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Title: Exeter
Author: Heath, Sidney, 1872-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Exeter" ***

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Described by Sidney Heath

Pictured by E. W. Haslehust



Beautiful England

_Volumes Ready_


_Uniform with this Series_

Beautiful Ireland




  Exeter from the Canal                                   _Frontispiece_

  The Quay                                                             8

  Guildhall Porch                                                     14

  Mol's Coffee House                                                  20

  Rougemont Castle                                                    26

  St. Mary Steps                                                      32

  The Cathedral from the Palace Grounds                               38

  The Sanctuary, Exeter Cathedral                                     42

  Old Courtyard in the Close                                          46

  The Abbot's Lodge                                                   50

  The Exe at Topsham                                                  54

  Countess Weir                                                       58

  Plan of Exeter Cathedral                                             4

[Illustration: Plan of Exeter Cathedral

  A. Lady Chapel.
  B. Choir.
  C. Screen.
  D. North Transept.
  E. South Transept.
  F. Chapter House.
  G. Nave.
  H. North Porch.
  I. Bishop's Throne.]

[Illustration: EXETER]


Just as the five cities of Colchester, Lincoln, York, Gloucester, and
St. Albans, stand on the sites and in some fragmentary measure bear the
names of five Roman municipalities, so Isca Dumnoniorum, now Exeter,
appears to have been a cantonal capital developed out of one of the
great market centres of the Celtic tribes, and as such it was the most
westerly of the larger Romano-British towns. The legendary history of
the place, both temporal and ecclesiastical, goes far back to the days
when, for a late posterity, it is difficult to separate fact from fable.
It is, however, quite established that here was the capital of the
Dumnonii, the British tribe whose dominions included both Devonshire and
Cornwall, and who named their capital _Caer-uisc_, the city of the

With the coming of the Saxons, the river, the Roman Isca, became the
Exa, and the city was called Exanceaster, modified in due course to

In point of position, on a mound rising from the river, it was a
splendid site for a fortress in the days of hand-to-hand warfare, and
the military value of the site lends support to the statement of some
writers that the Romans utilized the British fortifications and built a
castle. In few places of its size can one see so clearly the extent of
the old walled town, while the disposition and formation of its outer
ring of houses, on the lower slopes of the mound, show very clearly the
limits of the mural circumvallation before the city burst asunder its
tight-fitting belt of stone, within which, for the safety of its
populace, it had been imprisoned for centuries.

Climb the higher parts for a bird's-eye view of the city, and the scene
is entrancing. We look down upon the calm-flowing Exe threading its way
through the valley till it debouches at Exmouth; on the riverside
beneath us is the quay, with coasting schooners and barges moored
alongside, and sundry bales of merchandise heaped upon the wharf, as
though the people were playing at commerce to remind the world at large
that Exeter was once an important port, although some ten miles from the
river's mouth.

But the Exe, in a quiet way, has much to boast of in the nature of
beauty and romance, particularly where it flows past the wooded grounds
of Powderham Castle, the Devonshire seat of the great Courtenay family.
Truly there is much to redeem modern Exeter and make it interesting over
and above its historical atmosphere. Yet with comparatively few vestiges
of age the city has an historical past. In both a religious and a
military sense she has played a part in the annals of England, and more
than one ancient document in the Library of the Dean and Chapter bears
testimony to her honour, her valour, and her glory.

It is a city which has the impress of many ages and many minds stamped
upon it. Here each influence--military from the Roman legions,
ecclesiastical from the Saxon prelates, feudal from the Norman
lords--has sunk deeply into the land, and has affected the general plan
of the numerous buildings, as it has moulded the slowly succeeding
phases of the civic and the religious life. It is no mere dream of the
early ages, no sentimental reverie of mediævalism. It is enough to go
through the streets, noting the remnants of the ancient walls, the
brutal strength of the surviving fragment of the castle, the sheltered
position of the tidal basin, the many churches dedicated to the honour
of Saxon saints, the proud beauty and massiveness of the Cathedral, if
one would realize, not the fancies of the artist and the poet, but the
hard facts of history that made the ancient days so great, and which
have caused our own days to be so full of their memories.

As compared with the sister counties of Cornwall and Dorset, Devonshire
is not particularly well represented in memorials of the Roman
occupation, although an immense number of Roman coins have been
unearthed at various times. Coins, however, unless found with definite
structural remains, indicate presence rather than a settled occupation,
for large quantities of the Roman coinage must have continued in
circulation long after the last of the legions of imperial Rome had
departed from British shores. The few Roman antiquities of Exeter that
have been found are important in a comparative sense, although they
contrast poorly in structural character with those of our other
Romano-British towns. It has been held that not only were the
foundations of the city walls Roman, but part of the existing remains of
Rougemont Castle have also been assigned to this period.

Mr. L. Davidson was of opinion that the old church tower of St. Mary
Major (now removed) exhibited traces of Roman work, and foundations
presumed to be Roman were noted by him as having been found at the
corner of Castle Street and High Street, in St. Mary Arches Street,
Bedford Circus, Market Street, South Street, and Mint Lane.

[Illustration: THE QUAY]

In 1836 more definite structural remains were found in High Street,
consisting of a family sepulchral vault, 7 feet square, arched over, and
containing five coarse cinerary urns arranged in niches around its
interior. This was discovered behind the "Three Tuns" inn, and during
the same year at a great depth below the site of the County Bank, a
low-arched chamber was found in which were a quantity of bones of men
and animals.

No Exonian find, however, exceeds in interest the discovery, in 1833, of
a bath and tesselated pavement behind the Deanery walls in South Street.
The walls were of Heavitree stone and brick, and the original pavement
was of black-and-white tesseræ set in concrete. The associated remains
of a thirteenth-century encaustic-tile pavement indicates the use of the
old Roman bath a thousand years or so after it had been made. Several
other tesselated pavements are recorded as having been found in Pancras
Lane, on the site of Bedford Circus, and on the north side of the
Cathedral near the Speke Chapel. In 1836 a small bronze figure of Julius
Cæsar (now in the British Museum) about three inches in height, was dug
up during the removal of some walls in the Westgate quarter of the city.
The only recorded find of a military weapon is the bronze hilt of a
dagger unearthed in South Street in 1833. This is of more than passing
interest, as it bears the name of its owner--E. MEFITI. [=E]O.
FRI[=S].--which has been read thus: "Servii or Marcii Mefiti Tribuni
Equitum Frisiorum"--Servius or Mercius Mefitus, tribune of the Frisians.

The antiquary Leland mentions two Roman inscriptions as built into the
city wall near Southernhay, but they are gone, and besides the inscribed
dagger we have only a seal of Severius Pompeyus, and sundry graffiti or
funereal pottery, in the way of literary relics of Roman Exeter. The
poverty of Devonshire in memorials of the Roman period is shown by the
fact that, outside Exeter, there are not a dozen places in the county
which have yielded Roman vestigia other than coins.

In 926 the Britons were driven from Exeter by Athelstan, who banished
them into Cornwall, and fixed the River Tamar as their boundary.
Athelstan was one of the greatest benefactors the city has had; for, in
addition to increasing the fortifications by means of a massive wall
flanked by towers, he built a castle on the Red Mount, now known as
Rougemont Castle. Although very little of this now remains, a portion of
the ruins is generally known as "Athelstan's Tower", and has a window
with a triangular head, which is certainly of Saxon style and date. In
932 Athelstan rebuilt the Monastery of Our Lady and St. Peter, staffing
it with monks of the Benedictine Order, and presenting them with the
reputed relics of St. Sidwell, a saint who is still somewhat of a puzzle
to ecclesiologists. A few years later the monastery was plundered by the
Danes, when the monks beat a hasty retreat, but returned in 968 on the
entreaty of King Edgar. A mint was shortly established here, wherein the
first coins were struck naming Athelstan "King of England".

The Danes made continuous raids in the neighbourhood, but were
decisively defeated by the West Countrymen in 1001, at Pinhoe, a few
miles from Exeter. From that time until the treacherous massacre of the
Danes in Wessex upon St. Brice's Day in 1002 by Ethelred, this part of
the country was comparatively free from their inroads; but Gunhilda, the
sister of Swegen, King of Denmark, being among the slain, this king came
to avenge her death. He sailed up the Exe, burning and plundering the
villages on its banks, and for four years his army marched in every
direction across Wessex, and was at length induced to withdraw on being
paid a _wergeld_ (war tax) which was first levied on Exeter.

