Magna Britannia: Volume 6, Devonshire. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1822.
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The city of Exeter
The city of Exeter is situated in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Christianity or Exeter, on the great western road to Plymouth, Falmouth, and the Land's End, 173 miles from London. (fn. n1)
The ancient British name of this city, as well as of the town of Usk in Monmouthshire, was Caerwisc; by the Romans they were both called Isca; and to distinguish them, the latter had the additional appellation of Silurum, whilst Exeter was called Isca Danmoniorum. The river Exe is the foundation both of its Roman and English name, and the river itself, as well as the rivers Usk and Eske, are all derived from an ancient British word signifying water. One of our old historians (fn. n2), who tells us that Caerwisc was the British name for Exeter, explains it to mean civitas aquœ.
The earliest event relating to this city mentioned by any of our historians is its having been besieged by Vespasian. We are told that after seven days the siege was raised by Arviragus, but Camden says, that so far from believing Geoffrey of Monmouth, by whom this was first related, he scarcely thought that Exeter was then built. That it was afterwards, if not at so early a period, in the possession of the Romans, is abundantly evident, however, from the antiquities belonging to that nation which have been found there. In 633, we are told that Penda, king of the Mercians, besieged Exeter, then held by Brien, nephew of Cadwallo, the last king of the Britons: the historian adds, that Cadwallo after a time came to its relief, and fought a battle here with Penda, who was defeated and taken prisoner. (fn. n3) In the year 876, after the Danes had broken their treaty with King Alfred, a part of their army came to Exeter, and there wintered. The year following the Danish horse, which had wintered at Wareham, joined their countrymen at Exeter, having been pursued by Alfred to the gates of the city: the remainder of their army, going by sea, encountered a storm, in which 120 of their ships were lost. The Danes again made a treaty with the English monarch, which, in this instance, they are said to have kept. After having remained at Exeter a whole year, the Danes removed into Mercia. (fn. n4) In 888 we hear of another Danish army at Exeter (fn. n5); and in 894 it was again besieged by those barbarous invaders, and relieved by Alfred. (fn. n6)
King Athelstan, who succeeded to the English throne in 926, drove the Britons, who had for many years inhabited this city jointly with the Saxons, out of Exeter, and compelled them to retreat beyond the Tamar. After this he fortified the city with towers and a wall of hewn stone. The historian represents Exeter to have been, at that time, in a state of decay, and the surrounding country barren and unproductive. In consequence of Athelstan's patronage, and the great influx of strangers which ensued, the city rapidly increased in wealth and prosperity, and we are told that it afforded every thing that could be desired for the use of man. (fn. n7) This great monarch is said to have built a castle at Exeter for his own residence (fn. n8): that he sometimes resided there is certain, for Exeter is one of the three places where his celebrated laws were instituted; indeed he himself speaks of having held a great council of the nation at Exeter for that purpose. (fn. n9) By him the city is said to have been divided into the four wards which still exist.
In the year 1001 the Danes besieged Exeter, but it was valiantly defended by the citizens, who repelled the enemy in a general assault. (fn. n10) The author of the Saxon Chronicle, who does not mention the siege of Exeter, tells us that the Danes, during an incursion into Devonshire, burnt Pinhoe and several other villages, and that they had a battle with Cola, the King's commander-in-chief, and Eadsig another of his generals, in which the invaders were victorious. The victory of the Danes is mentioned also by the author of the Mailros Chronicle, and by Matthew of Westminster; but it does not appear that Exeter then fell into their hands. In 1003, Swain, the Danish king, again besieged Exeter, which was surrendered to him through the treachery, or, as some say, the neglect, of Hugh the Norman, then governor of the city, and sheriff of the county, who, far from experiencing any favour at their hands, was carried away in chains. The Danes took ample revenge for their former failure; they plundered the inhabitants, burnt every thing that was combustible, levelled the walls and bulwarks, and almost wholly destroyed the city (fn. n11); which is suppossed to have lain in ruins till the reign of Canute, who took it into his favour and protection. King Edward the Confessor was at Exeter with his queen, Editha, in 1050. (fn. n12)
King William the Conqueror was scarcely seated on his throne when the citizens of Exeter, impatient of a foreign yoke, rebelled against him, and made every possible preparation for defence. The King, on receiving intimation of their proceedings, marched towards Exeter with his army, accompanied by some of the chief English nobility. Certain leading men of the city hastened to the King's camp, besought his pardon, and having promised fealty, and that they would receive him with open gates, gave such hostages as he required. Notwithstanding this, when they returned to their fellow-citizens, they found them resolved upon an obstinate resistance. The King, who was then encamped four miles from the city, hearing of this their breach of promise, rode forwards with 500 horse, and finding the gates shut, and the walls and bulwarks manned with a great force, he gave orders for his army to advance, and caused the eyes of one of the hostages to be put out before the city gates. The citizens, nevertheless, without any regard to the safety of the other hostages, or fear for themselves, defended the place with the utmost obstinacy for several days, till at length finding that all opposition would be ineffectual, after holding a council, they resolved to throw themselves upon the King's mercy; and the chief men of the city, with its youth and beauty, and the clergy carrying the sacred volumes, went in procession, and threw themselves at his feet. Their reception exceeded their most sanguine hopes; a free pardon was immediately granted them, with protection from plunder. To prevent future rebellion, however, the King thought it expedient to build a castle there, the oversight of which work, and its future government, he committed to the care of Baldwin de Moles (fn. n13), son of Earl Gilbert, and other select knights. The King then went into Cornwall. (fn. n14) Githa, Harold's mother, and sister to Swein, King of Denmark, is said to have been in Exeter when the King first laid siege to it, but made her escape, and got over to Flanders. (fn. n15)
Two years after this the disaffected Saxons attempted to possess themselves of Exeter, but the citizens, mindful of the event of their opposition to the King in 1067, held the city against them. The King sent two earls, William and Brien, to their relief, and the citizens having joined their forces, the Saxons were defeated with great slaughter. (fn. n16) In 1088 Exeter is said to have been laid waste by the adherents of Robert Duke of Normandy, under the command of Robert Fitz Baldwin. (fn. n17)
Soon after Stephen's usurpation of the throne (fn. n18), Baldwin de Redvers, or Rivers, Earl of Devon, who was the first to oppose his elevation, fortified the castle of Exeter against him. Stephen immediately advanced with a great army, and was received by the citizens within their walls with the greatest joy. The Earl, who had shut himself up in the castle with his countess, his children, and all his adherents, among whom were some of the most distinguished young men of the realm, made a most gallant defence; and although the besieging army availed themselves of every kind of military engine then in use (fn. n19), and had succeeded so far as to take the barbican by assault, and to batter down the bridge which formed a communication between the castle and the city, they held out three months; but were at length compelled to capitulate for want of water. The King is said to have expended not less than 15,000 marks upon this siege. When he left Exeter, he committed the custody of the castle and the county to his brother, Henry de Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Roger de Hoveden blames Stephen for the lenity with which he treated the citizens after their capitulation. King Henry II. granted them several privileges as a reward for their attachment to his mother, and gave them the custody of the castle.
During the whole reign of King John, Exeter, with its governor, Robert de Courtenay, continued loyal to that monarch. In 1216 he had the King's licence to take in William de Brewer and his forces, if he thought his own, with the aid of the citizens, insufficient to defend the city. Although it does not appear that he had shown any symptoms of disloyalty to his successor, yet the jealousy of the times deeming it improper that so important a fortress should be in the hands of a subject, the custody of the castle and city of Exeter, which had so long been hereditary in his family, was taken from Robert de Courtenay, and given to Peter de Rivaux. (fn. n20)
King Edward I. and his queen kept their Christmas at Exeter in 1285, remaining fifteen days at the Blackfriers. Izacke relates that during their residence in the city the murder of Walter de Lechlade, the precentor, was investigated; and the late mayor, who had borne that office for eight years, with four others, condemned to death. (fn. n21) King Edward visited Exeter again in 1297. (fn. n22) In "the year 1357 Edward the Black Prince having gained the memorable battle of Poictiers, landed on his return at Plymouth, whence coming to Exeter with his prisoner, John King of France, and his youngest son, was received with great demonstrations of joy; and the Prince and his illustrious prisoners treated for three days with great magnificence. (fn. n23) In 1371, when returning from France in a declining state of health, he again visited Exeter with his Princess, and they were entertained at the mayor's house for several days. (fn. n24)
King Henry VI. visited this city in the month of July, 1451, and remained eight days at the bishop's palace, during which time a gaol delivery was held in the hall of the palace, and two men condemned, whom the king released upon the remonstrances of the bishop and clergy, who protested against the temporal authority which the king had exercised within the sanctuary of the church. (fn. n25) In the year 1469, the Duchess of Clarence with Lord Dinham, Lord Fitzwarren, and Lord Carew, who took part with Henry VI. came to Exeter: the Duchess, who was then pregnant, lodged in the bishop's palace. Sir William Courtenay, one of King Edward's generals, besieged the city, which was for some time resolutely defended by the mayor and citizens. After twelve days, by the mediation of the clergy, the siege was raised (fn. n26), and shortly afterwards ensued the battle of Losecote in Lincolnshire. The Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick, having heard of the unfortunate issue of that battle, fled to Exeter on the 3d of April, 1470, where they were entertained in the Bishop's palace, till a ship was got ready at Dartmouth to take them to Calais. The king having been advertised of their intentions, pursued them with his army, and on the 14th of the same month, the fugitives, having in the mean time quitted it, reached Exeter with a numerous train of nobles, knights, and gentlemen. In 1471, previously to the battle of Tewksbury, the Lancastrians of Devon and Cornwall, under the command of Sir John Arundell and Sir Hugh Courtenay, mustered at Exeter, whence they marched to the fatal field. (fn. n27) Some time after this, King Edward with his Queen and the infant Prince are said to have visited Exeter, where they were entertained by the mayor, who presented the King with a purse of 100 nobles, and the Queen and Prince with 20l. each. The King, at his departure, presented the mayor with a sword to be carried before him and his successors, on all public occasions. (fn. n28)
A strong party having been formed in the west against the usurper Richard, soon after he had taken possession of the throne in 1483, and the hopes of those who were disaffected to his cause having been for the present frustrated by the capture and execution of the Duke of Buckingham, a special commission was sent down to Torrington, under which the Marquis of Dorset, Bishop Courtenay, and others of the Courtenay family, were outlawed. Sir Thomas St. Leger, the King's brother-in-law, and Thomas Rame, Esq., were condemned to death and beheaded at Exeter. (fn. n29) Richard himself having made a progress into the west upon this occasion, came to Exeter on the 8th of September, 1483, when he was received by the corporation with the customary formalities, presented with a purse of 200 nobles, and entertained at the Bishop's palace at the city's expence. (fn. n30)
In 1497, Perkin Warbeck, pretending to the crown, and asserting himself to be (as some ingenious writers of the present day have supposed that he really was) Richard Duke of York, landed in Cornwall: having assembled an army of the disaffected, he marched to Exeter at the head of 6000 men, and commenced a vigorous siege, but was repulsed in several assaults, and after a short time the siege was raised by the Earl of Devon. (fn. n31) The King soon afterwards came to Exeter, and was lodged at the Treasurer's house, within the Close. Some of the ringleaders of the rebellion were executed upon Southern Hay; the rest having been brought before the King in front of the Treasurer's house, with halters about their necks, received a free pardon. (fn. n32) The Princess Catherine of Arragon, having landed at Plymouth in 1501, rested several days at Exeter on her road to London, being lodged at the deanery. (fn. n33) During the rebellion, which took place on account of the reformation in religion in the year 1549, the rebels besieged Exeter, which, as on former occasions, was manfully defended by the citizens. The siege commenced on the 2d of July; the assailants burned the gates, attempted to scale the walls, and to destroy them by mining, but without success; they then endeavoured to starve the citizens by a blockade. The besieged, although reduced to great distress, and obliged to eat horse-flesh and to substitute bran for flour to make bread, held out till relieved by Lord Russell in the beginning of August. After the total defeat of the rebels at Clist Heath on the fifth of that month, the besiegers quitted their post, and Lord Russell entered Exeter the next day. (fn. n34) The magistrates, in gratitude for their deliverance, appointed the 6th of August to be kept annually as a day of thanksgiving, and it has been continued to the present time. The brave defence made by the citizens was duly appreciated. The Lord Protector sent a letter in the King's name, thanking them in the most grateful terms for their courage and fidelity, and assuring them of the royal favour and protection. As a more substantial reward, the next year the King, with the advice of his privy council, granted the corporation the valuable manor of Exeland. (fn. n35)
In the month of January, 1554–5, Sir Peter and Sir Gawen Carew, Sir Thomas Dennis, and others, being up in arms to oppose King Philip's coming to England, are said to have taken possession of the city and castle of Exeter. (fn. n36)
There is little of note immediately connected with Exeter, which occurs in history between this period and the reign of Charles I. The annalists mention the reception of Don Antonio, the deprived king of Portugal, who was liberally entertained with his whole retinue, by Mr. John Davy, then mayor, during the whole of his stay, in the year 1584; the terrible sickness which broke out at the assizes in 1586, when the brave Sir Bernard Drake, and several other magistrates and jurymen, died of the infection; and the zealous exertions of the citizens against the Spaniards in 1588, for which the Queen sent them a letter of thanks, and in allusion to their former deserts, as well as to the zeal which they had then displayed, granted them the motto of semper fidelis, to bear with the city arms.
