings and horseshoes of standing stones and a few outlying stones, all surrounded by a mounded ditch.
One generation ago, a great treachery occurred here when Vortigern the Traitor betrayed the nobles of Britain to the Saxons.
Recently it was refurbished by Merlin the Enchanter, who re-established some of the old magic by stealing some great magical stones from Ireland. Now it is also the burial site for the first Pendragon, Aurelius Ambrosius, brother of Uther.
A city to the north of Salisbury, held by the Duke of Clarence. It is important because of the quarries that lie nearby. It is about three days’ ride from Sarum.
A river that flows southward to the British Sea, the boundary between Salisbury and Hampshire.
A fortified city serving as the market for the local farmers. It is a one-day ride from Sarum.
This is a large, unwalled town that serves as the local market for farmers of the Upper Avon River. It is about one day’s ride from Sarum.
Vagon Castle sits about one day’s ride from Sarum. It is a reinforced motte-and-bailey.
An unwalled city which is held by the Duke of Clarence. It is three days’ ride from Sarum.
This is a fortified city, which serves as the local market for the farms of the upper Wylye River. It is surrounded by the Modron Forest, and defends the country from incursions from Somerset. It is two days’ ride from Sarum.
This fortified city is the local market for the many farms of the Nadde River and the lower Wylye River. More importantly, boats sail upriver this far, and unload their goods form the coast before reloading with local goods bound for the sea.
This river is a tributary of the Avon River. Its farms are divided between Warminster and Wilton.
This is one of many ancient earthworks. It encloses almost 30 acres within its bank and ditch. Every Beltaine, the local peasants bring all their cattle here and drive them between two big, smoky fires in a pagan ritual.