Exeter Cathedral


There’s been a cathedral in Exeter since the 11th Century, although the current Gothic building was constructed between 1270 and 1340. Prior to that, there was a Norman (Romanesque) church, started in the 12th Century, but when  Walter Bronescombe was appointed bishop in 1258, he decided that the building was old fashioned and decided to have it replaced by one in the then fashionable Decorated Gothic stye. Some Norman features remain, though; in particular, the two towers.

The North Tower has a Gothic window punched into the north wall.


The west front has a very impressive image screen, covered with a large number of statues, inspired by Wells Cathedral


The cathedral’s website tells us

At the bottom are angels appearing to support all the figures above.  Most of the figures of the middle row represent Kings of Judah.

In the upper row, to right of centre, is a representation of God.  On His right hand would have been a seated figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Her image was destroyed in the Reformation and, later, mistakenly replaced by King Richard II.  Also in the upper row are figures of the Apostles, the Evangelists and Old Testament Prophets.

Dozens of figures also peer out from the battlements above and the whole screen is decorated with plants and animals.


Although today it is bare stone, originally it would have been painted in bright colours.

As it doesn’t have a central tower, the cathedral has a continuous ribbed roof along it’s entire length. The longest


Looking upwards


There was a plaster replica of one of the 400 roof bosses on display which showed just how large they are


This ornate pulpit in the Nave was erected in memory of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson


The large astronomical clock is on the north wall at the crossing (between the Nave and the Quire)


Dating from 1484, the large dial of the Exeter Astronomical Clock is a working model of the solar system as it was then understood.  The sun and moon circle around the earth at the centre of the dial.

The Quire screen


Looking down the Quire


The Victorian choir stalls were designed by George Gilbert Scott.


The very ornate bishop’s seat


The Lady Chapel was particularly ornate and a good example of Decorated Gothic.


with some impressive stained glass


and mosaic floor



I rather liked his sculpture in the Lady Chapel


and this cross, made from driftwood, in one of the side chapels


and this simple cross in one of the other chapels



5 thoughts on “Exeter Cathedral

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s