At the first commencement of the great civil war, the Earl of Bedford being lord lieutenant of the county of Devon, and attached to the cause of the parliament, repaired to Exeter, disarmed the loyal citizens, garrisoned the city, and planted ordnance upon the walls. When he quitted Exeter, he gave the government of it to the Earl of Stamford. After the loss of the battle of Stratton, in which that earl had the chief command, he hastened to Exeter with the news of his defeat, and, expecting a siege, dedestroyed all the houses in the suburbs, and ordered the trees on the walls, and in the northern and southern Hay, to be cut down. About this time, the sum of 100l. was voted by the corporation, to be given to the Earl for his honourable regard to the city. After the capture of Bristol, (July 24.) Sir John Berkeley was sent by the King to take the command in Devonshire, and to take measures for blockading Exeter. About the middle of August, Prince Maurice came with his army before Exeter, and found Sir John Berkeley straitly besieging the city, with his guards close to the gates. The siege continued till after the loss of the parliamentary garrisons upon the north coast, when the Earl of Stamford was induced to surrender it upon articles, on the 4th of September. (fn. n37) Sir John Berkeley was made governor to the great joy, as was said, of the greater part of the citizens, who were zealous royalists. Exeter being at this time regarded as a place of great security, the Queen then far advanced in her pregnancy, was sent thither: she was joyfully received by the citizens, and conducted to Bedford House, which had been fitted up for her reception. The corporation voted her a present of 200l. Soon after her arrival, on the 16th of June, she was brought to bed of a princess, (afterwards Duchess of Orleans,) who was baptized at the cathedral by the name of Henrietta Maria. On this occasion a handsome font was erected in the body of the church under a canopy of state: the ceremony was performed by Dr. Burnell, chancellor of the diocese.
Upon the approach of the Earl of Essex with his army, on his march westward, the Queen left Exeter for Falmouth, whence she embarked for France. The Earl, however, made no attempt on this city, which on the 26th of July was visited by the King and the Prince of Wales. It was then that the King first saw his daughter, the Princess Henrietta Maria. (fn. n38) The corporation, on this occasion, exceeded their usual presents to crowned heads, presenting the King, on his arrival, with 500l., and the Prince with 100l.. The King took up his residence at Bedford House; the Prince at the deanery. After his successful expedition into Cornwall, the King returned to Exeter for one night, (September 17th,) and then proceeded to Oxford. The Prince was at Exeter in August and September, 1645. (fn. n39)
After the battle of Naseby, Sir Thomas Fairfax was sent as general into the west. Although the reduction of Exeter was one of the chief objects of the expedition, the general did not immediately besiege it, but placed garrisons in several of the neighbouring villages and gentlemen's seats, by which the city was greatly distressed. In the spring of 1646, Exeter was closely invested; and after some weeks, on the 9th of April (fn. n40), Sir John Berkeley, the governor, surrendered it on articles; one of which was, that the Princess Henrietta Maria and her household should have liberty to remove to any part of England or Wales. Most of the articles are said to have been shamefully violated. The cathedral was defaced, the painted glass destroyed, and the fabric divided into two places of worship, one for the Presbyterians, and the other for the Independents; the chapter-house was turned into a stable, and the Bishop's palace (fn. n41), the deanery, and the canons' houses, into barracks. Sir Thomas Fairfax, at the head of his victorious army, entered Exeter on the fourteenth of April, and stayed till the eighteenth, when having incorporated into one the regiments raised by Colonel Shapcote, Colonel Weare, and Colonel Frye, he left it to garrison the city, under the command of Colonel Hammond. (fn. n42)
John Penruddock, Esq., and Hugh Grove, Esq., having been taken in arms against the Commonwealth, in 1655, were beheaded at Exeter, in the castle; and several gentlemen of their associates hanged at the common place of execution.
The restoration of Charles II. was hailed with much enthusiasm in this city: at his proclamation on the 11th of May, 1660, the three conduits of the city were supplied with claret (fn. n43); a piece of plate of the value of 700l. was presented by the corporation to the King; one of 300l. to the QueenMother; and one of 200l. to the Princess Henrietta Maria. In 1670, King Charles II. having been to see the new citadel at Plymouth, visited this city on his return. The deanery, in which he had formerly lodged, was prepared for his reception. Upon this occasion, he promised the corporation the portrait of his sister, the Duchess of Orleans, born at Bedford House, which was sent down the next year (fn. n44) and now hangs in the Guildhall.
Exeter was the scene of some very interesting transactions at the commencement of the Revolution, in 1688. The Prince of Orange, having landed at Torbay on the 5th of November, rode on the 7th to Ford House, near Newton Abbot. On the eighth, Lord Mordaunt, with Dr. Burnet, (afterwards Bishop of Salisbury,) came to Exeter with a troop of horse. The mayor, Sir Thomas Jefford, who had recently been knighted and elected to that office by the mandate of King James, ordered the gates to be shut against them. The porter, nevertheless, not being prepared to resist, reluctantly opened them; and soldiers continued to enter the city all that day. On the ninth, the Prince of Orange entered the city, with a most magnificent cavalcade, followed by the remainder of the army. (fn. n45) The Prince was welcomed with loud acclamations, and conducted to the deanery, which had been prepared for his reception; and there he kept his court. Soon after his arrival, he repaired to the cathedral to offer up a thanksgiving for his safe arrival. Te Deum was sung, and after Divine service, Dr. Burnet read the Prince's declaration. At first, the neighbouring gentry, intimidated by the recent cruelties of Jeffries, and the fate of the rash followers of the late Duke of Monmouth (fn. n46), showed great backwardness in declaring in his favour; and it is said that he had some thoughts of abandoning his designs; but being emboldened by the arrival of Lord Colchester, with some of the King's troops, the gentlemen of Devon joined the Prince's standard, and entered into an association in defence of the Protestant religion, and the maintenance of the ancient government, laws, and liberties of the realm. Tin's instrument was signed in the cathedral on the 17th: on the 21st, the Prince left Exeter, and marched towards London. The Prince made Sir Edward Seymour governor of the city, leaving a small garrison there, and the heavy artillery under the command of Colonel Gibson. (fn. n47)
The great Duke of Marlborough, coming to Exeter to review some regiments, was entertained by the corporation, on the 18th of October, 1739. (fn. n48)
Upon the alarm occasioned by the combined fleet appearing off Plymouth, in 1779, the numerous French prisoners, then at that port, were marched to Exeter, and guarded in the county bridewell by a volunteer regiment, raised on the spur of the occasion.
This city, which in the course of its annals is recorded to have entertained so many royal guests, was honoured with a visit by his late Majesty, accompanied by the Queen and three of the Princesses, in the month of August, 1789. During the alarms of French invasion, in 1798, and again in 1803, active measures were taken for securing and fortifying Exeter.
Notwithstanding the general opinion of modern writers, that the castle of Exeter was of more remote origin, and had been a residence of the Saxon kings, we find no authority in history to countenance that opinion. It seems evident, from what is related of King Athelstan, that before his time, about the middle of the tenth century, there was no castle in Exeter. (fn. n49) The historian speaks only of his building turrets, and surrounding the city with a wall of hewn stone; but Bishop Grandisson, as before observed, quotes an old chronicle, as speaking of that monarch having built a castle also. There can be no doubt but that this castle was destroyed by the Danes, in 1003; the authority of Ordericus Vitalis is decisive, that no such structure existed in 1067. We are told by this historian, that after the surrender of Exeter to William the Conqueror, that monarch selected a spot for the building of a castle, and committed the oversight of the work, and its future custody, to Baldwin de Molis, great grandson of the first Duke of Normandy, who had married the Conqueror's niece: he was called also Baldwin de Sap, or De Brioniis. The King made this Baldwin hereditary sheriff of Devonshire, and Exeter Castle became the place of his residence. His son Richard dying without issue, the castle of Exeter is said to have been granted, with the earldom of Devon, to Richard de Redvers, or Rivers. (fn. n50)
Upon the death of Isabella, sister and heir of Baldwin de Rivers, (the last Earl of Devon of that family,) who had been married to William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle, the castle and honor of Exeter came to the Courtenays. In 1216, Robert de Courtenay and William Briwere were commanded by King John to defend the city of Exeter, if it could be done, otherwise to betake themselves to the castle. (fn. n51) In 1217, the custody of Exeter Castle was claimed by Henry, son of Reginald, Earl of Cornwall; but the King, by his writ, confirmed the possession to Robert de Courtenay, who continued to hold it till the year 1232 (fn. n52), when this and other castles were seized into the King's hands. In 1247, Exeter Castle was in the possession of Richard Earl of Cornwall, the King's brother. In 1286, King Edward I. granted it to Matthew Fitz John for life. (fn. n53) It continued, nevertheless, chiefly in the earls of Cornwall, and in 1336, when the Prince of Wales was created Duke of Cornwall, this castle, with a small district adjoining, was made part of the duchy. In 1397, (there being then no Duke of Cornwall,) King Richard II. having created John Holland Duke of Exeter, made him governor of the castle. On the accession of Henry IV., that monarch having created his son Henry Duke of Cornwall, it reverted to the duchy, and the governors of the castle were from that time appointed by the dukes of Cornwall.
After the surrender of Exeter to General Fairfax, the castle, which had been then for the last time occupied as a military fortress, was dismantled, and all its towers and battlements destroyed. There are now few remains of the building. The governor's house, the old chapel, sally-port, &c, were taken down about the year 1774. The lofty gateway, with a circular arch, is to be seen in the beautiful gardens of Edmund Granger, Esq., formed with singular felicity in the fosse of the castle, and commanding a most rich and beautiful prospect.
In the year 1711, an act of parliament was passed, enabling Queen Anne to grant a lease of the castle of Exeter for 99 years, for the use of the county of Devon. It is probable that the castle had, long before that time, been used for county purposes: the gaol is said to have been removed thither from Bicton in 1518; but there is evidence that at a much earlier period (fn. n54) it occupied its present site, within the castle walls. (fn. n55) The courts of justice within the old castle having been found incommodious, a large building was erected on its site, about the year 1774, containing spacious courts for holding the assizes, apartments for the judges, &c. &c. The castle is situated at the N. E. corner of the walls, on the highest ground in the city; from this circumstance, and the colour of the soil, it is said to have obtained the appellation of Rougemont. The public walk, called Nothernhay, which, during the civil war, had been converted into an outwork, and spoiled of its fine elms, was again levelled and planted in 1664.
Within the castle of Exeter was the collegiate chapel of the Holy Trinity (fn. n56), founded in the reign of King Stephen, by Ralph Avenell, (grandson of Baldwin de Brioniis,) and his aunt Adela. (fn. n57) In this chapel were four prebendaries. It was sometimes called the free chapel of Heis (fn. n58), Hayes, or Cliston Hayes, in the parish of Broad Clist, being one of the prebendal corps (fn. n59); the others were Ash Clist, in the same parish, Cutton in Poltimore, and Carswell, in the parish of Kenne. William Avenell, son of Ralph, gave this chapel, with its prebends, to the monks of Plympton (fn. n60), but the grant seems to have been afterwards, at least in part, resumed; for we find that the prebend of Ash Clist was given by Robert Courtenay, who died in 1242, he having been patron of Plympton, and possessor of the castle of Exeter, to Tor Abbey. (fn. n61) The college in the castle was suppressed with other collegiate churches and chapels. It was reported to Bishop Stapeldon, at his visitation in 1321, that the chapel was ruinous, and in part roofless, and that it was not used for divine service. (fn. n62) It is probable that it was in consequence repaired. The chapel continued in use after the Reformation; and Divine service was performed in it at the assizes, till it was taken down about the year 1782.
The earliest charter on record, granted to this city, is that of Henry I., who confirmed the liberties it had enjoyed in the time of the Saxon kings. These liberties were confirmed by Henry II. and Richard I. In Jenkins's History of Exeter is given the translation of a charter of King John, of the year 1200, by which the citizens had the power given them of choosing a mayor annually, and two bailiffs. The list of mayors, given by Izacke, commences with this year; but it may be observed, that the first named, Henry Rifford, continued mayor eight years, probably as long as he lived, and his successor five years. The enrolled charter of 1200 makes no mention of a mayor, but merely confirms to the citizens all the customs and liberties which they had hitherto enjoyed, particularly noticing the customs of London. (fn. n63) Henry Fitz Aleyne, the first mayor of London, was appointed by the King, and continued in that office 24 years. The mayor of London, which office had existed by that name most probably at least a few years earlier, is mentioned in a charter of the first of John. It does not appear that they were elected annually either in London or Exeter before 1215 or 1216.
In 1203, King John granted the city of Exeter to his Queen Isabella for life, with the profits of the fair there held. (fn. n64) In 1227, King Henry III. gave the city of Exeter to his brother, Richard Earl of Cornwall, who is said to have resided much at the castle. The city charter was renewed and confirmed by this Earl. In 1312 the mayor and bailiffs were made Justices of the Peace. (fn. n65) King Edward granted to the citizens the cognizance of pleas; his successor confirmed former charters, and added further liberties and privileges. (fn. n66) King Edward IV., in 1463, granted to the citizens all goods forfeited by felons, a fair at the festival of St. Mary Magdalen, and other privileges. King Henry the Seventh's charter of 1497 recognizes the corporation as then consisting of a mayor, four bailiffs, 24 common council, and four Serjeants at mace, and settles the mode of their election. A recorder and town-clerk are also mentioned in this charter. King Charles I., in 1627, confirmed the city charters, and granted an extension of privileges. King Charles II. having, in 1683, demanded a surrender of the city charter, granted a new one in the following year: under this charter the corporation was made to consist of a mayor, and eight aldermen, 15 common-council men, a recorder, &c. In 1770 the charter of the city was renewed by his late Majesty, when the mayor, recorder, and the aldermen, were made Justices of the Quorum.