After the Battle of Hastings, Gytha, the mother of Harold, took refuge
in Exeter, and Leofric, the bishop, offered to render homage to William
as Royal suzerain; but the Conqueror would have no half-hearted
submission, so Exeter closed its gates to the Normans. It held out for
eighteen days, when the military science of the Normans, and
particularly the skill they showed in undermining the walls, caused it
to surrender. The resistance won the besiegers' respect and brought
unusually good terms from so ruthless a victor as William. The lives of
the garrison were spared, Gytha was allowed to seek safety by sea, and
it has been said that the victorious troops were withdrawn from the city
gates to prevent them from claiming the licentious privileges so
generally granted to their followers by the Norman kings.

As is fitting for its county town, the first entry in the Devonshire
Domesday deals with Exeter, in which city, it is recorded, the king had
285 houses rendering customary dues. The generally debased character of
the coinage of the time led to various expedients being adopted by the
Exchequer for securing approximately accurate payment of a specified sum
of money. Among other things the entries in Domesday state that in the

     "This (city of Exeter) renders 18 pounds per annum. Of these
     Baldwin the Sheriff has six pounds by weight and assay, and Colvin
     has of them 12 pounds by tale for the service of Queen Eadgyth".

This entry is significant, for one pound or twenty shillings meant one
pound or twelve ounces troy of silver; and when money was payable by
weight twenty shillings were not taken as the equivalent of one pound
unless they fully weighed one pound. In this instance it is observable
that the portion of the customary dues rendered for the 285 houses,
which went to the Exchequer, was collected by the sheriff under the
strictest rules of weight and assay, whereas the portion allotted to the
widow of Edward the Confessor was received by the tale only. The
authorities took care that the sheriff collected the full amount due to
the Crown, but did not trouble themselves about the ex-queen's share.

It has been affirmed that it was by the Normans that the fairs of
England were moulded into the shape with which we are most familiar. At
Exeter, in 1276, in reply to a writ of _quo warranto_, it was
satisfactorily shown that the rights of the city, its fee-farm rent and
its farms, dated from pre-Conquest days. The privileges and emoluments
attached to fairs in large towns were very great. During the time
allotted to them the citizens were often debarred from selling anything,
whereas strangers could vend their wares during the fair, but at no
other period of the year. In Cossin's _Reminiscences of Exeter_ (1877)
we are told how "at Exeter, on the occasion of the Lammas Fair, a
procession yet perambulates the city, one man bearing a pole with a
gigantic stuffed glove at the top of it, the latter being subsequently
hung out at the Guildhall".

Many of England's reigning sovereigns have visited the city, among them
being Edward IV and Richard III. Henry VII came thither on 7 October,
1497, on the suppression of Perkin Warbeck's rebellion, when that rebel
had attempted to capture the city. The rebels were brought before the
king, bareheaded and with halters round their necks, and after they had
pleaded for mercy Henry pardoned them. On his departure, the king
presented the civic authorities with a sword and cap of maintenance,
both of which are still carried before the Mayor and Corporation on
occasions of state.

The citizens of Exeter have always been noted for their stanch loyalty
to the reigning house, with the consequence that many rights and
privileges have been granted to it. The city motto, _Semper Fidelis_,
was conferred by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of the contributions,
both of men and money, made to the fleet that vanquished the Spanish
Armada. That the motto was merited is evident when we recall the fact
that, with the exception of Frobisher and Cavendish, practically the
whole of the leading seamen who chased the Spanish ships along the
Channel were born in the land of the Tamar, the Tavy, and the Dart.

[Illustration: GUILDHALL PORCH]

During the early part of the Civil War the citizens were divided in
their sympathies, some supporting the Parliament and others the King;
but the city soon fell into the hands of the former. In 1643, however,
Sir Ralph Hopton, the famous Royalist general, marched on Exeter with a
force made all the more formidable for siege purposes by the cannon he
had previously captured at Halton. The immediate capture of the city by
the Royalist forces was expected, the _Mercurius Aulius_ of 1 June,
1643, remarking that: "if the old observation be of any credit, that
cats and mice doe commonly forsake a ruinous and decaying house, that
Citie (Exeter) is not like to continue long in the Rebels' hands". The
proud and rebellious city was assaulted and captured by the Royalist
forces under Prince Maurice on 4 September, 1643, after a siege lasting
sixteen days, and a full account of its fall appeared in the issue of
the _Mercurius Aulius_ of 8 September.

In May, 1644, Queen Henrietta Maria took up her abode in the city, at
Bedford House, where, on 16 June of the same year, the Princess
Henrietta was born. In the following month Charles I came to see his
little daughter, and again in September, when he appointed Thomas
Fuller, Vicar of Broadwindsor, in Dorset, as chaplain to the princess.
The queen, who had retired to Exeter as a safe place for her
confinement, soon afterwards had to leave there suddenly on the approach
of a Parliamentary army in command of the Earl of Essex. Her Majesty's
easiest way to France was by sea, and to prevent this Cromwell had sent
a fleet to Torbay to intercept her, should she attempt to leave England
by that route. Finding this road closed, she made for Falmouth, from
which port she got safely away.

During the siege by Fairfax the inhabitants of the city suffered
considerably, owing to the food supplies being intercepted. One day a
flight of larks came into the town, "which were", says Fuller, "as
welcome as quails in the wilderness". The birds were so numerous that,
notwithstanding the prevailing famine, they were sold for twopence a
dozen. "Of this miraculous event", wrote Fuller, "I was not only an eye
but a mouth witness."

The city capitulated on 13 April, 1646, among the conditions of
surrender being that the Cathedral should be spared, and the garrison
accorded the honours of war.

After the landing of William of Orange at Brixham, in 1688, he marched
through the county to Exeter and entered the city by its western gate.
He proceeded direct to the Cathedral and took his seat in the bishop's
throne with his chaplain Burnet near him. A few of the prebendaries and
choristers attended the service, but when Burnet began to read the
Prince's Declaration, after the singing of the Te Deum, they hurriedly
departed. The bishop, Thomas Lamplugh, had proceeded to James on hearing
that the Dutch had landed, and was rewarded with the Archbishopric of
York. He afterwards assisted at William III's coronation. The Dean of
Exeter had also left the city, and the Deanery was prepared for the
Prince's reception. George III was the last English sovereign to stay in
Exeter, and he also resided at the Deanery.

Although the Cathedral is the main attraction modern Exeter has to offer
to the tourist, a walk through the historic old city will reveal the
fact that, in addition to some highly interesting old churches, it
possesses a not inconsiderable number of ancient buildings. At the same
time there has been an appalling amount of destruction, some of it
apparently of an unnecessary kind, as the recent dismantling of the
beautiful old courtyard in the rear of Bampfylde House, the city
residence of the Poltimore family.

The visitor who arrives at Exeter either by the Great Western or the
South-Western Railway, the station of the latter being the more central
of the two, can soon reach the busy and picturesque High Street by way
of Queen Street, one of the broadest thoroughfares in the city. The most
interesting building in High Street, and one that, in this respect,
ranks next to the Cathedral, is the Guildhall, with a portico projecting
over the pavement. It is probably one of the oldest municipal buildings
in the country, for in 1330 we find that the Guildhall was in a ruinous
condition, and it was then rebuilt. Again, in 1464, it was built up anew
in a more commodious and efficient manner, while the building as we see
it to-day, with its façade, is the result of still further alterations
in 1592. The entrance porch is separated from the inner hall by a
massive oak doorway, and the hall itself, 60 feet long and 25 feet wide,
is panelled throughout in oak, with a frieze consisting of shields
charged with the arms of former mayors, aldermen, recorders, and of the
city companies. Curious brackets, of figures bearing staves, support the
roof. The judge's chair is of carved oak, and bears the name and date of
the donor: "Christopher Ball, Esq., 1697". On the walls hang six large
portraits, among them those of George III and General Monk, the latter
by Sir Peter Lely, and over this picture hang the colours of the 4th
Devons, a regiment raised in the city by the general in 1681.

Another portrait here by Lely is of the Princess Henrietta, concerning
which the old records state that: "In 1671 the King (Charles II), in
order to keep his promise made the last year when he visited this city
in person, and as a signal testimony of his love towards the same, was
pleased to send hither the effigy or portraiture, at length and richly
framed of his dear sister, the Duchess of Orleans (lately deceased), a
princess born within this city, and for beauty was esteemed to be one of
the fairest in Christendom; which said picture being placed in a fair
case of timber, richly adorned with gold, is erected in the open
guildhall of the said city, there to remain as a perpetual monument of
his majesty's high favour towards this his truly ancient, loyal, and
honourable city of Exeter".

