EXETER, a city, and a county of itself, locally in the hundred of Wonford, S. division of Devon, of which it is the chief town, 44 miles (N. E.) from Plymouth, and 172 (W. by S.) from London; containing, within the municipal boundary, and exclusively of the suburban parishes of St. Thomas, St. Leonard, and Heavitree, 31,312 inhabitants. Geoffrey of Monmouth affirms that Exeter was a British city prior to its establishment as a Roman station, and various circumstances concur to prove the fact. It was by the Britons called Caer-Isc, "city of the water;" also Caer Rydh, or "the red city," from the colour of the adjacent soil. After its capture by the Romans, who made it a stipendiary town, it was denominated Isca with the addition of Danmoniorum, to distinguish it from Isca (now Usk) in Monmouthshire. That it was occupied by the Romans, is evident from the coins and other relics which have been dug up in profusion at different times, and more particularly in July 1778, when small statues of Mercury, Mars, Ceres, and Apollo, the largest not exceeding four inches and a half in height, evidently the penates, or household gods, of that people, together with the fragments of urns, tiles, and tessellated pavement, were discovered; and also in 1834, when digging the foundations for the market-houses. A further evidence of Roman occupation is found in the castrametation of the numerous signal stations extending to the English and Bristol Channels. The city is said to have been honoured at one time with the name of Augusta, from the circumstance of its being occupied by the second Augustan legion, commanded by Vespasian, the conqueror of Britannia Prima, which included Danmonium.
It was for a considerable time the capital of the West Saxon kingdom, and was subsequently occupied by the Danes, after the violation of a solemn treaty made with Alfred, the Saxon monarch. Alfred, however, invested the city, and compelled the enemy to capitulate, with a promise of evacuating all their holds within the West Saxon territory; it was afterwards attacked by the Danish marauders in 894, and was again relieved by Alfred. Exeter was at a very early period distinguished for its religious establishments, and contained so many monastic foundations, that the Cornish Britons and Saxon pagans are reported to have called it in derision "Monk-Town." On the accession of Athelstan, the Britons and Saxons not converted to Christianity, who till now had formed a considerable portion of the population, were expelled, and the number of religious institutions was augmented by the foundation of a Benedictine monastery, dedicated to St. Peter, which was converted by Edward the Confessor into a cathedral. The town is greatly indebted for its early importance to Athelstan, who is said to have established two mints in it, and to have regularly fortified it with towers and a wall of hewn stone; from which circumstance, most probably, it was denominated Exanceastre, or Excestre, i. e., "the castellated city of the Exe," whence its present name. In 968, King Edgar restored the monastery founded by his predecessor, Athelstan, which had been destroyed by the Danes, and appointed Sydemann to the abbacy, who was ultimately raised to the bishopric, as eighth bishop of Devon. In 1003, Sweyn, King of Denmark, landed on the western coast with a formidable force, to avenge the slaughter of his countrymen, and laid siege to Exeter, which, after a vigorous resistance for two months, was treacherously given up by its governor. The castle of Athelstan was destroyed, and the monastery of St. Peter shared in the common ruin; nor did the city recover from its devastation till the accession of Canute, when it began to resume its former importance, and the monks of St. Peter their former privileges.
At the time of the Conquest, the citizens, instigated by Githa, mother of Harold, refused to receive a Norman garrison, and having recourse to arms, were joined by the neighbouring inhabitants of Cornwall and Devonshire. On the approach of William to punish their revolt, sensible of the unequal contest, they submitted to his authority, and delivered hostages for their obedience. To prevent a revolt in future, William Rufus erected a citadel in Exeter, the government of which he entrusted to Baldwin de Brioniis, whom he made sheriff of Devon, and to whom he gave the barony of Oakhampton, with the custody of all the county of Devon. The castle, having been garrisoned in 1136 by the partisans of the Empress Matilda, held out against Stephen for three months, but was compelled to surrender from want of water. Stephen, however, acted with clemency, and Henry II. subsequently rewarded the loyalty of the citizens by a grant of additional privileges. In 1284, Hugh Courtenay, then Earl of Devon, greatly injured the trading interests of Exeter, by obstructing the navigation of the river Exe, hitherto navigable for vessels of considerable burthen. In the year 1286, Edward I. held a parliament at Exeter, augmented the privileges of the borough, and gave it a new common seal. In 1308, Walter Stapleton, lord treasurer, was appointed bishop of Exeter; he was the founder of Exeter College, Oxford, and was sent ambassador to France in 1322. The Black Prince remained here several days with his royal prisoner of France, and subsequently visited the city in 1371.
