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Wiltshire Community History

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Question Date :

Thursday 10th June 2004 12:06

What - on the analogy of Glaswegians, Liverpudlians and Mancunians - do you call people who live in, or are natives of, Salisbury?

With some diffidence, I give you the answer "Salisburians" - pronounced, I assume, "Salisbury 'uns", or possibly with the stress on the letter u. "Salisburians" appears in the Salisbury Times and South Wilts Gazette, 14/8/1914, in the headline 'Salisburians' unpleasant holiday experiences', while "Sarumites" (derived from Salisbury's official name, 'The City of New Sarum' until local government re-organization of 1974) was used throughout the First World War. The Salisbury Times (21/8/1914 and frequently thereafter) refers to Sarumites on active service. I would estimate both terms were coined sometime in the late nineteenth century and used commonly until the Second World War, but I have yet to find either word used in a literary context. The Salisbury Times is also the source of "Downtonian" (16/10/1914).

The Oxford English Dictionary, which includes words like Aberdonian, has no Salisburian. On the Internet, there are numerous references to "Salisburian" with a geographical meaning - used to denote people of Salisbury, which is in Rowan County, North Carolina, and another, in Wicomico County, Maryland. There are also references to "Salisburian" with a political meaning - referring to the administrations of the Marquess of Salisbury in 1885, 1886 and 1895, as in "Salisburian foreign policy", "Salisburian conservatism".

Having found the English usages I refer to above, I can now advise the compilers of the OED accordingly: whether the terms will gain acceptance - given that they already have something of a period flavour - is a moot point.

Salisbury Times and South Wilts Gazette: "Salisburians' unpleasant experiences" - headline, no. 2554, 14/8/1914 p. 8 col. F; "The Franco-German War: a Sarumite's recollections" - headline, no. 2555, 21/8/1914 p. 8 col. B; under "Local War news", "Death of another Sarumite" and "Commission for a Sarumite" - headlines, no. 2559, 18/9/1914 p. 8 cols. E and F; "Downtonians' homecoming" - headline, no. 2563, 16/10/1914 p. 5 col. G.



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