The upper room is known as the "Mayor's Parlour", where are many more
portraits, and the city sword and cap of maintenance. The scabbard of
the sword, which is the one presented by Edward IV, is still draped in
crape, as it used to be for the processions on "King Charles Martyr's"
Day (30 Jan.). The cap of maintenance presented to the city, together
with his sword, by Henry VII, was sent up to London to be repaired, the
cost for "sarcanet, damask, and pin lace" amounting to four guineas. The
original cap still remains within its covering, and it appears to
consist of two pieces of black felt sewn together. During the fifteenth
century the Chapel of St. George and St. John was built over the
Guildhall, with an apartment above for the priest who served it, the
chapel being probably connected with a religious guild.

The junction of North and South Streets with Fore and High Streets was
formerly known as the Carfoix, or Carfax (_quatre voyes_, i.e. four
ways), where at one time many executions took place. Here also stood the
ancient conduit which supplied the city with water, but this was removed
to South Street in 1779. At the corner, looking down Fore Street, was a
fine fourteenth-century life-size figure of St. Peter, holding a model
of a church in his right hand and a book in his left, his feet trampling
on a demon. This has been removed from its original position and placed
high up in a niche over a shop close by. On the opposite side of High
Street is St. Petrock's Church, at one time almost hidden from sight by
the adjacent buildings. It is a curious little church, of which portions
have been assigned to the Saxon period. The parish of St. Petrock is in
the centre of the city, and was one of the oldest and most important,
being one of the nineteen churches to which William I ordered the
provost to pay a silver penny yearly. The church was enlarged on the
south side during the fifteenth century, and in the following century
the Jesus aisle was added, when Thomas Chard, acting as Bishop Oldham's
suffragan, reconsecrated the church. The chancel is now towards the east
in what was once an aisle, the original chancel being where the north
aisle is now, with the consequence that the interior of the church has a
very curious appearance.

[Illustration: MOL'S COFFEE HOUSE]

Farther up High Street, on the same side, are some picturesque houses
with Elizabethan gables, the interiors of many of them adorned with fine
specimens of oak carving in situ. The building now occupied by Messrs.
Green as a drapery establishment was at one time the "New Inn", and it
is mentioned in this capacity so early as 1456 in a lease relating to
the building, in which it is referred to as "le Newe Inne". In 1554 the
cloth mart was established here, and early in the seventeenth century
the New Inn Hall was used as the exchange where the cloth merchants met
to transact their business. The house was rebuilt towards the close of
the century, and the Apollo Room was added as a banqueting hall for the
judges on circuit. This is now used as a showroom, but it still retains
its elaborate plaster ceiling bearing the date 1695, and the original
oak panelling. The frieze consists of a series of wreaths upholding
shields charged with the armorial bearings of many county families,
together with the royal arms and those of the city.

Farther up the street is the church of St. Stephen, mentioned in
Domesday. The original church was destroyed by the Commonwealth in 1658,
and rebuilt in 1664. Stephen's Bow, the adjacent archway, was always a
part of the church, and above it rises the tower; beneath the church is
an ancient crypt. A turning to the right close by leads to Bedford
Circus, with a statue of the Earl of Devon at the entrance. In the
thirteenth century a Dominican Convent was founded in this part of the
city, and occupied the southern portion of the circus, together with
Chapel Street and the adjoining mews. In 1558 the convent was dissolved,
and Bedford House, the West-Country residence of the Dukes of Bedford,
was erected. Here Henrietta Maria held her Court, and here the little
princess was born. The Dukes of Bedford ceased to use this residence in
the eighteenth century, and in 1773 it fell into the builders' hands,
when the eastern side of the circus was built, the western side not
being begun until 1826. The place to-day possesses no attractive
features, and only the memories of its past history remain. The earlier
excavations brought to light a great number of skulls, bones, and
fragments of sculpture; while during the later building operations,
especially those conducted on the site of the conventual church, a large
number of carved stones were unearthed which had evidently formed part
of the Dominican house. Some of these fragments were richly ornamented
with painting and gilding. Another discovery was the life-size stone
head of an effigy with a hood of closely set ring mail. This is now
preserved in the Cathedral cloisters.

Returning to High Street, Bampfylde Street lies a little higher up. A
great portion of this street is occupied by the front of Bampfylde
House, built by Sir Amyas Bampfylde at the end of the sixteenth century.
In later years this became the town house of the Poltimore family.
Although shamefully modernized the house has retained a few interesting
features. In the hall is seen a narrow window filled with old glass on
which armorial bearings are displayed, while the broad staircase leads
to a fine apartment panelled in oak, and having an elaborate plaster
ceiling. The mantelpiece is a good piece of work and bears the arms of
the Poltimores in its centre. There are one or two other good rooms and
some deep cupboards, and one very small apartment is said to be a
genuine eighteenth-century powdering closet. The beautiful old courtyard
at the back will no longer be recognized by those who knew it a few
years ago. It has been "restored".

The Church of St. Lawrence is situated on the north side of High Street,
and dates from 1202. It was sold during the Commonwealth, and bought by
the parishioners for £100. On the south side, and slightly farther up,
is St. John's Hospital, situated near to where the old East Gate
formerly stood. The hospital was founded circa 1225 by Gilbert and John
Long. Bishop Grandisson was a great benefactor to it, as, in addition to
increasing the number of inmates and clergy, he added "a master of
grammar and twelve scholars". The foundation was suppressed in 1540, but
in 1620 its restoration was planned by Hugh Crossing and carried out
after his death by his widow. The institution was refounded in
1629--when only the school was revived--and is now known as the "Blue
Boys' School". The playground is partly bounded by a piece of the old
city wall, whence one can look down on the Southernhay Gardens and
obtain a good impression of the strength of the ancient fortifications.

The seal of St. John's Hospital is an interesting one of
thirteenth-century date on which is depicted the exterior of St. John's
Chapel, which is shown as having a shingled roof and gable crosses; also
an external arcade of three semicircular arches. Another interesting
seal of the same century is that of the Hospital of St. Alexius, founded
in 1170. This foundation, and the hospital of the bishops, formerly on
the site of the present Vicars' College, were afterwards united with the
Hospital of St. John at the East Gate. The seal shows the hospital with
gable crosses, an arcaded clerestory, and three quatrefoil openings in
its wall; beneath is an arcade of six arches.

High Street merges into Sidwell Street. St. Sidwell's was one of the
nineteen old city parishes although without the walls. The site of St.
Sidwell's Church is said to be on the spot where a saint of this name
suffered martyrdom. She is one of those half-mythical British saints,
said by tradition to have been beheaded by a scythe whilst praying
beside a well. A church is said to have been built in her honour so
early as 749. The present building has undergone repeated restorations,
but some ancient pillars still remain with sculptured capitals, and
there is also a representation of St. Sidwell, or Sidwella, whose
attributes are a well and a scythe. To the monastery he had founded
Athelstan presented some reputed relics of the saint.

At the top of Sidwell Street is St. Anne's Almshouse, one of the most
interesting foundations in the city. It was originally a hermitage, but
little is known about it until 1418, when it was "newly constructed",
and in 1561 Oliver and George Mainwaring founded a hospital for eight
poor people. The chapel is a small building that has retained its
piscina and two niches for holding figures. The almshouse was fortified
by Fairfax during the Civil War, and for many years the chapel was in a
ruinous condition, but it was restored early in the nineteenth century.
St. Anne's Day, 26 July, has been observed regularly by the inmates of
the charity since its foundation.

Retracing our steps to the beginning of High Street, and proceeding up
Castle Street, we reach the highest point of the city, the Red Mount,
crowned by the gateway and ruined towers of an ancient castle. The
fortress formed a part of the fortifications erected by Athelstan, and
the Red Tower, with its triangular-headed window, may be confidently
assigned to the Saxon era. During the Norman period the castle was
rebuilt by Brian de Molis. In Stephen's reign it was besieged and taken
from Earl Baldwin de Redvers, who was banished until the following
reign, when his possessions were restored. The castle belonged to the de
Redvers and Courtenay families until 1231, when Henry III presented it
to his brother Richard as part of the earldom of Cornwall. In 1537 Henry
VIII granted Exeter a charter giving the city the privilege of being a
county with its own sheriffs, excepting Rougemont Castle, which still
belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall.