In 1469, the Duchess of Clarence, with others of the royal adherents, took refuge in Exeter, which was besieged by Sir William Courtenay, one of Edward's generals: the siege, however, was raised at the mediation of the clergy. In 1470, Edward IV. arrived in pursuit of the Duke of Clarence and the Earl of Warwick; and some time after the battle of Tewkesbury, that prince, with his queen and infant son, was entertained here for several days. Richard III.'s visit to Exeter is alluded to by Shakspeare. In the year 1488, Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, was made free of the city, being the first honorary freeman on record. In 1497, Exeter sustained a violent assault from Perkin Warbeck, the pretended Richard of York, and claimant of the crown; the inhabitants, however, succesfully resisted the impostor till the arrival of the Earl of Devon, when Perkin retreated to Taunton. The loyalty of the citizens was afterwards rewarded by Henry VII., who presented them with his sword. In 1501, Catherine of Arragon remained here several days, on her way from Fowey to London. In the rebellion of the year 1549, many clergymen took an active part; among these was Welch, the vicar of St. Thomas's, near the city, who not only promoted the cause by his preaching, but was "an arch captain and principal doer:" this leader of the western insurgents was hanged upon the tower of his own church. On the 2nd of July, in that year, Exeter was invested by a strong body of the popish adherents; the citizens withstood the attack till the 5th of August, when John, Lord Russell, having defeated the rebels at Clist Heath, dispersed the assailants. The privations endured by the inhabitants during the siege were of the severest kind, and to mark their gratitude, the day of Lord Russell's entry into the city (Aug. 6th) was consecrated an annual festival.
Exeter is distinguished for numerous proofs of loyal attachment, which has been extended even to the unfortunate among foreign monarchs, as in the case of Don-Antonio, the deprived king of Portugal. So sensible was Queen Elizabeth of the loyalty of the Exonians, that with other more substantial proofs of her favour, she presented the corporation with the honourable motto Semper Fidelis. During the insurrection in Devon and Cornwall, in 1541, this city sustained a siege of 35 days. In the MS. notes of Milles, as copied in Polwhele's History of Devon, it is recorded that, "when the Earl of Bedford went into the west to suppress the rebellion, he found the clergy so indifferent to his cause that he could get none of them to attend him except Miles Coverdale, afterwards Bishop of Exeter." Exeter was firm to the cause of Charles I.; but the lord-lieutenant of the county, who was of the opposite party, disarmed the citizens, and garrisoned the castle with parliamentarian troops. It was, however, taken by Prince Maurice and Sir John Berkeley, the latter of whom was appointed governor. The city was now regarded as a place of great security, and the queen being near the time of her confinement sought refuge within its walls. Her accouchement took place in Bedford House, where she was delivered of the Princess Henrietta Maria, who was baptized in the cathedral, in 1643; on which occasion the font, a beautiful basin of white marble, embellished with cherubim and supported by a pedestal of black marble, was erected. Charles visited Exeter on his way to and return from Cornwall, and the infant princess remained here till the surrender of the city, after a vigorous blockade of more than two months, to General Fairfax, in April, 1646. During the stay of the parliamentary forces, the cathedral was shamefully defaced, and divided into places of worship for Presbyterians and Independents; the palace, with other buildings adjoining, was turned into barracks, and the chapter-house converted into a stable. Previously to their arrival, the bishop's throne, with his altar-chair and the altar-piece of Speke's chapel, had been taken down and concealed. During the Protectorate, two zealous royalists, who had attempted to restore Charles II., were by Cromwell's order beheaded in the city. No burials are entered in the cathedral register from 1646 to 1660; there is not a will, nor any entry by which it can be established that any wills were proved in the ecclesiastical courts of Exeter within that period, during which they were proved by commission, and deposited with the city and county records. On the restoration of Charles II., the city again testified its loyalty with much enthusiasm; and the king, on his visit in 1671, presented the corporation with a portrait of his sister Henrietta, then Duchess of Orleans. On the appearance of the Prince of Orange, in Nov. 1688, the inhabitants submitted to him; and that monarch afterwards established a mint here: there is a thoroughfare, comprising many respectable houses, still called "the Mint." In August, 1789, George III., with his queen and three of the princesses, visited Exeter. Pestilential diseases have raged here, as in most other towns, with destructive effect: the plague is said to have been fatal to a great number in 1569. In the year 1586, one of the judges of assize, several of the grand jury, and many others, fell victims to the virulency of the gaol distemper. The plague was again prevalent in the years 1603 and 1625; and in the year 1777, not less than 285 persons died of the small-pox.
