Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Exeter Cathedral (Exeter)

St. Peter's Cathedral serves the ancient city of Exeter in Devon.

The see was founded at Crediton in 909. and was moved to Exeter in 1049, in the period immediately before the Norman Conquest when Norman ideas were beginning to permate English thinking.

For about fifty years, the old monastic church of St. Mary and St. Peter served as the cathedral, but early in the late century, Bishop Warelwast, a nephew of William the Conqueror, started to build a new cathedral nearby.

The towers of Warelwast's transepts survive, but the rest of the building is Gothic.

There is a MInstrels' Gallery in the North triforium of the beautiful nave.

The 14th century Bishop's throne has a superbly carved sixty foot canopy of Devon oak. It was taken to a safe place at the outbreak of war in 1939.

In the choir stalls are the earliest misericords in England. There are 49, dating from the 13th century. One of them has the earliest depiction of an elephant in the country.

The 300 foot roof boasts the longest unbroken stretch of mediaeval vaulting in the world.

There is an astronomical clock in the nave, showing the Moon revolving around the Earth, dating from the late 15th century.

A memorial in the nave is to Matthew Godwin, the organist, said to be an outstanding musician, who died in 1586 aged 17. It is the earliest monument to a musician in Britain.

The cathedral library includes the Exeter Book of about 950.

Exeter Cathedral suffered damage in the Baedecker raids during the Second World War, but was restored without much delay.

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