[Illustration: ROUGEMONT CASTLE]

In 1774 a large portion of the castle ruins were cleared away, when
several interesting buildings were destroyed, among them the Chapel of
the Blessed Virgin, to make room for the present Assize Court, a plain
building with no pretensions to architectural beauty. On the right of
the castle yard is a little path leading to the top of the walls, whence
a comprehensive view of the city and the neighbourhood can be obtained.
Looking straight across the valley, beyond the county jail, one can see
the site of the ancient camp of the Danes, against whom Athelstan
built his fortifications, now occupied by the reservoir. At the foot of
the wall are the Northernhay Gardens, a favourite resort with youthful
Exonians. From Northernhay the old walls can easily be traced westwards,
and crossing Queen Street we may proceed down the narrow Maddocks Row to
find the wall pierced by the only archway now remaining. Continuing
westwards we cross North Street, where the old North Gate stood until it
was demolished in 1769. Entering Bartholomew Street East we are on the
ramparts again, and from the bastion near All-Hallows-on-the-Walls
Church we may look down upon the old Bartholomew burying-ground,
consecrated in 1639, and used as the principal city cemetery for nearly
two hundred years. The Church of All-Hallows-on-the-Walls is a modern
one that stands on the site of a more ancient edifice. From this point
one can see the tapering spire of St. Michael's Church, in the grounds
of Mount Dinham, where are the almshouses erected and endowed in 1860 by
John Dinham. Here are forty free cottages and episcopal charity schools,
the latter founded originally in 1709 by Bishop Offspring Blackall.

Continuing along the bastion the limit of the northern wall is soon
reached. Many of the old streets in this quarter of the city are worth
visiting, for in the narrow thoroughfares are some interesting old
houses. In St. Mary Arches Street is the church of the same name, shut
in by houses. It is one of the old parish churches of Exeter, and one
that takes part of its name from the fine Norman pillars and arcade of
the nave, which is the oldest in the city. In the south aisle is a
chantry containing the altar tomb of Thomas Andrews, mayor in 1505 and
1510; and who died in 1518. Mint Street, as its name implies, was
associated with the mint established there by permission of William III.
The coinage minted there may be recognized by the letter E placed
beneath the king's head. Bartholomew Street brings us to Fore Street, a
narrow and very steep thoroughfare, within which is the fine front of
the Tuckers' Hall, belonging to the Incorporated Guilds of Weavers,
Fullers, and Shearmen, chartered in 1490. Close at hand are steps
leading down to Exe Island, which was for many years a subject of
dispute between the Earls of Devon and the citizens; but on the
attainder of Henry, Marquis of Exeter, in 1558, the property reverted to
the Crown. On the conclusion of the Prayer-Book Riots the island was
granted to the city by Edward VI, as a reward for the services it had
rendered the authorities. Most of the old portions of the island have
been destroyed, many of them in recent years, but an interesting
specimen of a Tudor house remains with a covering of slates somewhat
resembling scale armour. Shields appear in the ornamentation, one of
them bearing the Tudor rose. At one time this style of wall covering was
very common in Exeter, but the example in Exe Island is the only one now

On the south side of Fore Street stands St Olave's Church, where,
according to Domesday, a church with the same dedication existed before
the Conquest. It is said traditionally to have been built by Gytha,
Harold's mother, in order that masses might be said for the souls of her
son and Earl Godwin. William I gave the church to the monks of Battle
Abbey, in whose possession it remained until the Reformation. More than
a century later St. Olave's was lent to the French Huguenot refugees,
many of whom settled in Exeter where they established an important
woollen industry. The present church bears few indications of antiquity,
beyond some Norman arches and a little early carving in the tower.

At the lower end of Fore Street is West Street, marking the western
limit of the old walls. A right-hand turn leads to St. Edmund's Church,
built in the thirteenth century at one end of the old bridge, when it
was known as _St. Edmund Super pontem_. In 1831 the original structure
was pulled down and the present building begun. It is said to stand
upon some of the arches of the ancient bridge. Turning eastwards we
reach the foot of Stepcote Hill, and the church of St. Mary Steps. A
remarkable exterior feature is the old clock and figures, known locally
as "Matthew the Miller". The dial is enriched with basso-rilievos
representing the four seasons, and in a niche just above is a small
effigy of Henry VIII in a sitting posture, who nods his head as each
hour is struck. On each side is a military figure, their morions crowned
with feathers, javelins held in their right hands, and small hammers in
their left hands, with which they alternately strike the quarter hours
on two small bells at their feet. The name of "Matthew the Miller" is
said to have originated from the punctuality of a miller of that name
who was so regular in going to and from his mill that people set their
clocks by him. The church contains a fine chancel screen, with
twenty-eight panels of painted saints, which was removed from the church
of St. Mary Major. The font is a good one, of Norman date. Just opposite
St. Mary Steps stood the West Gate of the city, which was taken down in

The Westgate quarter formed part of the manor of Exe Island, and was
inhabited chiefly by weavers, fullers, dyers, and those whose
occupations required a copious supply of water. The whole of this
district is intersected with narrow lanes and passages, beneath and
around which are many streams diverted from the river to work the mills.

A few old gabled houses with overhanging upper stories still remain in
this district, but they are in a very dilapidated condition, as will be
noticed by anyone who traverses one of the numerous byways that lead to
South Street, at the lower end of which is Magdalen Street, where are
two very interesting hospitals--"Wynard's" and the "Magdalen". The
former was founded in 1430 by William Wynard, sometime Recorder of the
city, for the habitation of a priest and twelve poor men. The attached
chapel was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and the hospital was called
"God's House". The founder left many lands and tenements to provide
funds for the establishment. The master might not be absent more than
once or twice in the year, and his total holidays in the twelve months
were never to exceed three weeks and three days. He was also required to
teach from three to nine boys, starting them with the alphabet, and
going on to the "great psalter of the holy David". The foundation passed
eventually into the possession of William Kennaway, who built a vault
within which he was buried.

The hospital to-day is one of the secular buildings of Exeter most worth
visiting, with its gabled houses, dormer windows, and garden plots. An
archway leads into the courtyard, around which on three sides are
grouped the houses of the twelve pensioners; the chapel occupies the
fourth side of the quadrangle.

The Magdalen, or Leper, Hospital, just without the South Gate, was
founded sometime before 1135, for in 1136 we find that Bishop
Bartholomew permitted a continuance of the ancient right by which the
lepers were allowed to collect food twice a week in the market, and alms
on two other days, to all of which the healthy members of the community
naturally objected. In 1244 Bishop Bruere resigned the guardianship of
the leper hospital to the corporation, and was given in its stead the
mastership of the hospital of St. John. One of the mayors of Exeter,
Richard Orange, was a great patron of the lazar house, and when he
himself contracted leprosy he took up his abode in the hospital, where
he died and was buried in the chapel. Even so late as the sixteenth
century there would appear to have been lepers in Exeter, for we find
that in 1580 no one was to be admitted to the Magdalen Hospital except
"sick persons in the disease of the leprosy".

[Illustration: ST. MARY STEPS]

In South Street is College Hall, or the Hall of the College of
Priest-Vicars or Vicars Choral, a fine oak-panelled apartment. The
original hall was built by Bishop Brantyngham about 1388, and access was
then gained to it from the Close; the houses of the priest-vicars
being arranged on each side of a green. All this has now disappeared
with the exception of the hall, which was rebuilt in the fifteenth
century. At one end is a gallery upon the upper panels of which are
paintings representing former bishops of the diocese, beginning with
Leofric. On the carved mantelpiece is the date, 1629, and the owls which
constitute the punning, or allusive, arms of Bishop Oldham. Near the
hall a road leads into the Close, passing the church of St. Mary Major,
a modern building replacing a beautiful old one which appears to have
been needlessly destroyed. On the eastern side of the Close is a
picturesque Elizabethan building known as Mol's Coffee House. At the
time of the Armada it was a private residence. In 1596 the original
house was pulled down and the present building erected. On the
introduction of coffee into England it was opened as a Club and Coffee
House by an Italian named Mol. As such it was a well-known and popular
resort with the citizens of Exeter and the squires of the neighbourhood
until 1829. It is now used as a shop by a firm of fine-art dealers, but
the fine "Armada" room upstairs is willingly shown to all visitors who
express a wish to see it. It is a good panelled room with low windows,
and an elaborate frieze of shields bearing the arms of many ancient
Devonshire families, among them being those of Sir Francis Drake, Sir
Walter Raleigh, and General Monk. Adjoining Mol's Coffee House is the
very small Church of St. Martin, now but rarely used for divine service.
On the Catherine Street side of the church is a building, formerly an
almshouse, which has an attached chapel of much interest dedicated to
St. Catherine. The chapel is conjectured to have been built by the
Annuellor monks, whose college originally stood on the site of Mol's
Coffee House, where traces of it may still be seen in the cellars. The
narrow passage of St. Martin's Lane, known to the present-day citizens
as "Luxury Lane", on account of its shops, leads direct from the busy
High Street to the Cathedral Close.