This city, which has been denominated "The Capital of the West," occupies the flat summit and the declivities of a hill, rising gradually from the eastern bank of the river Exe, but abruptly steep on the western side, in the midst of a fertile and undulated country, surrounded on all sides by scenes of beauty and interest. Its salubrious air, cleanliness, good market, and proximity to several watering-places, tend greatly to enhance its eligibility as a place of residence. Including its suburbs, it contains many handsome ranges of modern houses, particularly in the eastern part of the town, where are situated the cathedral, Bedford Circus, Southernhay Place, and Northernhay Place, in front of which are inclosed pleasure-grounds, and the public baths, erected in 1821, having a good exterior of classical design, and internally replete with every accommodation. The town is well paved, and partly lighted with gas by a company established in 1816; in 1836 an act was procured for more effectually lighting it. Water is obtained from the river by works erected in 1694, at the western extremity of the town: in 1833 an act was passed for providing a more ample supply, and in 1840 an act to amend former acts for this purpose. At the western entrance is a handsome stone bridge over the Exe, built after repeated failures caused by the rapidity of the current, in 1778, at an expense of £20,000, a little above the site of an ancient bridge of twelve arches, erected in 1250. To the north of the city are the cavalry barracks, and at some distance to the south-west the artillery barracks; the latter since the peace, have been divided into several separate dwellings, and let to private families. The Devon and Exeter Institution, for the general promotion of science, was established in 1813: the building was purchased from Viscount Courtenay, having been the town residence of that family; the library contains 10,000 volumes, with numerous natural and artificial curiosities. In Fore-street is a public subscription library, founded in 1807, and comprising 2500 volumes. The tradesmen's and mechanics' institution was formed in 1825. In a modern building near the Northernhay walk are the public rooms, erected by subscription in 1820; the ball-room, measuring 80 feet by 40, is superbly fitted up, and lighted by a handsome dome. The theatre is a neat structure, on the site of a former one destroyed by fire. The races generally take place in July or August, on Haldon, an excellent racecourse, about seven miles distant.
The limits of the port of Exeter extend from the river Axe, near Lyme Regis, to the Ness Point at Teignmouth. A little above Topsham the tide of the Exe is arrested by the "Lower Weir," there being another between this and the city. In 1699, a canal was cut nearly to Topsham, navigable for vessels of 150 tons: it was completed at an expense of £20,000, communicating with the river about three miles from the city; and in 1827 was extended about two miles and a half further to the south, for the admission of vessels of larger tonnage. On the quay are the custom-house and wharfinger's office; and near it are extensive iron-foundries, fulling-mills, timber wharfs, &c. A large basin has been constructed opposite the quay, where vessels of considerable burthen may float and discharge their cargoes, and wharfs and warehouses have been erected. A good trade is carried on with London, Liverpool, Bristol, Plymouth, Falmouth, and Penzance; the number of vessels of above 50 tons' burthen registered at the port is 131, and their aggregate tonnage 15,637. The Bristol and Exeter railway, 75½ miles in length, commences at Bristol by a junction with the Great Western railway, and is carried in a south-western direction to the coast; the part from Bristol to Bridgwater, a distance of 32½ miles, was opened on the 14th of June, 1841, and the other portions have been since completed. An act was passed in 1844 for making a railway from Exeter to Plymouth, 52 miles in length, which was opened as far as Teignmouth in May 1846; in 1845 an act was obtained for a railway from the Bristol line, near Exeter, to Crediton, a distance of six miles; and in 1846 one for a railway to Topsham and Exmouth. The trade, at a very early period, was chiefly in the article of wool, and the market for this commodity was removed hither from Crediton, in 1538. Fulling-mills existed here in the time of Edward I.; the weavers and fullers were united to the merchant-adventurers, and incorporated by Elizabeth. The city formerly exported woollen-cloth to Italy, Turkey, &c.; and it is said that, before the year 1700, eight out of ten of the citizens were engaged in that trade, of which the annual returns were estimated at £600,000, but which greatly decreased during the American war. The cotton-works, and manufactories for kerseymere and shawls, have also declined; the manufacture at present consists chiefly of coarse cloth. The markets are held by prescription: the principal market-day is Friday; but there is a daily sale for butchers' meat, fish, and vegetables; and a market for pork, poultry, butter, &c., is held on Tuesday and Friday, on which latter day is also a market for corn, cattle, and serges. In 1834, a bill was obtained for removing the markets held in High-street and Forestreet, and providing other market-places in lieu. The fairs are on the third Wednesday in February, third Wednesday in May, last Wednesday in July, and the second Wednesday in December; and there is a great market on the second Friday in every month.