The city of Exeter was anciently held under the crown by the rent of 25l. 12s. 6d., which rent was given by Maud, consort of William the Conqueror, to the priory of the Holy Trinity in London: it was paid to the priory in the reign of Edward I. by the citizens, who held the city under Edmund Earl of Cornwall: a further rent of 13l. 9s. was payable to the Earl. (fn. n67)
Upon the attainder of the Duke of Ormond, in 1715, the office of Lord High Steward of this city was conferred on Prince George, afterwards King George II. It appears that it was afterwards held by Frederick Prince of Wales, and that upon his death, in 1751, he was succeeded by his late Majesty, then Prince of Wales. There is at present no High Steward.
An ancient building in Waterbeare Street, said (but without any foundation) to have been formerly the Guildhall, was pulled down in 1803. The present Guildhall, in the High Street, contained formerly a chapel dedicated to St. George: it is said to have been rebuilt in 1330, and again in 1464. The front was rebuilt in 1593. In the hall is the portrait of the Duchess of Orleans, already mentioned, by Vandyke. There are portraits also of General Monk, by the same artist; Earl Camden; John Tuckfield; Esq., M.P., a great benefactor to the city; Benjamin Heath, Esq., (father of the late Judge Heath,) and King George II.
Exeter has sent members to parliament ever since the reign of Edward I. The right of election is vested in the freemen and resident freeholders, of whom there are supposed to be about 1200, John Vowell alias Hoker, who wrote a description of Exeter, Serjeant Maynard, and Sir Bartholomew Shower, are to be found in the list of the representatives of this city. Exeter was made a county of itself in 1536. The election of knights of the shire is held in the shire-hall at the castle.
The markets at Exeter, which are of great antiquity, are held by prescription. At a very early period they were held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The principal market-day now is Friday, on which is a great corn-market, and it is esteemed the greatest market in the west of England for all kinds of provisions. There are markets also on Tuesday and Saturday. The corn-market is in the parish of St. George. Brice speaks of large markets in his time for country butchers on Wednesday and Saturday, and a wool-market on Tuesday and Thursday. The serge-market is held now on Friday, in the parish of St. Mary Major: it had been held in Cromwell's time in the cloisters, and the corn-market in St. Peter's churchyard. The serge-market was removed in 1660 to St. John's Hospital, and thence to Southgate Street.
An act for "removing the markets held within the city of Exeter, and for providing another market-place or other market-places in lieu thereof" was passed in 1820, but as yet no progress has been made in carrying this act into execution (fn. n68); and goods and provisions are still, to the great inconvenience of the public, exposed to sale in the Fore Street.
King Henry I. is supposed to have granted to the priory of St. Nicholas, in this city, a fair on St. Nicholas' day, December 1., and the moiety of an ancient fair called Crollditch, now Lammas fair. (fn. n69) This is the fair which, in Edward the First's time, is said to have been held by prescription, and to have lasted four days. A moiety of this fair, being vested in the crown, was given to the Earls of Devon. The moiety which had belonged to the priory was purchased, after the Reformation, by the citizens. The other moiety came to the crown again, by the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter, and passed by grant to the Northmore family, of whom it was, not many years ago, purchased by the corporation.
A fair at the festival of St. Mary Magdalen (which had originally belonged to the Lepers' Hospital) was granted to the corporation in 1463. (fn. n70) Izacke, under the year 1485, mentions seven fairs at Exeter: Ash Wednesday, Shere Thursday, Whit Monday, St. Mary Magdalen, Lammas, St. Nicholas, and St. Thomas. The corporation having the power of altering the fair-days, they are now held on the second Wednesday in March, the second Wednesday in June, the second Wednesday in August, and the second Wednesday in December. There is a great market for the sale of cattle on the second Friday in every month. The cloth-halls, used during the fair for the sale of woollen cloth, occupy the cloisters under the school and library, at St. John's Hospital.
It has been supposed that there were two mints, established at Exeter by King Athelstan, and these appear to have existed in the reign of King John. (fn. n71) Exeter was one of the six towns in which mints were established by King William III. in 1696; the silver then coined at this place has the letter E under the King's bust. The mint is said to have been at this time in Hele's Hospital.
The wool-trade at Exeter is supposed to have existed from a very early period (fn. n72): it was much increased in the reign of Henry VIII. The market for that commodity was tranferred from Crediton to Exeter in the year 1538. The weavers and fullers of Exeter held their meetings in. a hall called Tuckers' (fn. n73) hall: they were subsequently united to the merchant adventurers, who were incorporated by Queen Elizabeth in 1559, under a governor and four consuls. After this period the Exeter merchants, chiefly Germans, Swiss, and French, considerably increased their exports of woollen goods into Germany, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Switzerland, &c.
In King James's reign the trade experienced a still greater increase; and woollen cloths began to be exported to Italy, Turkey, and the Levant. The wool trade was in a still more flourishing state soon after the Revolution. (fn. n74) The trade continued to be extensive when Brice published his Topographical Dictionary, in 1759, but not so much so as it had been three score years before, when it is calculated that eight out of ten of the citizens were engaged in it. Brice says that at the former period, as he had been informed, 50,000l. or 60,000l. worth of woollen goods had been sold in a week; and that still, in his time, the ordinary weekly sale on a Friday was 10,000l. worth; and he observes that it was the greatest wool-market in the kingdom, next to Leeds. It is stated that in 1750, 302, 760 pieces of woollen-cloth were exported to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and Germany; the annual value of exported goods, including cloths, corn, hides, &c, was estimated at a million sterling. The manufacture of white serges was then very flourishing at Exeter: great quantities of these were dyed and finished at home, but a still greater proportion sent white to London, to be there dyed and finished for the foreign markets.
It has been calculated by an eminent mercantile man, now residing in the neighbourhood of Exeter (fn. n75), that for nearly two centuries previously to the Spanish war of 1796, the average annual amount of the exports had been 300,000l., besides the sales to London and the East India Company, of serges and other articles, which were probably about the same amount. From another source (fn. n76) I am informed, that about the year 1768 the exports of woollens were above a million in value annually, a considerable part of them having been sent to Holland. During the American war there was a great decrease; but after the peace of 1783, the trade revived, and the exports (including the long ells bought by the East India Company) equalled their former amount. When the ports of the Continent were shut against English goods by Buonaparte, the trade of Exeter sustained a most serious injury, from which it has not recovered by the return of peace; and the exports do not now exceed 60,000l. per annum, exclusively of the East India trade, which may be calculated at two hundred thousand pounds.
The manufactures in the city and its immediate vicinity are now of small extent, consisting chiefly of coarse cloths, and employing from 300 to 400 hands. There was, till lately, a considerable manufactory of casimeres and shawls at Exwicke: a large cotton factory in the Wearfield has also been discontinued. Most of the woollen cloths manufactured in the county, the whole of which trade is on a reduced scale, are still exported from Exeter. Manganese also is sent from this port. The chief imports are wine (fn. n77), hemp, tallow, coals, chiefly from Newcastle, and groceries from London. The port of Exeter extends from the southernmost point of Devon, on the east side of Axmouth, to the Ness point at Shaldon.
Vessels of good size had been accustomed to pass up the river to Exebridge, before the disputes between the citizens and the Countess of Devon, about the year 1284, when Countess Weare was constructed: Hugh, Earl of Devon, more effectually destroyed the haven about the year 1313, and made a quay at Topsham. When Leland was in Devonshire, ships came no farther than Topsham; but he observes that the men of Exeter intended to make the haven come up to Exeter itself. The act for making the river navigable, and for making a canal, had indeed then passed (fn. n78); but it appears that the quay at Exeter was not made till 1563: a canal, by which lighters of 15 or 16 tons could come up from Topsham to Exeter, was begun in 1564, but the navigation was not completed before 1580. The navigation of the river was much improved in 1675, the quay levelled and walled, and a new custom-house built. (fn. n79) A MS. diary of occurrences in Exeter, (similar to that of Izacke,) in Mr. Chappie's Collections, under the year 1699, speaks of a water-work for bringing ships to the city, which appears to have been accomplished by the united exertions of the city and neighbourhood. (fn. n80)
The old bridge over the Exe, which had 12 arches, was built in the year 1250, or 1251. Walter Gervis, a wealthy citizen, through whose exertions a large sum was collected for that purpose, and who bequeathed lands for its maintenance, is considered as the founder. Gervis's bridge was swept away by an inundation in 1449, when an indulgence was issued by Bishop Lacy, in aid of its repair. An act of parliament for building a new bridge higher up the river, and for the sale of the bridge-lands to be applied to that purpose, passed in 1769. The first stone of the new bridge was laid Oct. 4. 1770, and the work was in great forwardness when it was destroyed by a flood in 1775: the work commenced again by laying the first stone of another structure, July 8. 1776. The last arch was turned in 1777, and in 1778, the new bridge having been opened, the old bridge was pulled down.
Various improvements, by which the streets of Exeter have been widened, and the avenues to the city opened, have taken place since 1768. For this purpose the Northgate was taken down in 1769; the great conduit at the Carfoix in 1770; the Eastgate in 1784; and the Southgate in 1819. Exeter was first lighted with gas in 18I7.
The city first gave title of Duke to John Holland, so created in 1388; the title having been forfeited, Thomas Beaufort was created Duke of Exeter for life: he died in 1426. The title was restored to the Holland family in 1442; Henry, the last Duke of this family, died in great poverty in 1471. Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, was made Marquis of Exeter in 1525; he was attainted in 1538, restored in 1553, and the title became extinct in 1556. Thomas Cecil was created Earl of Exeter in 1604; his descendant, Henry Cecil, was advanced to the dignity of Marquis of Exeter in 1801, which title his son now enjoys.
Exeter is said to have increased greatly in population in the reign of Athelstan, by the influx of strangers. In King William the Conqueror's time, it appears to have been in some degree depopulated: forty-eight of the houses which paid tax to the King are spoken of in the Domesday survey as in ruins. There was a dreadful famine and pestilence in the city in 1234, 1235, and 1236; and again in the early part of the following century. The pestilence was most fatal in its ravages for several successive years in the middle of that century. In 1373, a destructive mortality is said to have carried off great numbers of the inhabitants which the pestilence had left. In consequence of these circumstances, we are the less able to form any judgment of the comparative population of the city in 1377, when, as it appears by the Subsidy Roll (fn. n81), there were 1560 lay persons in Exeter, above the age of 14, exclusively of mendicants. Fatal pestilences are recorded to have happened in 1378, 1398, 1438, 1479, 1503, and 1546.
We find no mention of the ravages of the sweating sickness at Exeter in 1551, but it is known to have been very fatal in Devonshire, and probably was so in this city. The plague is said to have been very fatal in 1569. In 1586 a terrible sickness, or gaol distemper, broke out at the assizes, which carried off one of the judges, and several of the grand jury, magistrates, and others. It was supposed to have been brought into the gaol by some Portuguese seamen, taken prisoners by Sir Bernard Drake. The plague appears to have been very fatal at Exeter in 1590: it was again very fatal in 1603, in 1624, and 1625; but this city appears to have escaped the great plague of 1665. The small-pox was very prevalent at Exeter in 1777, when out of 1850 who had it in the natural way, 285, rather more than one in seven, died of that fatal distemper: a most striking instance of the calamities which the introduction of vaccination has so happily tended to relieve. According to the census of 1801, there were then in Exeter 2692 inhabited houses, and 17,398 inhabitants; in 1811, 2819 inhabited houses, and 18,896 inhabitants.
It is said by Hoker, that Exeter, from its having abounded with religious houses in the time of the early Saxon kings, was called Monkton, and that Athelstan changed its name to Exanceaster. (fn. n82) We have very slight notices of destroyed monasteries. King Athelstan is said to have founded a convent of Benedictines on the present site of the cathedral, which was soon afterwards deserted for fear of the Danes: King Edgar restored it in 968. It was again deserted and destroyed at the time of Swein's invasion, in 1003: Canute restored it about 1019. To this monastery, which was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Peter, the founder gave what was then esteemed a most valuable collection of reliques, enumerated in the Monasticon: among these were part of Christ's garment, some of the hair of the Virgin Mary, and some of St. Peter's beard. Upon the removal of the Bishop's see to Exeter, this monastery was given, among other possessions, to Leofric the Bishop, and his successors, by Edward the Confessor: the donation was made by that monarch in person, attended by his queen Editha, within the walls of the convent here mentioned. (fn. n83) After this event, the monks are said to have been removed to Westminster, and the buildings were incorporated into the structure of the cathedral. There is said to have been a nunnery on the site of the deanery, of which no particulars are known. Hoker mentions a convent of monks said to have been founded by King Ethelred in 868, but for this there appears no good authority.
The Benedictine priory of St. Nicholas was founded by the abbot of Battle, to whom King William the Conqueror had given the chapel of St. Olave in this city. King John was a great benefactor to it. (fn. n84) King Henry VIII., in 1545, sold the fee or manor of St. Nicholas, extending over part of St. David's hill, &c. &c., to John Haydon, of St. Mary Ottery, and Thomas Gibbs: after some intermediate alienations, this estate was conveyed to the corporation in 1556. The site of the priory was granted, after the Reformation, to Sir Thomas Dennis, by whom it was sold to the city. The corporation disposed of it in parcels before the end of the seventeenth century. The yearly revenue of this monastery was valued, in the reign of Henry VIII. at 147l. 12s.
The most remarkable remain of the conventual buildings is a crypt, with massive Saxon arches, in Mint Lane, which has been converted into a kitchen, now in the occupation of Mr. William Baker. The priory is said to have been demolished by the corporation soon after their purchase of the site, and the materials to have been used for repairing the city walls, and Exebridge. The Roman Catholic chapel, built in 1792, and the Rev. Mr. Oliver's house, stand on part of the site: mutilated monuments, and pieces of carved mouldings, were found in digging the foundations.