The present cathedral church of the diocese of Exeter may be said to be
the third building that has stood on the site. Nothing remains of the
Saxon church elevated to the dignity of a cathedral when the bishopric
was removed from Crediton, and of the Norman church erected by
Warelwast, a nephew of the Conqueror, only the two massive towers are
standing, the remainder of the building belonging almost entirely to
the late Decorated style, of which it is one of the most beautiful
examples we possess.

The city of Exeter does not appear to have been divided into parishes
until the year 1222, in pursuance then no doubt of Archbishop Langton's
Constitution of the same year. The Cathedral itself was first
constituted a parish by being placed under the charge of a single
dignitary, the dean, by Bishop Briwere, in 1225.

Four years after he ascended the throne in 1042, Edward the Confessor
gave the united bishopric of Crediton and Cornwall to his chaplain,
Leofric, who, observing that Crediton was an open town, difficult to
fortify against the Danish raiders, obtained from Pope Leo IX permission
to remove the episcopal see to Exeter, when the Benedictine minster of
St. Mary and St. Peter became the cathedral church of the diocese.

Although no part of this church remains, an ancient seal of the
Cathedral is of special interest as showing some of the architectural
features of the Saxon church. It depicts the west front with two towers,
the northern square and the southern circular, the latter surmounted by
a cross, and pierced by three round openings in the walls. There are two
porches, one in the centre the other in the north tower, and the walls
show indications of characteristic Saxon masonry. On the central roof
is a large flêche or turret of two stages carrying a weathercock on a
very tall shaft.

Of the succeeding church the only contemporary pictorial representations
we have are those on early, and somewhat imperfect, seals dating from
the end of the eleventh century. The first has a church with cresting of
fleurs-de-lis on a hipped and tiled roof, two gable crosses, flanking
pinnacles, an arcaded clerestory, and a double door with ornamental
hinges, on each side of which is a quatrefoil opening. The second seal
shows an arcaded building standing on a stone plinth of four courses,
and flanked by towers with conical roofs and ball finials. The roof is
surmounted by a large fleur-de-lis, and exhibits an unusual form of
tiling. A third seal (1194-1206) shows the west front of the Cathedral
with two western towers and a central porch, and a large roof turret.
Another view of the west front occurs on the seal of the Archdeacon's
official, 1267, and in this example there are three pointed towers, the
central one carrying a cross, the others being capped with flag vanes.
In the doorway stands a figure of the official. The two Norman
transeptal towers still standing give the Cathedral a unique appearance,
this arrangement being found nowhere else in England, save at the highly
interesting and not far distant Collegiate Church of Ottery St. Mary.

Having thus briefly sketched from pictorial evidence the architectural
characteristics of the predecessors of the present Cathedral, we may
begin our tour of the building. Exeter is known as a Cathedral of the
Old Foundation, as in pre-Reformation days it was served by secular
canons, and as such it was not refounded by Henry VIII; so that there
has been no break in the continuity of its ecclesiastical history since
its original institution in the days of Leofric. With the exception of
Carlisle, which was served before the Reformation by Augustinian or
Austin canons, all the cathedrals of the Old Foundation were served by
secular canons. It must be remembered that although nearly the whole of
the architectural merit of the Cathedral lies in the interior, and
particularly in the magnificent stone vaulting of the roof, which is the
high-water mark of vaulting on a large scale in England, there are
several portions of the exterior that are worth noting. Externally the
great defect of the building is the low elevation of the body, and the
want of a central tower to counteract the heavy effect produced by solid
square towers at each transept.

The west front, with its low, embattled screen of figures, is not a very
happy architectural composition, and is not to be compared to the west
fronts of Lincoln and Peterborough, where the figure sculpture is
earlier and better executed than at Exeter. The one redeeming feature
of an otherwise unimposing west front, is the Decorated tracery of the
great window, now filled with modern, and not very satisfactory, glass
in memory of Archbishop Temple, who was Bishop of Exeter from 1869 to

The elevation of this front consists of three stories: the basement
screen, containing three portals; above this is the west wall of the
nave; and above this again is the nave gable, in which is inserted a
smaller window of the same character as the larger one. The apex of the
gable has a canopied niche, within which is a much-restored effigy of
St. Peter. The sloping walls built on each side, as if purposely to
conceal the buttresses of the nave and its aisles, give this portion of
the church an awkward perspective, and tend to diminish the apparent
height of the whole façade. The screen itself was the last important
addition to be made to the fabric by Bishop Brantyngham (1370-94), and
it is little more than a low stone scaffolding for holding the rows of
figures of saints, kings, and other distinguished persons which fill the
niches. An attempt to identify these sixty-five individuals, with the
aid of early drawings and still earlier documents, may be said to have
established the identities of the majority of the effigies, although
they have suffered so much from rough treatment, restoration, and
weathering that many of the saintly emblems and regal attributes are
difficult to decipher at the present time. Two of the figures, which
were broken with falling, were replaced by new and very indifferent
figures by Mr. E. B. Stevens.


Some years ago it was found that the whole of this embattled screen was
merely a stone veil erected for the purpose of protecting the original
west front. One or two stones were removed, a little to the right of the
north door of the west entrance, and the inner mouldings exposed. Within
the thickness of the wall is a little chapel dedicated to St. Radegund,
in which Bishop Grandisson prepared his tomb.

The north side of the Cathedral can be viewed in its entirety from any
part of the well-kept lawns, beneath which lie the bones of the citizens
of seven centuries, but no stones mark their resting places. The most
noticeable feature on this north side is the sturdy Norman tower,
corresponding to its fellow on the south side, the original purposes of
which are still a matter of much discussion among antiquaries. Built by
Bishop Warelwast in the twelfth century, they stood as two distinct and
independent towers, until Bishop Quivil, during the rebuilding of the
Cathedral in 1280-91, ingeniously opened up the inside walls, supporting
the remaining portions of the walls upon arches, thus forming the
interiors of the towers into transepts. The exterior of the northern
tower is plain walling for part of its height, when it is divided into
four stages by horizontal bands, each stage containing elaborate Norman
arcading, ornamented with zigzag moulding. It is surmounted with an
embattled parapet with a turret at each angle. In the north wall a fine
Decorated window was inserted by Quivil for the purpose of lighting his
newly made transepts. To make way for this window a portion of the
arcading of the first stage was cut away. The towers are similar to each
other, and they were formerly capped with spires. In 1752 the spire on
the north tower was taken down, that on the south tower having been
removed at a much earlier date. Just below the window, on the face of
the north tower, are the masonry marks of the gable of a house. This was
the old Treasurer's House, wherein Henry VII was lodged when he came to
Exeter to put down Perkin Warbeck's rebellion.

Near the north tower is the projecting north porch with its embattled
parapet. On the eastern side of the interior are the fragments of what
was once a Calvary, and on the central boss of the roof is a
representation of the Agnus Dei.

An apartment above is known as the "Dog Whipper's" room, a relic of
those days when an official was appointed whose duty it was to keep
stray dogs out of the sacred building.

On the exterior of the clerestory wall immediately above the porch is a
projection which marks the Minstrels' Gallery, and is lighted by a
window. Along the whole length of the Cathedral, from the west end of
the nave to the east end of the choir, are the flying buttresses that
counteract the thrust of the heavy roof vaulting of the interior.

At the extreme eastern end of the Cathedral the Lady Chapel and its
sister chantries can be seen to great advantage with their windows
filled with tracery. The great Perpendicular east window is partially
hidden by the more easterly portions of the fabric, but it contains some
fine old glass, on which are full-length representations of nineteen
saints and patriarchs, and many armorial bearings. The full beauty of
the glass can only be seen from the interior. The south side of the
Cathedral is very similar to the northern one, except that the portion
east of the tower is hidden from view by the episcopal palace.