The city was anciently held in demesne by the crown. Its earliest charter was bestowed by Henry I., and confirmed by Henry II. and Richard I.; and it is supposed to have been first governed by a mayor in the reign of John, in the year 1200, at which time the office was held for life. In 1312, the mayor and bailiffs were made justices of the peace. Edward III. granted them the cognizance of pleas; the charters of Edward IV. and Henry VII. confirmed their privileges, and Henry VIII. constituted Exeter a county of itself. Further liberties were granted by Charles I.; and in 1770, George III. renewed and confirmed the charter. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, 12 aldermen, and 36 councillors, assisted by a recorder, sheriff, town-clerk, and other officers; the city is divided into six wards, and exclusively of the mayor and recorder, ten justices have been appointed by commission from the crown. The city has sent two members to parliament ever since the reign of Edward I. The right of election was formerly vested in freemen by heirship, servitude, and presentation, and in freeholders, in number about 1200; but by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, the non-resident freemen, except within seven miles, were disfranchised, and the privilege was extended to the £10 householders of an enlarged district, comprehending 4600 acres: the former limits of the franchise comprised only 2400 acres. The sheriff is returning officer. There is a court of assize for the city and county of the city twice a year, at the guildhall, before the judges on the circuit, assisted by the corporation, under a separate commission: the assizes for the county of Devon are held in the sessionshouse within the castle; and a court of quarter-sessions is also held in both places, the recorder presiding at the city sessions. The powers of the county debt-court of Exeter, established in 1847, extended over the registration-districts of Exeter and St. Thomas. The court of bankruptcy, established in 1842, embraces several counties. There is a court of record, called the Provost court, at the guildhall monthly for the trial of causes; and petty-sessions are held by the mayor and justices every Tuesday and Saturday. Attendance is also given at the guildhall by the magistrates daily at eleven o'clock; and in the castle the magistrates for the hundred hold pettysessions every Friday. The guildhall was formerly fronted by a chapel dedicated to St. George, which was demolished in 1592; the present facade projects into the street, and is a tasteless intermixture of ancient English and Italian architecture: the common hall is spacious, with an arched roof supported by grotesque figures, and contains portraits of Charles I., his daughter the Princess Henrietta, General Monk, and others. The sessions-house, within the walls of Rougemont Castle, was erected in 1773; it exhibits a neat stone front, and is complete in its internal arrangement. The city prison, erected in 1818 at a cost of £10,000, is a large brick building. The county gaol, a short distance north of the city, erected in 1796, is also very spacious, and judiciously planned for the classification of prisoners. The bridewell was erected in 1809, near the same spot. The sheriff's debtors' ward, in the parish of St. Thomas, south-west of the city, was erected in the year 1818, and is appropriated to debtors of the county of Devon.