The convent of Grey Friers, or Franciscans, which stood originally near the priory of St. Nicholas, is supposed to have been founded about the year 1240. It was removed about 1300 to a place without the walls, beyond the Southgate, given them for that purpose by John Gerveys. (fn. n85)
The church of the first convent was standing so late as the year 1434, when Bishop Lacy granted an indulgence to all true penitents, offering up their prayers in that church. Its stained windows are mentioned in a record of 1421. In 1507, the friers conveyed the site of the ancient convent in Friernhay to the corporation. (fn. n86) The site of the Franciscan convent, as it existed at the time of the dissolution, was granted to Humphrey Rolle. It belonged, some time since, to the Colleton family, now to Admiral Richard Graves. Colleton Crescent has been built on some part of the premises; but the convent is supposed to have stood nearer to the south gate of the city.
The Black, or Dominican friers, had a convent in Exeter. Mr. Oliver supposes it to have been founded by Bishop Blondy, who presided over the see of Exeter from 1244 to 1257. The church, which was dedicated by Bishop Bronscombe in 1259, became the burial-place of some of the principal families of the county, the Raleghs, Martyns, Calwoodleys, &c. Isabella Countess of Devonshire, afterwards married to Oliver Lord Dinham, was buried there in the latter end of the thirteenth century. (fn. n87) The site was granted, after the dissolution, to John Lord Russell, who, before Leland visited Exeter, had "made him a fair place of this house." It was some time the town residence of the Russell family, and after they became Earls of Bedford, acquired the name of Bedford-house. This house has been already noticed as having been the residence of Queen Henrietta Maria, and the birthplace of her daughter, the Duchess of Orleans. Having been long neglected by the family, it was divided into tenements, which were taken down in the year 1773. Bedford Crescent was then built on the site. This crescent, with a small surrounding district, is extraparochial.
The abbots of Tavistock, Buckfastleigh, Tor, Newenham, Dunkeswell, and Hartland, and the prior of Plympton, had town residences in Exeter. (fn. n88)
Upon the union of the two western dioceses of Devonshire and Cornwall, in 1050, the episcopal see, which for the former had been at Crediton, was fixed at Exeter, King Edward the Confessor having given the monastery of Benedictines to the see, to be the site of the new cathedral. The King being present in person, enthroned Leofric, the first Bishop of Exeter in the conventual church with much ceremony. This prelate recovered certain lands which had been taken from the see, and added others of his own gift. The estates belonging to the bishopric were valued, in 1534, at 1566l. 14s. 6d. per annum. This must have been before Bishop Voisey, or Veysey (fn. n89), had begun to alienate: that prelate is said to have spoiled the see of the greater part of its revenues (fn. n90); "of 22 lordships and manors, which his predecessors had, and left unto him, of goodly yearly revenues, he left but three, and those also leased out; and where he found 14 houses well furnished, he left only one house, bare and without furniture, and yet charged with sundry fees and annuities. By these means the bishopric, which was sometimes counted one of the best, is now (says Hoker, who wrote in 1583,) become, in temporal lands, one of the meanest," Bishop Veysey surrendered his bishopric in 1549, but was re-appointed in 1553, and died in 1554, being upwards of 90 years of age. (fn. n91) His successor recovered some part of the lands, and obtained a re-grant of the manor of Crediton in fee-farm; but Bishop Babington again alienated it, about the latter end of Elizabeth's reign.
It appears from Bishop Bronscombe's statutes, and various records in the registers of the see, that from the time of the establishment of the see at Exeter there were 24 prebendaries belonging to the church, who were secular priests; over these the precentor presided: Bishop Brewer, about 1231, appointed a dean. Eight of the prebendaries are residentiaries; and three of these have the offices and titles of Precentor, Chancellor, and Treasurer. There are four priest vicars, and eight lay vicars (fn. n92), besides choristers, &c. &c. An ancient almshouse for 12 poor men and 12 poor women, called Fratres Calendarum, was by Bishop Grandisson, about the middle of the fourteenth century, converted into a college for the vicars choral. It is said that the mansion for their residence was built about the year 1383 (fn. n93), and that they were incorporated as a college in or about the year 1400. (fn. n94) They are said to have been then twenty in number. An account of the ancient constitution, discipline, and usages, of the cathedral church of Exeter, drawn up from the registers, by John Jones, Esq., was read at the Society of Antiquaries, in 1817, and is published in their Transactions. (fn. n95)
From the first establishment of the see at Exeter, there have been sixtyone bishops, who have presided over it. The most eminent of these were, Leofric, who was Lord Chancellor of England; Bartholomew Iscanus, a native of Exeter, as his name imports; Walter Stapeldon, Lord High Treasurer of England, and founder of Stapeldon's Inn, now Exeter College, in Oxford, who was murdered by the rebels in 1327; Bishop Grandisson, a learned writer (fn. n96), and founder of the college of St. Mary Ottery; Bishop Brantingham, Lord High Treasurer; Bishop Stafford, Lord Privy Seal, who completed the foundation of Exeter College; Bishop Neville, remarkable for having been made a bishop before he was twenty-five years of age, and Lord Chancellor before he was twenty-eight; Bishop Fox, several times ambassador to foreign courts, and one of the founders of Corpus Christi College, in Oxford, in conjunction with Bishop Oldham, one of his successors in this see, himself being then Bishop of Winchester; Bishop Coverdale, the translator of the Bible; Bishop Alleigh, or Alley, author of the "Poor Man's Library," and other works (fn. n97); Bishop Woolton, author of the "Scholar's Manual," and other works; the pious Bishop Hall, afterwards Bishop of Norwich; Bishop Sparrow, author of the Rationale, on the Common Prayer; and Sir Jonathan Trelawney, one of the seven bishops imprisoned in 1684. The present bishop is Dr. William Cary, who succeeded the Honourable George Pelham, now Bishop of Lincoln, in 1820.
The bishops are said to have had fourteen houses as belonging to the see before Bishop Veysey's time. Besides the palace at Exeter, we know of Cargol and Cuddenbeck, in Cornwall; Crediton, Bishop's Tawton, Chudleigh, Paignton, Bishop's Morchard, Bishop's Nympton, Bishop's Teignton, and Bishop's Clist, in Devonshire.
In or about the year 1289, Bishop Quivil procured a licence for embattling and fortifying his palace at Exeter. (fn. n98) In 1321, Bishop Stapeldon had a like licence, with permission to surround the close with a wall of stone. (fn. n99) The domestic chapel, which has lancet-shaped windows, was probably a part of Bishop Quivil's palace. In this chapel was a chantry, the office of its priests having been to celebrate a perpetual obit for the bishops. There was formerly a prison connected with the palace for convicted and scandalous clergymen. (fn. n100)
During Cromwell's time, the palace was sold to a sugar-refiner, who carried on his business there till the Restoration; vestiges of it were found on making some alterations at the palace in February, 1821. Bishop Seth Ward repaired and refitted the palace at a great expense after the Restoration.
Among the deans of Exeter are to be found the names of Richard Pace, a learned divine and politician, in the reign of Henry VII.; Cardinal Pole, the learned Dr. Sutcliffe, founder of the Polemical College, at Chelsea, in the reign of James I.; Dr. Wake, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury; Dr. Lyttelton, and his immediate successor, Dr. Milles, both eminent antiquaries of the eighteenth century. Dr. Francis Godwin, Bishop of Hereford, who wrote the "Lives of the Bishops," was some time sub-dean of Exeter.
Among the ancient customs of this church, was a singular one of riding in procession on the vigil of St. Peter; and that of electing a bishop of the boys out of the choristers on St. Nicholas' Day. In the inventory of vestments belonging to the church in 1327 appears, una parva tunica pro episcopo puerorum. Dean Lyttelton gives good reasons for supposing, that this lastmentioned custom was more general than it has been usually esteemed.
Hoker supposes the lady's chapel of the cathedral to stand on the site of the Benedictine convent; and the deanery on that of the ancient nunnery before mentioned. The chapel of St. Michael, spoken of in ancient deeds, was in the deanery. The royal visit to the palace and deanery have been already spoken of. There are some good portraits in the deanery: under that of William III. is a quotation from Claudian, applicable to his prosperous expedition to England.
The bishop's palace, the deanery, the cathedral, the houses of the prebendaries, and all others connected with the cathedral, to whose residence it was formerly exclusively appropriated, are situated within a district called the Close. This district, pursuant to an agreement between the mayor and corporation, was separated from the city by walls and gates. The agreement was made about the year 1286. The walls have long ago been taken down, and houses erected upon the site: it had seven gates, of which one only is now remaining; most of the others have been lately removed. The district of the Close is exempt from the jurisdiction of the corporation.
Bishop Warlewast, who was appointed to the see of Exeter in 1107, is supposed to have been the first prelate who began to enlarge the old conventual church: the towers are, by Sir Henry Englefield, with much probability, ascribed to him. The cathedral having suffered much by fire, during King Stephen's siege of the city (fn. n101), the repairs were carried on by Bishop Chichester, and his three immediate successors. It is supposed to have been completed by Bishop Marshall, about the year 1200.
To Bishop Quivil, who was promoted to the see in 1280, the design of the present elegant and magnificent fabric is attributed: this bishop fitted up the interior of the two old transepts, and put in the pointed windows. The work was carried on by his successors, Bishops Button, Stapeldon, and Grandisson. The last-mentioned bishop finished the choir: indeed, it appears by his letters, that when he came to the see, he found the greater part of the fabric unfinished: in 1328, he states, that nearly half was completed. The vaulted roof is supposed to have been finished by this munificent prelate, who built for himself a small monumental chapel at the north-west corner. Bishop Brantingham is supposed to have built the west front and the cloisters; the latter were finished by Bishop Stafford. The chapterhouse was begun by Bishop Lacy, and finished by Bishop Bothe. Sir Harry Englefield thinks it probable that this was part of Quivil's design, as well as the cloisters; although neither of them might have been completed till many years after his death. The east window was finished by Bishop Neville. (fn. n102) The beauty of the cloisters was destroyed in Cromwell's time, when all their rich ornaments were defaced, and they were converted into a serge market. After the Restoration, they were repaired in a plain style, and they have lately been wholly removed. Between the south tower and the chapter-house is the ancient chapel of the Holy Ghost. The whole internal length of the cathedral is about 390 feet; its breadth about 76 feet; and the height to the vaulted roof 69 feet. It was built of stone, chiefly from Beer and Silverton: the columns are of Purbeck marble.
In the south tower are eleven bells: the tenor given by Bishop Grandisson is said to weigh 2000lbs. more than any other of that description in England; but its comparative weight appears to have been over-rated. (fn. n103) The great bell given by Bishop Peter Courtenay is heavier than any in England, excepting the great bell at Christ Church, in Oxford: it is somewhat heavier than that at St. Paul's; and 1700lbs. heavier than the great bell at Lincoln. (fn. n104) The lady's chapel was converted into a library, at the expense of Dr. Vilvaine, in 1657. Among other improvements now in progress, the library has been removed from this chapel, and is to be placed in the chapterhouse. The south front of Bishop Bronscombe's monument, and the north front of Bishop Stafford's rich monument, have been laid open to view; and two monuments of the early bishops, supposed to have been those of Bishop Bartholomew Iscanus, and Bishop Simon de Apulia. The wooden screen behind the altar has lately been removed, and its place supplied by a stone screen, of Gothic architecture, designed by Mr. Kendall.
At the entrance of the lady's chapel are tablets for Dr. Vilvaine, founder of the library (ob. 1662); James Raillard, 1692; and Lieutenant Rice, R.N., son of John Rice, Esq., of Tooting, in Surrey, 1808. Within the chapel are the two ancient monuments of bishops, spoken of above; the monuments of Bishops Bronscombe and Stafford; and those of Sir John Doderidge (fn. n105) and his lady, with their effigies, he being habited in his judge's robes, and she in a ruff, farthingale, &c. The judge died in 1628, his lady, (daughter of Sir Amias Bampfylde,) in 1614. In St. Mary Magdalen's chapel, on the north side of the library, is a monument, on the north wall, for some of the Carew family, the inscription and dates imperfect. (fn. n106) The monument of Bishop Stafford is seen on the south side of this chapel; in which are also the monuments of Elizabeth, wife of John Barret (no date); Matthew Godwin, bachelor of music, with the kneeling effigies of a youth, 1586; John Bidgood (fn. n107), M. D., 1690; Basil William Lord Daer, son of the Earl of Selkirk, with his bust by Chantry, 1794; Bryan Blundell, Esq., LieutenantColonel of the 45th regiment of foot, and Major-General in the army (fn. n108), 1799; Lieut.-General Thomas Bruce, Colonel of the 16th regiment of foot, and uncle of the Earl of Elgin, 1797; and William Erskine, Major of the 71st regiment of foot, and younger son of John Erskine, Esq., of Cardross, 1805. On the floor are the grave-stones of William Langton, canon residentiary, 1413; Peter Foulkes, D. D., canon residentiary, 1747; and Peter Foulkes, M. A., prebendary, 1778.