Once inside the nave, which should be entered by the western portal, the
dullest eye cannot fail to perceive the uniform character of the work, a
quality which gives to this Cathedral a congruity of structural forms
and an architectonic value that is lacking in buildings which exhibit
the styles of various periods. Here we see the complete architectural
expression of one master mind, although the edifice was erected under
the supervision of successive bishops. The present Cathedral was begun
by Bishop Bronescombe (1258-80), to whom is due a portion of the Lady
Chapel. His successor, Quivil (1280-91), furnished designs for the
entire rebuilding of the church, and how faithfully his successors
adhered to these plans is proved by the fact that a great deal of this
Decorated building was erected at a time when the Perpendicular style
was in full swing all over the country. With the exception of the great
east window, which is of the Perpendicular period, the whole of the
interior is of the purest Decorated work, and is the finest, as it is
the most complete, example of this style on a large scale in the
country. Exception has been taken to the lack of height in the nave, due
to the low spring of the vaulting, and there is some justification for
the criticism. The vaulting, however, is exceedingly beautiful, and the
long line of unbroken roof stretching from the west end of the nave to
the east end of the choir is so charming a feature that when inside the
building we no longer regret the absence of a central tower.


The bosses that unite the vaulting ribs represent a variety of subjects,
the last but one, near the west window, depicting the martyrdom of
Becket. The corbels from which the vaulting shafts spring are mostly
sculptured heads of the Plantagenets; those on each side of the
Minstrels' Gallery depict Edward III and Queen Philippa. This gallery
cuts into the triforium on its north side, and contains niches in which
are sculptured angels with musical instruments. Until the middle of the
last century it was customary for the surpliced choir to sing the Gloria
in Excelsis from the gallery on Christmas Eve.

The Gothic arches of the nave, large and beautiful, rest upon massive
clustered piers of Purbeck marble. The development of these piers as the
building progressed westwards is clearly seen. Between the Lady Chapel
and the choir is a pier of four shafts, then one of eight, which
eventually develops into one of sixteen shafts, repeated throughout the
length of the nave. Although the tracery of the aisle windows is very
varied in design, each window on the north side has its counterpart on
the south side, and some of the tracery of these windows has a marked
tendency to the flamboyant, thus showing the lateness of much of the
work at Exeter, for what is called the flamboyant style is contemporary
in France with our Perpendicular work, which is a purely English style
unknown on the Continent.

The choir screen was put up by Bishop Stapledon (1465), but its height
and effectiveness are sadly marred by the great organ placed upon it.
Until comparatively recent years an altar stood on each side of this
screen. The great west window of the nave, the beautiful tracery of
which has already been alluded to, was due to Bishop Grandisson
(1327-69). The font at the western end of the south nave aisle was made
specially for the baptism of Princess Henrietta, while the nave pulpit,
erected in 1877, to the memory of Bishop Patteson of Melanesia, "is",
says the Rev. Baring-Gould, "much of a piece with the stuff turned out
by clerical tailors and church decorators who furnish us with vulgar
designs in illustrated catalogues".

The transepts, as we have seen, were bored by Quivil through the two
Norman towers built by Warelwast, and in consequence are of small
dimensions. In the north tower is the great bell called "Peter", which
was brought from Llandaff by Bishop Courtenay towards the end of the
fifteenth century, and which weighs 12,500 lb., the only heavier bell in
this country being great "Tom of Oxford", the weight of which is 17,000
lb. "Peter" was rung formerly by the united exertions of twenty-four men
using two ropes and double wheels, but it was cracked on 5 November,
1611, from a "too violent ringing in commemoration of the Gunpowder

In 1752 the bell was placed in the lower part of the tower, and so fixed
in a massive framework of timber that it cannot now be rung; it is,
however, used as a clock bell, and the sound of its deep notes can be
heard at a great distance. The old clock in the same transept has been
regarded as the gift of Bishop Courtenay, but this is doubtful, as from
entries in the fabric rolls it seems that the clock was constructed more
than a century before that prelate presided over the see. If so, the
clock would date from about 1317. This ancient clock is very remarkable,
being constructed upon the idea that the earth and not the sun was the
centre of the solar system. It shows the hour of the day and the age of
the moon. The dial is about seven feet in diameter, and on it are two
circles, one numbered from 1 to 30 for the age of the moon, the other
numbered from 1 to 12 twice over, for the hours. In the centre of the
dial a semi-globe is fixed representing the earth, around which a
smaller globe indicating the moon revolves monthly, and by turning on
its axis as it revolves, shows the various lunar phases. Between the two
circles is a third globe representing the sun, with an attached
fleur-de-lis which points to the hours as the ball revolves around the
earth. In 1760, more works were added--to show the minutes, which are
painted in a circle. The works of the clocks have been renewed many
times, and are now placed in the disused chantry of Sub-Chanter Sylke,
situated in the northeast corner of the transept, just below the ancient

On the eastern side of this transept is St. Paul's Chapel, now used as a

The south transept, that corresponds with the northern one, is formed
from the lower part of the south tower, which contains a fine set of
bells, although only ten of them are now rung. There are some
interesting monuments in this transept. Here are the great Courtenay
tomb, originally occupying a place in the nave; the Elizabethan tomb of
Sir John Gilbert, brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and half-brother to
Sir Walter Ralegh; and the monument to Sir Peter Carew. A niche in the
wall holds a few fragments of sculptured stone saved from the tomb of
Leofric, first Bishop of Exeter, who was buried in "the crypt of his own
church". A marble slab against the south wall is believed to be the
resting place of "Bishop John the Chanter" (1186-91). A small door in
this transept leads to the Chapel of the Holy Ghost and to the Chapter


On the roof of the south choir aisle are bosses carved with
representations of the heads of Edward I and Queen Eleanor. This aisle
contains many interesting effigies, among them two of those of unknown
knights, considered to commemorate Sir Humphrey de Bohun and Sir Henry
de Ralegh. The body of the latter knight was the cause of a contention,
between the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral and the Dominican
Friars, in the year 1301. The quarrel was a bitter one, and lasted for
five years. The Dean and the Chapter affirmed that from time immemorial,
and by special arrangement with the friars, they had the right to have
all bodies which were intended to be buried in the Dominican church,
with the exception of those which belonged to the convent, brought to
the Cathedral with the usual wax and offerings for the first mass. The
friars refused to allow Sir Henry Ralegh's body to be taken to the
Cathedral, and they claimed the wax and offerings. After a lengthy
dispute the executors and friends of the knight took his body to the
Cathedral, where the usual mass was celebrated, after which the body,
with the bier and pall belonging to the friars, was carried back to the
convent doors. The friars now refused to readmit the body, upon which
the executors took it again to the Cathedral, "and after keeping it for
a day and a night, and the friars still refusing to receive it, they
carried it to be buried in the Cathedral, as it could not be left longer
unburied owing to the stench (_fetare_)".

On the south side of the aisle is the Chapel of St. James, which was
built by Bishop Marshall and restored by Quivil in the early Decorated
style. The vaulting and the windows are similar to those of the choir
aisles. Over it was formerly the muniment room, but in 1870 the
archives were removed to the Chapter House for greater safety. During
some excavations a crypt was found beneath the chapel with a finely
groined roof. The crypt now contains the machinery used for blowing the
organ. The next chapel on the south side is the chantry of Bishop
Oldham, or St. Saviour's Chapel, richly decorated with carvings, among
which the "owl" of the bishop, forming part of the rebus of his name, is
prominent. His armorial bearings are also charged with the three owls.
The effigy of the prelate rests beneath an ogee arch, and is lavishly
coloured, although the original work has been restored by Corpus Christi
College, Oxford, in memory of Bishop Oldham, who contributed 6000 marks
to the collegiate foundation. On the south side of the Lady Chapel is
St. Gabriel's Chapel, built by Bishop Bronescombe in honour of his
patron saint. Here lies the effigy of the bishop in a carved and richly
gilded tomb.

The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, originally built by Bronescombe, was
altered by Quivil. It has a Perpendicular screen and some
fifteenth-century glass in the east window. Close by, on the north side
of the north choir aisle, is Sir John Speke's Chantry, or St. George's
Chapel, of Perpendicular work and containing the effigy of the knight.
When the Cathedral was divided into two parts, in Puritan days, a
doorway was made where the altar now stands, leading into "East
Peter's". On the north side of the choir aisle is St. Andrew's Chapel,
corresponding with that of St. James on the south. By the north wall is
the large sixteenth-century monument of Sir Gawain Carew, his wife, and
his nephew, Sir Peter Carew (1571). The effigy of the last-named is
cross-legged, and so late an example of this disposition of the lower
limbs supports the now generally accepted archæological fact that the
cross-legged attitude had no particular reference to the romantic wars
of the Crusades.