Exeter was, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, erected into a See, the jurisdiction of which extends over Devon and Cornwall; the authority of rural dean is exercised throughout. The ecclesiastical establishment consists of a bishop, dean, sub-dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, four archdeacons, 23 canons, seven of whom are residentiary, and four minor canons. The bishop has the patronage of the archdeaconries, the canonries, and the other offices of the church, except the minor canonries, the patronage of which belongs to the Dean and Chapter. The number of the canons will eventually be reduced to 21, five of them to be residentiary canons.
The silence of all the early historians concerning the foundation of the Cathedral has given rise to various and opposite opinions respecting it. The majority of writers, from Hooker, in 1584, to those of the present day, have stated that St. Mary's chapel at the end of the choir, was the original Saxon church, and that the whole of the existing fabric was 500 years in building: the chapel is stated by Davey, one of the historians of Exeter, to have been built by Bishop Richard Blondy, who died December 26th, 1257. Previously to its establishment at Exeter, the see of Devon was seated at Crediton; but Leofricus, who was bishop of the see and lord chancellor of England, prevailed on Edward the Confessor to remove it hither in 1049; and that monarch, with Editha his queen, attended at the installation, and placed the bishop in the new see, which he then endowed with the lands and emoluments that had previously belonged to Crediton. The see being thus established, it is probable that a suitable cathedral was soon afterwards provided; but whether constructed by enlarging and altering some existing edifice, or by the erection of a separate and entire building, is uncertain. The first principal enlargement of the cathedral may, with great probability, be ascribed to Bishop William Warelwast, who was preferred to the see in 1107, and who greatly improved the building; he laid the foundation of the choir, and to him, probably, may be attributed the towers yet remaining, which are perfectly similar in style to those of his contemporary Gundulphus, and resemble more the magnificence of the Norman architects than the simplicity of the Anglo-Saxons. In the two chapels dedicated to St. Andrew and St. James, and in the vaulting of the stairs leading to the rooms above, are some circular Norman arches; and on the whole, it appears that the first considerable cathedral was planned under the direction of Warelwast. But whatever grandeur and consequence might distinguish it under his prelacy, were nearly destroyed during the siege of Exeter by King Stephen, in 1138, when it was plundered and burnt, and the choir is mentioned as having particularly suffered. Bishop Chichester, the successor of Warelwast, is said to have expended much money in the repairs of the building; and Bronescombe, who was elevated to the see in 1258, built a chapel on the south side of the east end, which was dedicated to St. Gabriel, and endowed for two chaplains with the vicarage of Bockerel, in Devon. On the accession of Bishop Quivil, in 1280, the cathedral, with the exception of the towers, the north and south transepts, and the door of the Galilee, or penitential porch, was rebuilt in the early English style, and became one of the most superb ecclesiastical structures in the kingdom. Among the successors of Quivil who contributed towards the completion of his design, Bishops Stapleton and Grandison were distinguished by their munificence. Under the episcopacy of the latter, the nave was lengthened and the roof vaulted: the west front was probably erected in the time of his successor, Brantingham; and in 1420, under the superintendence of Bishop Lacy, the whole as it now appears was completed.
The west front is splendidly decorated with a profusion of canopied niches, statuary, and elegant tracery, constituting a shrine to the sepulchral chapel of Bishop Grandison. The principal entrance is in the centre of an elaborately-carved screen, divided by projecting and highly-enriched buttresses into compartments, in which are two series of arches, whereof the lower, surmounted by an open battlement, contains figures, in a sitting posture, of several of the kings arrayed in their robes, and of others in armour. In the upper stories and on the buttresses are statues of monarchs in an erect posture, and in the central niche is one of a king sitting with his foot on a globe, holding in one hand a book, and in the other a sceptre; below which are the arms of the see quartered with those of the ancient Saxon monarchs, in a shield supported by kneeling angels. Above the screen is a noble window of nine lights with elegant tracery, 37 feet in height and 27 in breadth: in the lower part are full-length figures of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Andrew, and the Four Evangelists; the other parts are enriched with mosaic paintings and the armorial bearings of the nobility and gentry of the county, together with the union rose, thistle, fleur-de-lis, and harp, the different insignia of royal and ecclesiastical dignity, emblems of the nations composing the British empire, the several orders of knighthood, the holy lamb, &c. On the north and south sides of the cathedral are the massive Norman towers, of which the lower parts, opening into the nave, form the transepts.