In the chapel of St. Gabriel, on the south side of the Lady's chapel, is seen one side of Bishop Bronscombe's monument: at the east end, is a very handsome monument by Flaxman, in memory of Lieutenant-General John Graves Simcoe, who died in 1806. (fn. n109) This monument has the bust of the deceased in white marble, and two upright figures in the manner of supporters, representing an English soldier, and an American warrior with his hatchet. In this chapel are monuments also of Sir John Gilbert and his lady, (daughter of Sir Richard Chudleigh,) with their effigies (no date) (fn. n110); Edmund Davie, M. D., (with his bust,) 1692; and Martha, daughter of Gasper Radcliffe, Esq., wife of the Rev. John Fursman, (with busts,) 1727. There are grave-stones, also, inscribed to the memory of Martin Lercedekne, canon, 1433; John Northleigh, M. D., 1704; John Northleigh, Esq., 1726; Ann, relict of Sir Francis Northcote, Bart., (daughter of Sir Christopher Wrey, and grand-daughter of Bourchier, Earl of Bath,) 1729–30; Ann, daughter of Bishop Blackall, married first to William Holwell, Esq., and afterwards to Peter Foulkes, Esq., ob. 1783; and Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Clutton, 1806.
In the choir are the monuments of Bishops Marshall, Stapeldon (fn. n111), Lacy, Bradbridge, and Wolton. (fn. n112) Behind the altar are the monuments of Dr. Nicholas Hall, treasurer, 1709; the Rev. George Baker, archdeacon of Totnes, 1772; Robert Harvey, Esq., of Grenada, 1791; William Buller, D. D., Bishop of Exeter, 1796; Susan, wife of Joseph Bealey, M. D., 1798; and Rachel Charlotte, wife of Captain E. J. O'Brien, and daughter of Joseph Frobisher, Esq., who was burnt to death at the age of nineteen, in rescuing her infant from the flames, 1800. There are memorials also for John Fulford, archdeacon of Cornwall, 1518; James Lake, canon, 1678; and Bampfylde Chafin, Esq., of Chettle, Dorsetshire, 1644; Rear-Admiral Matthew Whitwell, 1789; James Wallace, Esq., Attorney-General, 1783; and Anne, wife of Rear-Admiral Edward Thornborough, and daughter of Edward Le Cras, Esq. 1801.
In Speke's chapel, near the east end of the north aisle of the choir, is the monument of Sir John Speke, of White Lackington, in Somersetshire; in this chapel is a memorial for Dorothy, second wife of William Cary, Esq., of Clovelly, daughter of Sir Edward Gorges, and grand-daughter of Sir George Speke, 1622.
In the north aisle is the monument of a knight, which is supposed, but apparently without any particular reason, to be that of Sir Robert Stapeldon, who was murdered with his brother the bishop, in 1326. There are the monuments also of Dr. Valentine Cary, Bishop of Exeter, (a cenotaph with the effigies of the bishop in his robes, the hands elevated,) 1626; Anthony Harvey, Esq., 1564; Robert Hall, son of Bishop Hall, 1667; John Grant, fifty-nine years vicar of St. Dunstan's in the East, and forty-four years prebendary of Rochester, 1736; Elizabeth, wife of his son, John Grant, canon residentiary, and daughter of Bishop Weston (by Scheemakers); Miss Henrietta Wilhelmina Wyander Piers, sister of Sir William Pigott Piers, Bart., 1764; Edward Drewe, Esq., barrister-at-law, 1793; Rev. Richard Hole (fn. n113), rector of Farringdon and Inwardleigh, 1803; Lady Mary Catherine, daughter of the Earl of Abergavenny, and wife of Peter Myers, Esq., 1807; Henry Seymour, Esq., of Northbrook, Devon, M. P., (with a sarcophagus,) 1807; George Moore, archdeacon of Cornwall, 1807; John Smyth, D. D., master of Pembroke College, in Oxford, 1809; and Anne Eliza, daughter of Sir Henry Edwin Stanhope, Bart., 1819. There are grave-stones in this aisle, with memorials for Martin Parys, canon, 1438; Richard Helier, canon and archdeacon of Cornwall, 1446; William Fylham, archdeacon and canon, 1454; Henry Webber, dean of Exeter, 1476; Thomas Barrett, fifty years archdeacon of Exeter, 1633; Robert Peterson, archdeacon of Cornwall, 1633; Maurentius Burnell, D. D., chaplain to King James I. and Charles I., 1647; Thomas Vilvaine, Gent., 1652; Thomas Shapcote, 1665; Richard Mervin, canon residentiary, 1669; John Snell, canon residentiary, 1679; John Snell, Esq., 1717; Edward Drewe, archdeacon of Cornwall, and canon residentiary, 1714; Edward Drewe, Esq., barrister-at-law, 1787; Nicholas Kendall, archdeacon of Totnes, 1739; Lieutenant-colonel Samuel Edham, 1765; Samuel Killet, Esq., 1766; and the Honourable Felicia Jemima Lygon, 1813.
In St. Andrew's chapel, now called the Canons' Vestry, are the tombs of William Parkehouse, canon residentiary, 1540; and Elize, or Elizæus Hele, with whose ample benefactions, left to charitable purposes, some excellent foundations have been established in Exeter, Plympton, and Plymouth: he died in 1635, and Alice, his widow, in 1636.
In the south aisle of the choir are the effigies of two crusaders, one of whom is said to have been of the Chichester family, and the other that of Humphry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford. There are in this aisle the monuments of Bishop Cotton, with his effigies recumbent, ob. 1620; Edward Cotton, his grandson, canon residentiary, (with his bust,) 1675; Bishop Weston, 1741; William Weston, Esq., his youngest son, 1773; Bishop Lavington, 1762; Bishop Ross, 1792; Dorothy, wife of Robert Bennet, of Halmston, and daughter of Edward Bennet, Esq., of Hexworthy, in Cornwall, 1736; the Rev. George Nutcombe, LL.B., 1769; the Rev. Nutcombe Nutcombe, chancellor, 1809; Thomas Skinner, LL.D., archdeacon of Totnes, 1789; William Norris, Esq., of Nonsuch, 1794; Laura, daughter of Bishop Keppel, and wife of George Lord Southampton, 1798; Anne, relict of Bishop Buller, 1800; Sarah Price Clarke, heiress of Godfrey Clarke, Esq., of Sutton Hall, in Derbyshire, 1801; Stephen William Corneck, Esq., 1802; the Rev. John Barton, prebendary of Canterbury, 1803; Louisa, wife of Henry Harford, Esq., 1803; Diana, wife of Sir William Milner, Bart., and daughter of Humphrey Ashly Sturt, Esq., 1805; William Bacon, Esq., of Durham, 1810; Charles Warde Orde, of the 9th Light Dragoons, 1810; Charlotte, wife of Charles Edward Pigou, Esq., and daughter of Sir Richard Rycroft, Bart., 1813; William Kellett Hewitt, Esq., of Jamaica, 1813; and Elizabeth, wife of John Daubeny, LL.D., daughter of Joseph Fortescue, Esq., 1814.
There are inscribed grave-stones in this aisle in memory of John Cokworthy, canon, 1433; Richard More, archdeacon of Exeter, treasurer and canon, 1512; William Bruton, Esq., 1608; George Curson, merchant, 1669; Hugh Trevelyan, Esq., of Yearnscombe, 1676; Stephen Weston, Esq., 1760; Elizabeth, daughter of William Oxenham, and wife of William Northmore, Esq., and afterwards of Stephen Weston, 1794; Julian, daughter of Sir John Davie, Bart., 1797; and Henry Francis Arbouin, Esq., 1803.
In the north transept, under St. Paul's tower, are the monuments of Captain Dollen, (with a bust,) 1700; Elizabeth Banks Hartopp, daughter of Sir Edmund Cradock Hartopp, Bart., 1814; Sarah, daughter of the Rev. Richard Twopeny, 1817; the Right Honourable John Leslie, Viscount Newark, 1818; and Caroline Draper, wife of Ponsonby Tottenham, Esq., of Clifton, Gloucestershire, 1818; the tombs of William Sylke, sub-chanter, in a little chantry chapel founded by him, ob. 1485; and grave-stones inscribed to the memory of Robert Lower, canon, 1430; Philip Shapcote, Esq., 1664; Captain Thomas Geoghegan, 1694; John Ballyman, M. D., 1743; General Alexander Mercer, Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Engineers, 1816; and Augusta Jane, daughter of Major-General Sir Charles Holloway, 1817. In St. Paul's chapel, now called the vicar's vestry, is the tomb of William Pulton, residentiary and secretary to King Henry V., and an inscribed grave-stone for Richard Gilbert, canon, son of Otho Gilbert, Esq., 1524.
In the south transept are tombs erected in memory of Bishop Leofric and Bishop Osbert: hither have been removed part of the monument of Bishop Woolton, and that of Sir Peter Carew (fn. n114), (with kneeling figure,) 1575. On the west wall is the monument of Harriot, wife of John Sweetland, Esq., 1813. There are grave-stones inscribed to the memory of Richard Lodge, Esq., 1705; Captain Jerom Roch, 1711; Tobias Langdon, master of music, and prebendary of Bodmin, in Cornwall, 1712; and Captain Joshua Rowley Watson, R. N., 1818. In St. Margaret's chapel is the monument of Eleanor, widow of Joseph Martin, Esq., M. P., 1812.
In the nave are the tombs of Hugh Earl of Devon, and Sir Peter Courtenay. (fn. n115) On the walls are the monuments of Margaret, wife of Irenæus Moe, Esq., 1770; Catherine Estridge Buncombe, of the island of Barbadoes, 1772; Thomas Call, Esq., Lieutenant-colonel, and chief engineer on the Bengal establishment, 1788; Richard Hereford, Esq., brother of Sir James Hereford, of Sutton Court, Herefordshire, 1798; Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of Charles Howard, Esq., of Northumberland, 1795; T. Okes, M. D., 1797; Mary, relict of Arthur William Irvine, Lieutenant-colonel of the York Hussars, (who died at St. Domingo in 1796,) and daughter of John Williams, Esq., 1801; John Atkinson Rudman, only son of James Rudman, Esq., of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, æt. 21., 1805; Christopher Turner Johnson, surgeon, and anatomical lecturer to the West of England Eye Infirmary, 1811; and William Herbert Russell, Esq., of Slaughter Court, Worcestershire, 1819. There are grave-stones inscribed to the memory of David Hopton, archdeacon of Exeter, and canon of Sarum and Hereford, 1491; John Mogrige, canon, 1524; Richard Manchester, canon, 1541; Roger Dene, Esq., of Newton Petrock, 1616; John Bury, canon residentiary, 1667; Thomas Mayow, M. D., 1679; John Loosemore, the ingenious artist who constructed the fine organ of this church (fn. n116), ob. 1682; Nathaniel Clarke, Esq., 1765; John Edward Jennings, Cornet in the Light Dragoons, second son of Sir Philip Jennings Clerke, Bart., 1779; Camilla Anabella, wife of Edward Cary, Esq., 1780; Catherine, daughter of John Fownes, Esq., of Netheway, 1794; William Sloane, Esq., of the island of Tobago, 1797; Samuel Oxenham, Gent., 1800; several of the family of Webber, (the earliest is that of Nicholas Webber, registrar in the reign of Charles II.; the latest, Francis Webber, Esq., 1807); Loftus Otway Bland, Captain R. N., 1810; Lieutenant-General Skerrett, 1813; Captain Michael Dod, R. N., 1814; Edmund Dod, Admiral of the White, 1815; Arthur Puckey, Esq., of Liskeard, 1817; and William Stacpoole, of Countess Weare Lodge, 1817.
The following memorials are printed amongst others in Mr. Polwhele's History of Devon; some of these are on the authority of Prince, and I do not find any of them now legible. Jasper Swift, archdeacon of Totnes, 1619; Walter Travers, M. A., 1646; Nicholas Isaac, Esq., 1678; William Bruton, Esq., 1608; William Bruton, Esq., his son, 1661; Laurence Bodley, canon residentiary, 1615; Nicholas Henshaw, canon residentiary, 1614; John Lake, canon residentiary, 1678; and Nicholas Duck, Esq., barrister at law, 1628.
It appears from the Chantry Roll in the Augmentation-office, that previously to the year 1547 there had been 21 chantries in the cathedral of Exeter, founded by the bishops and others. (fn. n117) In the church-yard was a carnary, or charnell chapel, built by John the Treasurer. (fn. n118)
In the civil war, the cathedral was divided into two churches, called East Peter and West Peter, by a brick wall, which cost 150l. The cloisters having been purchased by the city, were converted into a serge market in 1657: all the tomb-stones were removed and given to the families to whom they belonged. (fn. n119) The old pulpit, which was of stone and painted, was taken down in 1684. (fn. n120)
Within the walls of Exeter are the parishes of St. Lawrence, St. Stephen, St. Petrock, St. Olave, and St. John, the churches of which are all in Fore Street; St. Martin and St. Mary Major, the churches of which are in the close; Allhallows, in Goldsmith Street; St. Paul, St. Pancras, St. Kerrian, St. Mary Arches, St. Mary Steps, St. Edmund, St. George, and the Holy Trinity. In the thirteenth century there were also the churches of St. James, St. Cuthbert (fn. n121), and St. John. The latter was united to that of St. Lawrence by Bishop Quivil.
In the church of St. Lawrence are the monuments of Hugh Vaughan, Esq. (no date); Edward Bradford, schoolmaster, 1679; Nathaniel Sprigg Jeffery, Esq., 1782; and Henry Stoner, Esq., 1802. The church of St. Lawrence was formerly appropriated to the hospital of St. John in Exeter. There were, in ancient times, two chapels in this parish, dedicated to St. Bartholomew and the Holy Trinity.