Other interesting monuments in this aisle are the cross-legged effigy of
Sir Richard de Stapledon, half-brother to the bishop, and that of Bishop
Stapledon. The latter, although in the choir, is seen to better
advantage from below. A story runs to the effect that while Sir Richard
was riding one day in London with his brother, a cripple laid hold of
his horse by one of the fore legs, throwing both horse and rider to the
ground, and causing the knight's death, hence the name "Cripplegate".
Bishop Stapledon was Treasurer to Edward II, and held London against
Queen Isabella. The bishop was taken prisoner, and condemned to death at
a mock trial. He was beheaded at Cheapside, and his body cast on a
rubbish heap, whence it was eventually taken to Exeter and accorded an
honourable burial.

No examples of miserere carvings are known in English churches before
the thirteenth century, and the set at Exeter are probably the earliest
we have, the character of their foliage denoting the Early English
period. They are thought to have been the gift of Bishop Bruere
(1224-44). The complete set numbers forty-nine, and among the subjects
represented are a merman and a mermaid, an elephant, and a knight
slaying a leopard.

The choir stalls, carved to illustrate the _Benedicite_, the pulpit, and
the reredos are all modern, having been erected from designs by Sir
Gilbert Scott. The lofty tapering bishop's throne, an essential feature
of every cathedral church, is the most remarkable of the choir fittings.
It has been ascertained from the fabric rolls that it was the gift of
Bishop Stapledon (1465), and the exact sum paid for the work and timber
was just under thirteen pounds, a considerable sum of money when its
modern equivalent is calculated. The throne consists of a series of
pinnacles and niches, rising in diminishing tiers until the crowning
pinnacle almost reaches to the clerestory window. There is not a single
nail in the whole of this canopied seat, although it rises to a height
of more than sixty feet from the choir floor. It has been taken to
pieces on at least two occasions; once by the son of Bishop Hall, when
it was hidden away during the Civil Wars to save it from Cromwell's
troopers, and a second time by Sir Gilbert Scott, for the purposes of
cleaning. It is highly probable that the oak of which it is made came
from Chudleigh, some ten miles away, where the bishops of Exeter had a
palace, of which fragments remain in Palace Farm.

[Illustration: THE ABBOT'S LODGE]

The beautiful stone sedilia was due to Stapledon. Above the seat are
three arches 10 feet in height, surmounted by elaborately designed
tabernacle work. The arches spring from three carved heads reputed to be
those of St. Edward the Confessor, Leofric, and Edith.

The Lady Chapel is at the eastern end of the choir, from which it is
separated by a broad ambulatory, and within it are the tombs of Bishops
Stafford, Bronescombe, Simon of Apulia, and Bartholomew, as well as the
tomb of Sir John Doddridge. A plain slab marks the resting place of
Bishop Quivil, the stone bearing an incised cross and around it the


The large number of interments in Lady Chapels was due to the perfectly
natural desire of our forefathers to be laid to rest in the chapel
dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

The cloisters stood formerly on the south side, in front of the Chapter
House. They were so sadly mutilated by the Cromwellian troopers that
houses were erected and a weekly market held on the site. In 1887 a
portion of the ruinous cloister was restored, so that a new cathedral
library could be placed above it for the purpose of housing the valuable
libraries bequeathed to the Cathedral, no more space being available in
the Chapter House. An interesting manuscript, preserved in the library
of the Devon and Exeter Institution, contains many references to the
city which have not been recorded by other historians. With reference to
the cloisters the unknown author of this manuscript says:

     "1657. The Cloysters neer to Peters churche was converted into the
     serdge markett, which was before in Southgate street.

     "1660. The wall which divided East & West Peters was taken downe in
     December and in the month following the serdg markett was removed
     out of the Cloystures, and carried againe into Southgate street
     whear it was before. Also the uniting of severall parishes into one
     was againe made void & each parrish to enjoy her owne priviledges
     and lyberties as before."

When Daniel Defoe visited Exeter, in 1723, it had the largest serge
market in England, next to Leeds.

Although the Close has not succeeded in retaining any of its gates it is
interesting by reason of the few old houses that still surround it,
whilst behind their gabled roofs rises the double-towered Cathedral,
completing the picturesqueness of a really charming scene, of which the
prevailing tone is a dark grey, stained and almost blackened by
weathering and by age. In the fourteenth century the Close at Exeter was
enclosed with walls, and until comparatively recent times it was built
over. The well-kept Close is peculiar to England.

The Bishop's Palace dates from about 1381, and is supposed to have been
either built or enlarged by Bishop Courtenay. It was in a very ruinous
condition when Bishop Philpotts set to work to restore it, when many old
fragments of masonry were let into the new work. The fine archway
leading into the cloisters was put up at this time, and the large oriel
window of the library came from another old house in Exeter. Within the
hall of the Palace is an ancient chimney-piece erected about 1486, upon
which are sculptured the Courtenay arms and badges, the arms of England,
and the emblem of St. Anthony. During the Commonwealth the Palace came
into the possession of a sugar baker, and the succeeding bishop was
content to leave him undisturbed. The next occupant of the see, however,
turned the sugar baker out of the house, which he occupied himself.
Several traces of the sugar refinery were discovered when the Palace was
restored by Bishop Philpotts. The Palace Gardens are very extensive,
and are bounded on the south side by the remains of the city wall, upon
which is now a pleasant walk. Near the centre of the wall is a curious
building generally known as the Lollards' Prison, although whether it
ever was used for this purpose is a matter of conjecture. One of the
finest views of the Cathedral is that obtained from a corner of the lawn
in the Palace Gardens.


After leaving the peaceful atmosphere of the Cathedral the noise and
distractions of the modern city grate upon us; the return to the
twentieth-century commonplace after the fourteenth-century refinement is
too sudden, there being no intermediate stage between the one and the
other, between the gloom of the great church and the glare and feverish
hurry of a prosperous city. This being so, we cannot do better than seek
a measure of quietude and repose along the banks of the Exe, a river
which, rising on Exmoor, gives name to Exeter, Exminster, and Exmouth.
Although rising in Somerset, the river may fittingly be claimed as a
Devonian one, as it enters the county a little below Dulverton, where
it receives the waters of the Barle. At the beginning of its career the
Exe flows through a country of great beauty and much romantic interest,
which has been immortalized by R. D. Blackmore in _Lorna Doone_.

[Illustration: THE EXE AT TOPSHAM]

This land of Exmoor is a heathery plateau that rivals in everything but
extent the sister moorland which gives birth to that prince of English
rivers, the Dart.

Dartmoor is larger, wilder, and grander in the bold contours of its
cloud-capped tors, but the wildness of Exmoor is blended with a sweet
and gentle charm which is all its own. It presents us with a panorama of
misty woods, gleaming water, and glowing heather; a combe-furrowed
moorland clothed with scrub oaks and feathery larches. After leaving
this forest shrine the Exe enters Devonshire, where, after flowing
through richly wooded and fertile valleys, it sweeps past the ancient
town of Tiverton, where it is swelled by the waters of the Loman. Three
miles from Tiverton it reaches Bickley Bridge, beyond which it is the
recipient of the Culm, the largest of all its tributaries. Along the
greater part of its course to this point its silver streams thread their
way between sloping hills crowned with hanging woods, and by scenery of
the true Devonian order. At Cowley Bridge, two miles above Exeter, the
river is joined by the Creedy, which, coming from the north-west, flows
through and gives name to _Creedy-ton_, or Crediton. The course of the
Exe, from its source on Exmoor to the sea at Exmouth, is estimated at
about seventy miles. It is a pure pellucid stream until joined by the
Creedy, which imparts to it a reddish colour from the soil through which
the latter flows.

The importance of the river to Exeter, especially before the waterway
was obstructed by Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of Devon, cannot be
overestimated, and in old books many of the now flourishing ports on the
south coast are described as "creeks under Exeter". From ancient records
it seems certain that an arm of the sea extended to the very walls of
the city, and from the facility thus afforded to commerce, Exeter, at a
very early period, became the great trading port of the West Country. Of
the various trades carried on here those of the woollen and its allied
industries were the most numerous. It was also one of those favoured
English ports to which licences were granted in 1428 for the embarkation
of devout persons and pilgrims who were visiting the great Continental
shrines, and particularly that of St. James at Compostella. Before they
were permitted to leave this country these mediæval devotees were
required to swear a solemn oath that they would "not take with them
anything prejudicial to England, nor to reveal any of its secrets, nor
carry out with them any more gold or silver than what would be
sufficient for their reasonable expense".