The shoemakers' fraternity, some time before the Reformation, paid a stipend of 5l. 19s. per annum to a priest for officiating in Trinity chapel. (fn. n122) This chapel is said to have been converted into a grammar-school, by the dean and chapter in 1445: it was afterwards united to the free grammarschool in St. John's hospital. Trinity chapel, which had been repaired and enlarged by Dr. Musgrave in 1694 and 1711, has since been converted into a dwelling-house. The King is patron of St. Lawrence. The hospital and chapel of St. John (fn. n123) are in this parish; adjoining to which is the extraparochial district of Bradninch, in the outskirts of the castle, held under the duchy of Cornwall.
The parish church of St. Stephen, which had been desecrated and made a garrison in 1657 (fn. n124), was rebuilt in 1664. In this church are the monuments of George Potter, merchant, 1667; James Rodd, Esq. of Bedford-house, 1678; James Rodd, Esq., of Weare, 1693; Elizabeth, wife of Robert Hedges, Esq., 1695; Thomas Bolithoe, Esq., 1753; Charlotte, daughter of William Northey, Esq., of Box, Wilts, 1789; and William Jackson (fn. n125), the celebrated musical composer, 1803. On the floor is a grave-stone inscribed to the memory of Bartholomew Parr, M. D., 1810. The Bishop of Exeter is patron of the rectory. Adjoining to this parish is Bedford precinct, already spoken of.
In the church of St. Petrock are monuments, or inscribed grave-stones, in memory of William Martyn, mayor, 1609, and others of his family; Francis Worth, Esq., 1675; Alexander Worth, Esq., 1680; John Mayne, merchant; William Hooper, merchant, 1682, and his wife, (a heavy monument with busts); Theodore Sheere, surgeon, 1782; and Ralph Tarrant, M. A., prebendary and rector, 1798. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory. To the west of St. Petrock's church is an ancient mansion, which, in 1504, belonged to Thomas Elyot, Esq.
The parish-church of St. Olave is an ancient building: it was given to Battle Abbey by William the Conqueror. This church has been usually held by sequestration with St. Mary Arches. The benefice being of small value was many years without an incumbent, and the church shut up. Being in this state, the use of it was granted, after the edict of Nantes, to the French refugees; and till the year 1758, Divine service was performed for their accommodation in the French language. It was then shut up again, and the interior went to decay; but it has of late years been repaired, and was opened for Divine service again in 1815. In this church are monuments of John Acland, 1646; Margery, wife of Arthur Duck, and daughter of Acland, 1695; Mr. John Ley, 1805; and Samuel Angier, Esq., 1806. The dean and chapter are patrons.
In this parish are the remains of St. Nicholas's priory, and adjoining to it St. Bartholomew's burying ground; in which, among others, is a monument in memory of Captain Nicholas Vaughan, muster-master of the trained bands, who was treacherously slain by a shot from a window at Dunsford in 1642. In this ground lie the remains of Mr. Andrew Brice, author of the Topographical Dictionary, &c.
In the parish-church of St. John de Arcubus, or Bow, is the monument of Sir Benjamin Oliver, Knight (fn. n126), 1672. This church was formerly appriated to the priory of Plympton. It is a small rectory, in the gift of the crown, and had been held under sequestration with St. George for more than a century previously to the year 1814. Tuckers' hall, in this parish, was formerly a chapel, built by the fraternity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in 1523. It now belongs to the incorporated company of weavers and fullers: the under room is used as a school for the sons of freemen, who are instructed in writing and arithmetic; on the upper story are the company's hall, and apartments for the schoolmaster, who has a salary of 15l. per annum.
In the church of St. Martin (fn. n127) are monuments of Thomas Spicer, Esq. (no date); Judith, daughter of Thomas Spicer, Esq., and widow of Thomas Wakeman, 1643; Winifred, daughter of Sir Richard Prideaux, of Theoborough, wife of Edward Butler, merchant, 1673; William Holwell, M.D., 1707; William Holwell, Esq., 1737; and a large heavy monument in memory of William Hooper, merchant, 1715, with the effigies of the deceased in a kneeling posture. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory, which is united to St. Pancras: in this parish was the ancient chapel of St. Peter, disused before 1265.
In the church of St. Mary Major, or the More, are the monuments of John Webb, Esq., 1676; Theophilus Blackall, prebendary and rector, (grandson of Bishop Blackall,) 1781; and William Carson, Esq., of Charlestown, Carolina, 1811. At the west end of the nave is a tablet in memory of Mr. William Chapple, the antiquary, (1781,) and his family. Mr. Polwhele has given the inscriptions (now become illegible) on the monuments of John Peter, a great benefactor to the poor (no date); Thomas Tooker, 1640; and Nicholas Hele, M. D., 1696. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory.
In the church of Allhallows, in Goldsmith Street, are the monuments of —Loveday, daughter of Christopher Bellot, of Bochim, in Cornwall, who died of the small-pox in 1711; Bridget, her sister, wife of Sampson Hele, merchant, who died of the small-pox in 1719. (Four other of her sisters had fallen victims to this fatal malady in the months of February and March, 1717.) On the floor is a grave-stone in memory of Thomas Westlake, Gent., 1666. This small rectory has been usually held by the rector of St. Stephen in sequestration.
In the parish-church of St. Paul is a handsome marble monument in memory of Sir Edward Seaward, Knight, March, 1703–4. There are monuments of Jurgen Hachmeester, Gent., 1762; Ann, daughter of Courtenay, relict of John Gilbert, Esq., of Compton, 1775; Amy, relict of Pomeroy Gilbert, Esq., 1786; John Codrington, Esq., 1801; Maria, his only surviving child, wife of Bartholomew Parr, M. D., 1803; and Richard Langdon, B. M., 1803. On the floor is a grave-stone in memory of Archibald Balneavis, Esq., 1794. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory. In this parish is the Taylors' hall, given by Mrs. Tuckfield to that corporation in 1568.
The church of St. Pancras has been long disused, except occasionally for baptisms, marriages, and burials. Some memorials of the Kelly family are visible on the floor; John Kelly, 1727; John Kelly, Esq., 1767, &c. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory. Within the present site of the Guildhall, which building is in this parish, was formerly a chapel of St. George.
The church of St. Kerrian, which had been long disused, was begun to be rebuilt in 1818. In this church is a monument of Jonathan Ivie, 1717, with a bas-relief of the Resurrection. The benefice has been usually held in sequestration by the rector of St. Petrock.
In the parish-church of St. Mary Arches is an ancient monument, with the recumbent effigies of a female, who, by the arms, appears to have been of the Andrews family: the style is that which prevailed about the time of Henry VII. There are the monuments also of Mr. John Davie, 1611; Thomas Walker, Esq. (fn. n128), 1628; Robert Walker, 1673; Thomas Walker, Esq., 1682; Nicholas Brooking, Esq., 1666; Christopher Lethbridge, Esq., 1670; and Richard Crossing, Esq., 1682. At the west end are some grave-stones of the family of Gibbs (ancestors of the late Chief Justice Sir Vicary Gibbs), John Gibbs, Esq., 1726; John Gibbs, Esq., 1746; &c. The Bishop of Exeter is patron of the rectory. Dr. Richard Walker, author of the Sufferings of the Clergy, was presented to this benefice in 1704.
There are no monuments in the churches of St. Mary Steps, or St. Edmund on the Bridge. (fn. n129) On the outside of the former are three figures (fn. n130), which strike the hours and the quarters. The centre figure is intended for King Henry VIII.; this figure bends forwards its body when the clock strikes the hours: the two attendants have javelins in their hands which strike the quarters. This is the only benefice in the city which is in private patronage; the present patron is the Rev. William Carwithen. It is a small living, and has been generally held in sequestration by the rector of St. Edmund's, which is in the gift of the corporation. The manor of Exeland, or Exe-island, is in this parish: this manor was granted by William the Conqueror to Baldwin de Brioniis, and was held by him as parcel of the barony of Oakhampton. Having descended with that barony to the Courtenays, it fell to the crown by the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter in 1538, and was granted in 1549, or 1550, to the corporation as a mark of royal favour, for the brave defence which the citizens had made against the rebels in the preceding year. (fn. n131) The mayor and corporation are patrons of the rectory. A small almshouse for three poor persons, at the east end of the bridge, was founded in 1520 by John Moor and Bartholomew Fortescue, Esq., but it does not appear to have had any endowment.
In the church of St. George are the monuments of Thomas Baron, Esq. some time mayor (with his bust), 1708; Richard Vivian, merchant, (with his bust) 1708, four of his sons died in the month of September, 1729. There are inscribed grave-stones to the memory of Thomas, son of Sir Thomas Bury, Knight, 1692; and Richard, son of Richard Spurway, of Oakford, 1716. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory.
In the old parish-church of the Holy Trinity, which adjoined to the south gate, were the monuments of John Wyse, merchant, 1686; Nicholas Wyse, Esq., his son, 1745; Mary, his only daughter, wife of John Deedes, Esq., 1712; William Brabazon Wye, Esq., commander of a Falmouth packet, 1812; Peter Radford, Esq., surgeon, 1815; and Charles Cheetham, Esq., of Stayley Bridge Lane, 1817. The church was taken down in 1819, and having been rebuilt, was opened for Divine service Dec. 24th, 1820. The dean and chapter are patrons of the rectory. There is said to have been an ancient chapel in Rock Lane, on the site of which dwelling houses have been built: this was the chapel of Bonville's almshouses. The ancient South gate, near Trinity church, in which was the city prison, was taken down in 1819, and a prison for debtors and felons built near the avenue leading from North Street to Northernhay.
The church of Allhallows on the wall, which had been some time in a ruinous state, was taken down when the new bridge was built. This small benefice is held by sequestration, and has generally been united with St. John and St. George.
There are numerous places of religious worship in Exeter, besides those belonging to the establishment. The Jews have a synagogue in the parish of St. Mary Arches; the Roman Catholic chapel occupies the site of St. Nicholas's priory in the Mint, being in the same parish; the Quakers have a meeting in Magdalen Street, in Trinity parish; the old Presbyterian meeting-house, now disused, is nearly adjoining. The Particular Baptists have a meeting in the parish of St. Mary Major. The present meeting-house of the Presbyterians (fn. n132), in the parish of Trinity, is a handsome building, erected in 1760. The meeting-house of the Independents is on the site of the old gaol, in the parish of St. Lawrence. The Wesleyan methodists occupy the old meeting-house of the seceding Presbyterians in Musgrave Lane, which they have enlarged and nearly rebuilt. The Calvinistic methodists, in Mr. Whitfield's connection, have a meetinghouse in Rock Lane, in the parish of St. Mary Major, and the followers of Mr. Baring, another in the parish of Allhallows on the wall.
It appears by the return, made to Mr. Daniel Neale, author of the History of the Puritans (fn. n133), that in 1715 there were three Presbyterian meetings at Exeter, one of Independents, and one of Baptists. In the early part of the last century, a great controversy arose among the dissenters of Exeter, which spread over a great part of the kingdom. Having been referred to the London ministers, it created a great division, and gave rise to an incredible number of controversial pamphlets. The point in controversy was the doctrine of the Trinity. Mr. Pearce and Mr. Hallet having embraced the doctrines of Arianism, were ejected by their congregation, and in the event, opened a new meeting-house in the Mint in the year 1719. Ten pamphlets in this controversy were written by Mr. Pearce, who was author of many other controversial tracts, and some philosophical works: he was esteemed one of the chief champions of the dissenters in his day. Mr. Pearce died in 1726. In the Mint meeting-house was a monument to his memory, since removed to the George meeting-house. In his epitaph, he is called "a rational, judicious, and sagacious interpreter of the Holy Scriptures, a singular lover of truth, a courageous sufferer for maintaining the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ, and for asserting the liberty of Christians." Mr. Hallet, his coadjutor, who died in 1744, wrote upon the Scriptures; upon our Saviour's miracles; and several controversial tracts, some of which were directed against the infidel writers of his day. The late David Williams, of latitudinarian principles, founder of the literary fund, was some time, in the early part of his life, one of the pastors of this meeting.
The congregations were afterwards united, and the late eminent and worthy divine Micaiah Towgood was many years one of the pastors. He was first settled at Exeter in 1749. When a dissenting academy was established at this place in 1760, he read lectures on the scriptures. In 1782, he resigned the pastoral charge, upon which occasion a silver vase was presented to him by his congregation, with a sum of money to defray the expences of publishing a complete edition of his works. This last offer he declined, but in his 84th year published an address to the society on the grounds of their faith. He died in 1792, in the 92d year of his age. His works, political and controversial, were numerous: among other topics, he wrote in defence of infant baptism. His pamphlet, entitled a Dissenting Gentleman's Letter, is held in high estimation by the dissenters. The Mint meeting-house was given up about the year 1810.
Of late years, such changes have taken place among the dissenters, that it is extremely difficult to distinguish them by appropriate denominations: this chiefly refers to the Presbyterians and Independents. Indeed the circumstances which distinguished these two great bodies of the dissenters have long ceased to exist, and the terms, though retained by Adams in his "History of Religions," and still used in conversation, are become obsolete and improper. The congregations, which were Presbyterian, have all long ceased to be governed by a Presbytery. Most of these congregations have become strictly Unitarians, or, as they have been sometimes called, Humanitarians, whilst others believe in the pre-existence of our Saviour, and are more properly to be called Arians. A few of those which were the old independent congregations, are also Unitarians; but by far the greater part are Calvinists; and here arises a fresh difficulty, that several new congregations which originated from the people generally called Methodists, but not belonging to any of the regular connections of that body, style themselves Independent Calvinists. I was not aware of these circumstances before a considerable part of the volume was printed; in the subsequent part of it, I shall mention the congregations in each parish, as they existed in 1715, with such notice of their present state as I shall have been able to procure.
Among eminent natives of Exeter may be reckoned, Bartholomew Iscanus, Bishop of Exeter, who wrote a life of Guy Earl of Warwick; Joseph Iscanus, who wrote a poem on the Trojan war, spoken of by Camden and Warton, as a writer of the greatest eminence; Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, the patron of Giraldus Cambrensis; Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cardinal; John Hoker, the chronicler, and historian of Exeter, (born about 1524); Sir Thomas Bodley, (1544); William Tucker, Dean of Litchfield, who wrote upon the king's evil, the church fabrick, &c., (born about 1550); William Martyn, Recorder of Exeter, the historian, (1562); Dr. Barkham, Dean of Bocking, a learned antiquary, herald, and historian, whose heraldic and historic works came before the public under the names of Gwillim and Speed, (1572); Sir Simon Baskerville, an eminent physician and anatomist, (1573); William Hakewill, a learned lawyer, who wrote on the liberty of the subject; his brother, the learned Dr. George Hakewill, some time chaplain to Prince Charles, but dismissed for his zealous opposition to the marriage with the Infanta, author of a popular work on the Providence of God, (born 1579); John Reinolds, author of "God's Revenge against Murder," &c.; Sir William Morice, Secretary of State to King Charles II., (1602); Matthew Lock, the celebrated musical composer; Thomas Long, a controversial writer among the Separatists, (1621); Sir Bartholomew Shower, an eminent lawyer and reporter; his brother, John Shower, an eminent dissenting divine, author of several religious treatises, (1657); Thomas Yalden, the poet, (1671); Simon Ockley, the learned orientalist and professor of Arabic at Cambridge, author of the "History of the Saracens," of a Norfolk family, but, from accidental circumstances, born at Exeter, in 1678; Dr. Richard Walker, author of the "Sufferings of the Clergy,"; Joseph Hallett, the dissenting divine already mentioned, (1692); Dr. John Foster, an eminent dissenting preacher, complimented by Pope for his pulpit oratory, who wrote in defence of the Christain revelation against Tindall, (1697); Andrew Brice, the printer, who published the Topographical Dictionary; William Jackson, the celebrated musical composer, already mentioned, (1730); Samuel Walker, author of "Sermons," "Discourses on the Catechism," &c., 1714; Richard Hole, before mentioned (fn. n134); the late Chief Justice, Sir Vicary Gibbs; and the well-known enthusiast, Joanna Southcote.
Robert Pullein, who came from Exeter in the reign of Henry I., and probably was a native of this place, acquired great fame by his lectures on the Scriptures at Oxford, and was reputed the reviver of learning in that university: he was afterwards sent for to Rome, and made a Cardinal by Pope Celestine II. (fn. n135)
The most ancient hospital now existing at Exeter, and perhaps altogether the most ancient foundation of the kind, if we except the Fratres Calendarum (fn. n136), suppressed by Bishop Grandisson, is that of St. Mary Magdalen, in the parish of the Holy Trinity, without the south gate; founded long before the year 1163, when certain privileges were granted to it by Bishop Bartholomew Iscanus. The bishop's charter speaks of it as an old establishment, which had of long time been entitled to certain tolls, and possessed lands and rents amounting to 2l. 3s. 4d. per annum. The number of lepers was confined to thirteen, and they were restrained from going into the city. The corporation were made patrons of this hospital in 1244. Izacke relates, that Richard Orenge, mayor of the city in 1454, descended of noble foreign parentage, being afflicted with leprosy, submitted to the good pleasure of Almighty God, and was contented to dwell among the lazars at the Magdalen, where he ended his days. Leland speaks of this hospital as being inhabited by sick people in his time. There are six small houses on the site, not contiguous, inhabited by poor persons, appointed by the corporation. The chapel, which was dedicated by Bishop Brewer, still remains, but has long been desecrated. Robert Sokespitch, at an early period, gave four acres of meadow, and thirty acres of marsh land, in Clistwick, to this hospital. By a decree in Chancery, in 1633, the sum of 2l. 12s. is paid to the hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, by the dean and chapter. John Peryam, Esq., having by will given certain sums to be put out at interest, directed that 5l. 6s. 8d. of that interest should be paid yearly to Magdalen Hospital. It has also two small rent-charges.
The hospital of St. John, in the parish of St. Lawrence, was founded about the year 1239, by Gilbert and John Long, merchants; and appears to have consisted originally of brethren and sisters. (fn. n137) In 1240, an almshouse called St. Alexis' Cell, (afterwards St. Burians,) founded in the year 1170 by William, son of Ralph Prodom, was united to St. John's: it was of the order of St. Austin. By an agreement of exchange in 1244, the bishop became patron of this hospital; Bishops Bronscombe and Quivil considerably augmented its endowment. Bishop Grandisson having found it in a very decayed condition, succeeded in restoring it, and appointed that there should be five priests, of whom one should be superior, or prior, twelve poor persons, eight grammar boys, and a master. (fn. n138) In the reign of Henry VIII., its revenues were estimated at 102l. 12s. 9d. per annum. The site was granted by that monarch to Thomas Carew: the hospital was for a while deprived of all its revenues, and the buildings went to decay. It appears, nevertheless, that the poor men who belonged to it at the time of the suppression, had their pensions, of 1l. 1s. 8d. per annum each, continued to them by the crown. In 1562, Queen Elizabeth gave the corporation the power of appointing the pensioners as their places should become vacant; the crown keeping up the payments. Mr. Jenkins, who published a history of Exeter in 1806, says, that there were then two pensioners belonging to the hospital, and that their pensions had been lately discontinued by the corporation. In 1638, Mrs. Joan Crossing and her son, having purchased the site, restored the buildings, and conveyed the hospital to trustees; and not long afterwards King Charles I. granted letters patent for the foundation of a new hospital, for the relief and pious education of poor children. (fn. n139)
St. Catherine's almshouse was founded for thirteen poor persons, by John Stevens, M.D., whose will bears date 1457; the original endowment consisted only of an annuity of 17s. 4d. The Rev. William Herne, in 1562, gave 1s. 1d. weekly to the poor of this house; Robert Hall, in 1667, gave them 10l. per annum, to be paid quarterly; Edward Young, D.D., in 1667, gave 2l. per annum. The present income of the almshouse, including what is given by the dean and chapter, is about 32l. per annum.
Wynard's Hospital, or almshouse, anciently called God's house, was founded in 1436, by William Wynard, Esq., recorder of the city, for twelve poor infirm elderly men, and a chaplain, who, between the intervals of Divine service, was to teach several poor children. Sir George Speke being possessed of the patronage of this hospital by inheritance from Wynard, increased the pensions of the poor men. In 1643, the chapel and house are said to have been destroyed: it is evident, nevertheless, from the present appearance of the chapel, which is a building of the fifteenth century, that it was only dilapidated.
In 1654, the corporation having commenced a suit against George Speke, Esq., (heir of Sir George,) he was obliged to repair the chapel and houses, to allow the pensioners two shillings a week each, charged on lands, and at the expiration of a certain lease, to pay 12l. per annum more, to be divided between them. It was settled that Mr. Speke and his heirs should appoint four of the paupers, (being decayed men of Devonshire or Somersetshire,) and the corporation the remaining eight, who should be poor decayed tradesmen of the city. The hospital lands, on the failure of male issue in the family of Speke, came by marriage to Frederick Lord North: who, in 1789, sold them, with the patronage of the hospital, to William Kennaway, Esq. This gentleman repaired the houses, beautified the chapel, and presented it with a service of communion plate. Mark Kennaway, Esq., is the present patron of the establishment, and appoints the minister. In the chapel is a tablet with an inscription to the memory of the founder, probably put up, or at least restored, when the chapel was repaired, in 1654. There are monuments also for William Kennaway, Esq., (1793,) and others of his family.
Grendon's almshouses, called the Ten Cells, in the parish of St. Mary Major, were founded in the year 1406 by Simon Grendon, Esq., (thrice mayor of the city,) for ten poor men or women (fn. n140), bound to celibacy; or widows who should not marry again. It was endowed by the founder with certain lands, and the corporation were made trustees. Alice Heath, in 1556, gave all her lands in East and West Teignmouth, and elsewhere in Devon, for the sole use and benefit of the pensioners of this house; David Hensley, the same year, gave a rent-charge of 20s. William Bucknam, Esq., in 1563, gave the moiety of the Bear Inn, and a rent of 10s. per annum; the Rev. Willian Herne, in 1562, gave a penny a week to each pensioner; John Haydon, of Cadhay, gave a rent-charge of 2l. 6s. 8d.; John Baker, in 1603, 3s. 4d. per annum; but the principal benefactor was Robert Lant, Esq., who, in 1674, gave 100l. for rebuilding the houses, and an estate in Dorsetshire, then valued at 50l. per annum, to be divided between the poor of these and Bonville's almshouses. This benefaction appears to have been long ago misapplied and lost. (fn. n141) I have not been able to learn what is the annual income of Alice Heath's lands, or the other endowments of this hospital; or what are the weekly pensions paid by the corporation to the ten poor widows who now inhabit it. (fn. n142)
In the year 1407, Sir William Bonville directed by his will, that his executors should give 300 marks for leave to amortize fifty marks per annum, as the endowment of an hospital in Comb-rew, (now Rock-lane,) in the city of Exeter, for twelve poor men and women, and he bequeathed to it all his rents in the city, except that of his own house. Lord Bonville's lands having escheated to the crown by the attainder of the Duke of Suffolk, some time afterwards, (in 1562,) Queen Elizabeth, by her charter, empowered the corporation to place poor persons in the almshouse called the Comb-rew, the crown still paying the pensions of seven-pence a week to each, as originally directed by Sir William Bonville. In 1674, Richard Lant, Esq., gave an estate in Dorsetshire, then valued at 50l. per annum, for the better relief of the poor in this and Grendon's almshouse. Bonville's almshouse having gone to ruins (fn. n143) through the neglect of trustees has been pulled down, and the site converted into gardens; and there are now no almsmen on this establishment.
John Palmer, in the year 1479, founded an alms-house without the south gate, for four poor women. The founder bequeathed lands in trust to feoffees, who should pay to each of the poor women 6s. 8d. yearly, the remainder to be appropriated to the repair of the houses; and when not wanted for that purpose, to other pious uses. The corporation have the management of this charity.
John Moore, Esq., who was mayor in 1514, founded, in conjunction with Bartholomew Fortescue, Esq., a small almshouse for three persons, but it is not known that it ever had an endowment. The paupers are nominated, and the houses kept in repair by the corporation. John Hurst, merchant, in 1552, gave by will six several tenements, in the parish of Allhallows on the Wall, and six other tenements for their maintenance, besides 200 marks in money. These almshouses have been destroyed, and the endowment appears to have been applied to other purposes.
William Hurst, Esq., who had been five times mayor, founded in 1568 an almshouse without the east gate for twelve poor persons, allowing to each of them 20s. per annum. John Lant, Esq., gave the sum of 100l. by will, in 1614, to purchase land for their better support. The corporation are trustees of this almshouse, which has been lately taken down and rebuilt on another site in Spiller's Lane, Paris Street.
John Davy, Esq., in 1599, founded an almshouse in the parish of St. Mary Arches for two poor married couple, and two single persons, men or women; the married couples to receive 2s. 4d. each (fn. n144) weekly, the single persons 1s. 6d. This almshouse is endowed out of the parsonage of MaryAnsleigh, and the corporation, as trustees, appoint the minister of that parish.
In the year 1634, Thomas Flay, one of the aldermen of Exeter, gave certain lands and tenements to his wife Elizabeth, to the intent that she should erect an almshouse for four poor widows, in the parish of St. Paul, and assign rent-charges to pay 1s. a week to each widow. Mrs. Flay not only performed this charge punctually, but added another shilling weekly to each pensioner, and built two other houses, appropriating them for the habitation of poor clergymen and their wives, or clergymen's widows, with an allowance of five shillings a week to each house, and appointed the eastern part of the garden to their use. The corporation are trustees of this charity.
In the year 1669 Christopher Lethbridge, Esq. founded an almshouse for six poor people, and endowed it with 15l. 12s. per annum, to be equally divided between the pensioners, who must be of the parish of St. Mary Arches, in which the almshouse is situated. The corporation are trustees also of this almshouse. Alice Brooking in 1680 founded an almshouse for six poor persons in the parish of St. John, but it does not appear that it ever had any endowment. In the year 1763 the corporation employed the arrears of a charitable benefaction, given in 1588 by Lawrence Attwill, to pious uses, in the building and endowing an almshouse for 12 poor decayed freemen, and endowing it with a stipend of 2s. 6d. weekly to each pensioner. In 1818 the chamber increased the number of almshouses from 12 to 15. These almshouses are situated in St. Paul's parish. There was formerly an almshouse near the Quay gate, of which nothing seems to be now known but that it existed in 1603, when a small rentcharge was bestowed on it by John Baker, Esq. Among benefactions to the city of Exeter, is a singular one of Griffin Ameridith, who, being moved with compassion at seeing the naked bodies of criminals who had been executed at Exeter interred, bequeathed in 1561 all his lands at Sidbury for the purpose of buying coffins and shrouds for them. The corporation were made trustees for this charity.