As civilization increased trade and commerce, both foreign and domestic,
kept pace with the growth of the city, and in the reign of Elizabeth the
wool merchants of the county and the woolstaplers of its capital had
risen to fame and opulence. In the year 1560 Queen Elizabeth granted the
traders of Exeter a charter of privileges, and letters patent were
issued forming them into a company under the name of a "Socitie of
Marchante Adventurers of the citie of Exeter". The possession of the
charter induced the citizens to commence the spirited undertaking of
cutting a canal to Topsham, a work that was begun in 1564, and which
constitutes one of the earliest examples of canal navigation in the
country. "But why", it may be asked, "did the need for cutting a canal
arise when the river flowed up to the heart of the city?" The need arose
in consequence of the obstruction of the natural waterway near Topsham,
by Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of Devon, with the result that no
ships could proceed beyond Countess Weir, at Topsham, 4 miles below
Exeter. The first obstruction was placed in the river by Isabella de
Fortibus, about the year 1284, owing to a dispute she had with the
merchants of the city concerning various dues. The merchants appealed to
Henry III, who ordered the obstruction to be removed, but so powerful
were the Earls of Devon in those days that no steps were taken to
restore the navigation of the waterway. In 1312 the river was still
further obstructed by Hugh Courtenay, Earl of Devon, the first member of
the Courtenay family to hold the earldom. Tradition states that the
motive for the earl's action was the displeasure he felt towards the
mayor and citizens of Exeter on the following occasion. His steward was
sent into the city to buy fish, and the bishop's steward having been
sent for the same purpose, the two servants met in the market on a day
when there were only three kettles of fish for sale. Each of the
stewards wanted the whole of the supply, and after a quarrel the mayor
was sent for to decide the issue, which he did by giving each of the
stewards one basket and retaining the third for the use of the citizens.
The mayor was in the service of the earl, who, hearing of the decision,
visited the city and sent for the mayor. The latter summoned the
citizens to meet him at the Guildhall, where he explained to them the
cause of the earl's displeasure and requested them to accompany him.
According to Tyacke, the Exeter historian, "being come to the Earl's
house, the mayor was conducted to his lodging chamber and the door
closed on him; and finding that none of his speeches would satisfy the
Earl, who stormed at him, he took off an outer coat he then wore (it
being the Earl's livery), and delivered it to him again; at which the
Earl fell into a greater passion. The commons attending at the door,
doubting the mayor's safety, knocked, and demanded their mayor. Being
several times denied they attempted to break open the door, which the
Earl apprehending and fearful of what might ensue, entreated the mayor
to pacify the people, which was soon done, and they all peaceably
returned. And though the Earl then, to avoid the fury of the people,
seemed pacified, he could never afterwards show a good countenance to
the city."

[Illustration: COUNTESS WEIR]

In order to revenge himself on the citizens he built a quay at Topsham,
and compelled all merchants and captains of ships to unload their
cargoes and convey them by wagon to the city, to the inconvenience of
the merchants and his own profit. He also took from the citizens their
rights of fishing in the river, and oppressed them in various ways. Some
years later Edward Courtenay, nephew of Hugh, still further blocked the
waterway by erecting two other weirs, under the pretext of building some
mills. Many complaints were made to the king, and various writs were
issued against the earls, but no one dared to enforce them. For four
hundred years the feud continued over what was apparently the
destination of a kettle of fish, although in later days there is no
doubt that the earls' motives were to increase the income of their own
port of Topsham at the expense of Exeter. On the receipt of Queen
Elizabeth's charter in 1560 the citizens at length decided to construct
a canal to Topsham. This was begun in 1564 and completed in 1697, and it
is one of the earliest examples of canal navigation in the country.
Topsham is now a little port, whose shipping trade is confined to small
coasting schooners and fishing smacks. The Church of St. Margaret is
very large, and, with the exception of the tower, has been almost
entirely rebuilt. Near Topsham the Exe is joined by the little River
Clyst, and just below the confluence the Exe expands until it is more
than a mile in width. From the Clyst many villages take name, as Clyst
St. Lawrence, Broad Clyst, Honiton Clyst, Clyst St. Mary, and Clyst St.
George. The last two are near Topsham and were the scene of a struggle
during the Prayer Book Riots. In Devon the insurrection started on
Whit-Monday, 1549, at Sampford Courtenay, the day following that on
which the Act altering the Church service came into force. The people of
the village insisted on the priest saying the usual mass instead of the
prayers given in the appointed Book of Common Prayer. The rebellion
spread rapidly, and ten thousand men marched on Exeter, with a good
sprinkling of old Devon families in their ranks; but they were
undisciplined and were quickly dispersed by Lords Grey and Russell.
Although demoralized, the rebels assembled at Clyst St. Mary, which they
fortified. From here they sent word to the king demanding the
continuance of their former Church services, but the king's reply was an
army under the command of Lord Russell, and after a brief resistance
Clyst St. Mary was burned to the ground and the rebels scattered, to be
again beaten and their leaders taken on Clyst Heath. The vicar of St.
Thomas's Church, Exeter--at that time situated outside the walls--one of
the leaders, was hanged from his own church tower.

On the west bank of the Exe, almost opposite Topsham, are Powderham Park
and Castle, the latter supposed to have been built originally by
Isabella de Fortibus. It has been conjectured, and is indeed highly
probable, that a fortified building or earthwork of some kind occupied
the site at a much earlier date, possibly as early as the Danish
invasions. In later times the manor belonged to the Bohuns, and it came
into possession of the Earls of Devon through the marriage of Margaret
de Bohun with Hugh Courtenay, the third earl. In 1645 the castle was
besieged, unsuccessfully, by Fairfax, but in the following year it was
taken by Colonel Hammond. Until about the middle of the eighteenth
century it remained strongly fortified, but at that time it was
subjected to many alterations. The oldest part of the present castle
dates from the time of Richard II, but the whole fabric has undergone so
many restorations that it presents a great variety of architectural
styles. The fine modern hall contains a fireplace which is a replica of
the one at the Palace, Exeter. The park is a delightful stretch of
greensward, studded with ancient oaks, and it extends for many miles
around the building. In one corner of the park is the little church of
St. Clement, a Perpendicular building of red sandstone, and within which
are several memorials of the Courtenays. These include a recumbent
effigy popularly supposed to represent the renowned Isabella, although
this lady is known to have been buried at Bromnor Priory, Wilts. It is
the opinion of some authorities that this monument is a cenotaph to
Elizabeth, daughter of Edward I, and wife of Humphrey de Bohun, whose
daughter, Margaret, married Hugh Courtenay. On the highest ground of the
park is the Belvidere, erected in 1773, a triangular tower with a small
hexagonal turret at each corner. It is 60 feet high, and from the summit
the view comprises the city of Exeter, the broad estuary of the Exe,
the village of Lympstone, and the little town of Topsham, where the
spars of the ships appear to mingle with the trees on the river's banks.
Looking inland we may see the well-wooded country stretching away in a
succession of hills and combes, until the view is bounded by the
stone-capped heights of Dartmoor in the far distance.

The parish of Woodbury, on the east bank of the river, contains several
small villages and a large stretch of common. Woodbury Castle is a
well-known earthwork on the top of a high hill; it is probably
prehistoric in origin, although afterwards occupied by the Romans. The
church of St. Swithin at Woodbury has a chancel in the Decorated and a
tower in the Perpendicular styles. The beautiful screen has been
modernized and consequently spoiled, but some good monuments may still
be seen. Nutwell Court, overlooking the estuary, is a modern mansion on
the site of a castle which had been converted into a dwelling house so
early as the reign of Edward IV. It is now the home of the Drakes, of
the same family as the famous sailor of Elizabethan days. Among the
relics preserved here are the cups given to Sir Francis Drake by Queen
Elizabeth on his return from the memorable voyage round the world in the
_Pelican_. Here also is a portrait of Sir Francis by Zucchero.

Exmouth, although a modern watering-place, has a few points of interest,
being one of the oldest seaside resorts on the south-west coast.

In the time of King John it was an important port, and it supplied ten
ships and one hundred and ninety-three seamen for Edward III's
expedition to Calais. The principal part of the present town is very
modern, but it is very pleasantly situated. The greater part of the town
is included in the parish of Littleham, whose church, dedicated to St.
Margaret and St. Andrew, is of Early English and Perpendicular
architecture. The Spratshayes aisle was probably built by the Drakes of
Spratshayes. The screen, dating from about 1400, has richly undercut
cornice bands, the Stafford and Wake knots being freely introduced among
the carvings. There are many delightful walks around Exmouth, both along
the coast and inland, the view from Beacon Hill being very fine and
including a large strip of the eastern and the western coastlines that
border the blue waters of the English Channel.


_At the Villafield Press, Glasgow, Scotland_

|Transcribers note:                                                  |
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|In this plain text E and S with a macron is represented by [=S] [=E]|

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