Mr. Carlisle, in his History of endowed Schools, speaks of two ancient grammar-schools in Exeter, one in St. John's hospital, founded by Bishop Grandisson in 1322, and the other in Musgrave's lane, called the High School, founded in 1343 by Dean Braylegh. It appears by Mr. Oliver's Historic Collections, on the authority of Bishop Grandisson's Register, that his predecessor, Bishop Stapeldon, had intended to found a grammarschool in St. John's hospital, and to appropriate to it the church of Yarnscombe, near Barnstaple. Bishop Grandisson fulfilled his intentions, and founded the grammar-school: two of the boys were to be of the archdeaconry of Barum, and one or both of them of the parish of Yarnscombe; two of the archdeaconry of Exeter; one or two of the archdeaconry of Totnes; one or two of the archdeaconry of Cornwall; three of the choristerboys of Exeter cathedral, and one of the nomination of the Columber's family. (fn. n145) The master of the Dean's school is said to have had a salary of 20l. per annum. This school was kept in a room which was formerly a chapel of the Holy Trinity. It is said to have been rebuilt in 1561. This school was either dissolved or consolidated with the present free grammar-school about the middle of the last century. Sir John Acland in 1609 gave 16l. per annum to two scholars in Exeter College, Oxford, to be approved of by the mayor and recorder of Exeter, the master of the High School, the rector of Exeter College, and the owner of Columb john.
In the year 1623 the hospital of St. John having lain in an useless neglected state from the time of the dissolution, it was purchased by Mrs. Joan Crossing and Francis her son; and in pursuance of the intention of Hugh Crossing, husband of the said Joan, to found a hospital, was by them vested in feoffees, and given for the purpose of being occupied as a hospital or workhouse. It appears by a deed of the feoffees, bearing date 1630, that Thomas Walker, Esq. by his will, in 1628, gave the sum of 400l. to the corporation, for the purpose of purchasing an annuity, a moiety of which was to be appropriated to the endowment of a free grammar-school, if such should be established in Exeter within five years from the time of his decease. (fn. n146) Mary Dowrish, his daughter, gave 50l., and Walter Borough, Esq. 100l. for the same purpose. With consent of the parties above mentioned, the school was founded in the nave of the chapel of St. John's hospital, which was fitted up for the purpose, and the feoffees accordingly granted a renewable lease of it. The corporation gave a rent-charge of 20l. per annum, as a salary for the master, out of their manor of Exeland, which appears to have been in lieu of the benefactions above mentioned, and the school was denominated the free grammar-school of the city of Exeter, founded by the citizens of the said city.
King Charles's letters patent, dated June 2., gave the corporation power to erect and maintain on the site of the old hospital of St. John a new hospital of the same name, for the habitation, relief, and maintenance of aged or impotent poor people, and for a free grammar-school, and an English school, and for the dwelling, relief, and education of poor children, and for the dwelling of one or more schoolmasters. A part only of these benevolent intentions took effect. I do not find that any aged or impotent persons have been here lodged or maintained except Alderman James Crossing, descendant of Hugh Crossing before mentioned, who had been mayor in 1762 and 1769; and who falling into poverty, found an asylum in this hospital, where he was supported by the mayor and corporation in apartments appropriated to his use, and died there at an advanced age in 1792.
Sir John Maynard, surviving trustee of the noble benefactions given for charitable uses by Elizæus Hele, who died in 1635, gave from this fund 530l. for the support and enlargement of St. John's hospital; and for the continual maintenance of the boys therein, he settled upon the hospital the manors of Clist St. Lawrence, Clist Gerald, Teign Hervey, and other lands, charged, as it appears, with 40l. per annum, payable to Exeter College. An English school was founded within the hospital a few years before this period; and it is doubtful to which school many of the several large benefactions given for the maintenance of children in the school were intended to be applied. It is certain that some were intended for the boys of the grammar-school (fn. n147), as I suppose this of Sir John Maynard to have been. Some of the benefactions in money were given expressly for the fabric (fn. n148), on which the corporation are said to have expended originally about 500l. A few of the more permanent benefactions, consisting of rent-charges or money to be laid out in lands, were given generally to the support of the hospital. (fn. n149) The annual income of St. John's hospital in 1755 was 409l. 7s. 8d. per annum; in 1779, 535l. 14s. 2d.; but this was exclusively of fines, which must have been occasionally of considerable amount. (fn. n150)
Dr. Lewis Stephens in 1745 gave the sum of 3000l. for founding five exhibitions at Oxford or Cambridge from the free-school, and by his will of that date made some excellent regulations respecting them: a sixth exhibitioner, after having been a classical scholar not less than three years, was to spend four years abroad in trading towns, and the other three, during which the exhibition is continued, in trade at home. After many years had elapsed, this will was brought to light and established by Mr. Bartholomew, who was appointed head master of the school in 1793. It does not appear, nevertheless, whether there have been hitherto any exhibitioners elected. The Rev. John Reynolds, canon residentiary, gave in 1756 1550l. O. S. S. A. for four exhibitions from the Exeter schools. Three exhibitions of 20l. per annum each are now paid out of this benefaction. The grammar-school at Exeter is open to the sons of freemen only gratuitously. The master has a salary of 40l. per annum.
John Reynolds, appointed master of this school in 1713, published an useful edition of Pomponius Mela. The present master is the Rev. Charles Henry Collyns, appointed in 1816, on the removal of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lempriere, author of the Classical and Biographical Dictionaries. William Martyn, the historian, Dr. Rundle, Bishop of Derry, Dr. Conybeare, Bishop of Bristol, and Dr. Downman the poet, were educated at this school.
Within the hospital of St. John is the Free-English or Blue-school. Mrs. Elizabeth Jordayne having given by will, in 1633, the sum of 500l. for charitable uses, it was at length agreed by the trustees to employ the money in founding a free English school, which was accordingly founded in St. John's hospital; and it was resolved that the master should teach 50 poor children, and should have a salary of 20l. per annum. Peter Helyar, the first master, proved himself a great benefactor to the school by teaching, for thirty years, forty additional scholars gratuitously, besides other instances of liberality. Most of the benefactions for the maintenance and education of poor children in St. John's hospital (fn. n151) appear to have been intended for this school, in which 21 children only are now taught, but they are also clothed and maintained. The master has a salary of 26l., and 16l. for each boy, in consideration of which he provides them with every thing.
Mr. John Mayne, who died in or about 1686, directed that the sum of 400l. should be laid out in the purchase of a house, and 1000l. in the purchase of lands for the endowment of a school at Exeter to teach 40 boys reading, writing, and arithmetic, and for the purchase of books. This intention never took effect, notwithstanding a litigation was carried on with his heirs, and a decree obtained against them. Sir John Maynard appropriated the sum of 600l. out of the estates given by Elizæus Hele for charitable uses, to the foundation of a hospital for the maintenance and education of poor girls, and he endowed it with a rent-charge of 50l. per annum out of Bovey mills. Gilbert Keat before mentioned, gave 200l. to this, which is called the Blue Maids' or Hele's Hospital; Robert Duck, Esq., in 1666 gave 50l., Edmund Prideaux, Esq. gave 100l., and John Mayne, before mentioned, 100l. (It is presumed that the last-mentioned benefaction was lost.) There have been seldom more than 10 children in this hospital, who are taught, clothed, and maintained.
William Wotton, in 1686, gave the residue of an estate, after paying 10l. to the vicar of Blackawton, for the education of poor children of the parish of St. Mary Arches. Dr. Glass, in 1784, gave 6l. per annum, for the education of twelve poor children of the same parish, and those of St. Olave's and Allhallows. In this school, which is conducted according to Dr. Bell's plan, thirty boys are clothed and taught. The master has a salary of 26l. per annum. The estate given by Mr. Wotton produces 76l. per annum.
The episcopal charity schools, which are open to the children of all the Exeter parishes, and the out parish of St. Thomas, were founded at the instance, and under the auspices of Bishop Blackall, in the year 1709. A large subscription was raised for that purpose, to which the bishop, the dean and chapter, and the corporation, liberally contributed. Four schools were established, two for boys, and two for girls. Some houses in the parish of St. Kerrian, being given to the charity, were appropriated as schoolrooms for the boys, and habitations for their two masters. The girls' schools were kept in houses hired for the purpose by the managers of the charity. At the first institution the subscription amounted to about 250l. per annum. It is now about 190l. only; but the school has ample revenues from various sources. The landed property is more than 200l. per annum (fn. n152); the funded property produces 42l. 16s. per annum (fn. n153), and the funds are aided by collections twice a year at the church-doors, amounting to from 100l. to 120l. By this benevolent establishment 250 children are clothed and educated; the boys in reading, writing, and arithmetic; the girls in reading, sewing, and knitting.
A handsome school-house for this charity has lately been built in the parish of St. Paul: the first stone was laid August 21. 1817, by the late bishop of the diocese, and it was opened at Midsummer, 1818. The site of the school-house, the building and fitting up, cost altogether about 2700l. It consists of two stories, the upper of which is for the boys, the lower for the girls, and they have separate entrances. The schoolhouse in St. Kerrian's is now let, and produces 21l. per annum to the charity. (fn. n154)
In 1812, a diocesan central school was established in this city, on Dr. Bell's system, by subscription. The school-room is in Magdalen Street, in Trinity parish. There were in December, 1820, 376 boys, and 212 girls, in this school. Since the foundation, the number of boys admitted has been 1356, that of girls 887. (fn. n155)
Besides the schools belonging to the Establishment, there are two supported by the Dissenters. In one of these, (in the out-parish of St. Sidwell (fn. n156),) sixty children, boys and girls, are clothed and educated; the other is a Sunday school, in which are about 150 children, of both sexes.
In the year 1643 James Tucker, Esq., gave to the corporation the sum of 100l., to be laid out in lands for the purpose of curing the lame, or such as should break their limbs, or the sick and needy. Thomas Ford, Esq., who was mayor in 1656, gave the sum of 250l. towards erecting and maintaining a hospital for poor, sick, and wounded persons, according to the order of St. Thomas's hospital in Southwark. What these benevolent persons ineffectually attempted was carried into effect many years afterwards on a more enlarged scale, by the zealous exertions of Dr. Alured Clarke, then dean of Exeter, in 1741. The same worthy divine had, when dean of Winchester, been the means of founding a similar institution in that city, which was the first county-hospital in the kingdom, except that at York. John Tuckfield, Esq., one of the representatives for the city, became a most eminent benefactor to the institution, and was recorded as its founder in consequence of his having given a valuable spot of ground in the Southernhay, with the buildings upon it for its site.
Through the indefatigable industry of the Dean, and the generous contributions of the county, this truly charitable work was promptly begun and rapidly accomplished. The first stone was laid August 27. 1741, and in the month of January, 1743, the hospital was opened with 30 beds for the reception of patients. Since its first opening, upwards of 51,000 patients have been restored to the blessings of health by this charity, including in and out patients. In 1748, the number of beds had been increased to 100; in 1790 to 184. Owing to the increased expenditure, it was found necessary to reduce them in June, 1805, to 120; but, through the liberal increase of subscriptions and donations, and the exertions of the clergy of the establishment and the dissenting ministers in promoting collections in their several congregations, the governors were enabled in the month of September that year to increase them again, and they are now 140. The total number of in-patients admitted into this hospital, up to Lady Day 1820, have been 55,459; of out-patients, 24,514. The funded property belonging to this establishment is about 17,600l. The annual subscriptions amount to about 2000l. (fn. n157)
The West of England Infirmary for Diseases of the Eye was established at Exeter in the month of August, 1808. The Duke of Bedford is president. From the time of the foundation to Michaelmas 1820, 5260 patients have been admitted on this establishment, and of these 4621 have been discharged cured, including 185 patients cured of blindness from cataracts, amongst whom 43 were blind from their infancy, and 22 cured of blindness by an operation of artificial pupil.
The Lunatic Asylum, founded in 1795, is in the parish of St. Thomas, Bowhill-house having been purchased for the purpose at the expense of about 2650l., including the furniture and repairs. Above 9000l. was laid out on additional buildings and furniture necessary for the establishment. Since its commencement, 656 patients have been received into the asylum, of whom 364 have been discharged as cured. The expenses are defrayed in a great measure by the board of the patients whose friends can afford to pay for their maintenance; the aggregate amount of which receipt has been above 29,000l. since the commencement of the establishment. This is aided by the interest of benefactions, legacies, &c.
In the year 1819, a Female Penitentiary was established in this city, a house was purchased at the expense of 1400l., and commodiously fitted up for the reception of about 50 penitents in the course of the year 1820. The first meeting relating to this benevolent institution was held on the 29th of October, 1819, at the house of S. F. Milford, Esq., a most zealous promoter of its objects. There were eleven penitents in the house in January, 1821.
One of those excellent establishments, called Savings' Banks, was established at Exeter in the month of January, 1816, on a most extensive scale, comprehending the whole county; numerous receivers of deposits having been appointed in various parts, who undertook to remit them to the bank in Exeter. The total amount of deposits up to the 11th of February, 1820, was no less than 164,484l., and they have been rapidly increasing, the deposits of the last year having been upwards of 68,000l.
Amongst these numerous and excellent charitable establishments, the interests of science have not been overlooked; a Devon and Exeter institution for the promotion of science, literature, and the arts, was established at Exeter, in 1813, by some gentlemen of the city and its neighbourhood. A handsome building has been fitted up for the purpose, with two spacious libraries, galleries for a museum, and reading rooms. The collection of books is already extensive and valuable: the museum is at present confined chiefly to the collection of British natural history, and is becoming rich in several departments. There is an extensive herbarium of British plants; and a fine collection of Devonshire mosses has been presented to it by Charles Greville, Esq.
At the hotel in the close is an assembly-room, which was the only room for such purposes before the year 1820, when a spacious and handsome room for concerts, assemblies, &c. was built near the New London Inn. For the purpose of erecting this building, Hurst's almshouses were removed, as already mentioned. Between Bedford Crescent and Southernhay is a theatre, with a handsome stone front: this building, excepting the front, was destroyed by fire in 1820, and has since been rebuilt.