The interior exhibits a striking combination of majestic grandeur and graceful simplicity. The nave is separated from the aisles by massive clustered columns, but of elegant proportions; and above the finely-pointed arches that support the vaulted roof are a triforium of singular beauty, and a noble range of clerestory windows filled with rich tracery. The choir, which is separated from the nave by a screen of exquisite design, is of similar style and of equal elevation, and has a continuation of the triforium and clerestory, the windows of which, as well as those of the cathedral in general, exhibit the finest specimens of tracery in the decorated style to be found in the kingdom. On the south side of the choir are some stalls of exquisite beauty; and the bishop's throne, reaching to the clerestory windows, an elevation of sixty feet, is a specimen of tabernacle-work of unequalled magnificence. It was erected in 1470, by Bishop Booth, and is entirely of wood, and dove-tailed, without, it is said, either a nail or screw; it is elevated above the floor, and ascended by six steps: its area is ten feet square. The canopy is composed of pointed arches, columns, niches, pinnacles, and foliated ornaments, and is carved in a tasteful and most delicate manner. To the north and south of the Lady chapel are the chapels of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Gabriel, and in various parts of the cathedral are others richly adorned with sculpture, in one of which, dedicated to St. Edmund, is held the consistorial court every Friday during term. In the north aisle of the choir are the splendid monuments of Sir Richard and Bishop Stapleton. There are many other monuments deserving attention, especially the tomb of Bishop Stafford, which is of beautiful design and elaborate execution. In the year 1820, on removing the flooring of the Lady chapel, two very ancient tombs were discovered, which corroborate the opinion that this part was the original cathedral: the material is Purbeck marble. The tombs are now placed on pedestals of common masonry, one on each side of the chapel, and are supposed to be those of two of the five bishops between Leofricus, who became first bishop in 1049, and John the Chaunter, who was appointed in 1186. The organ was built in 1665, by John Loosemore, and, for richness of tone, is said to be unrivalled. The length of the cathedral is 390 feet from east to west, and 140 between the extremities of the transepts. The chapterhouse is a beautiful edifice, partly in the early and partly in the later English style; the roof is of oak, carved in panels on the slope, and the intervals above the beams are filled with tabernacle-work. The episcopal palace is an ancient structure, containing several noble apartments, and a chapel. The deanery is celebrated as having been honoured by the visits of Charles II., William III., and George III.
The city comprises the parishes of All Hallows Goldsmith-street, with 360 inhabitants; All Hallows-on-the-Walls, 866; St. Edmund, 1595; St. George, 685; St. John, 500; St. Kerrian, 401; St. Lawrence, 641; St. Martin, 254; St. Mary-Arches, 651; St. Mary Major, 3429; St. Mary-Steps, 1256; St. Olave, 912; St. Pancras, 364; St. Paul, 1337; St. Petrock, 261; St. Stephen, 477; and Holy Trinity, 3796; also the parochial chapelries of St. David and St. Sidwell, 3508 and 9154; and the extra-parochial precincts of the Cathedral Close, 684; Bedford, 119; Bradninch, 55; and Castle-yard, 7. The living of All Hallows' Goldsmith-street is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6. 4. 7.; net income, £66; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The living of All Hallows'-on-the-Walls is a discharged rectory, valued at £5. 4. 9½.; net income, £18; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The church, a new edifice, of which the internal effect is exceedingly good, was consecrated in September, 1845: the old church was destroyed nearly a century ago, being ruinous. The living of St. Edmund's is a discharged rectory, valued at £10. 16. 8.; net income, £187; patron, G. Hyde, Esq. The present church was consecrated in September, 1834. St. George's is a discharged rectory, valued at £9. 13. 8.; St. John's is a rectory not in charge: these livings now form one benefice, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £212. St. Kerrian's is a discharged rectory, with that of St. Petrock's united, the former valued at £5. 18. 6½., the latter at £14. 10. 2.; net income, £138; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The living of St. Lawrence's is a discharged rectory, in the gift of the Crown; net income, £90. St. Martin's is a discharged rectory, valued at £8. 14. 6.; net income, £77; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. St. Pancras's is a discharged rectory, valued at £4. 13. 4.; net income, £43; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The church, long disused, has been recently fitted up. The living of the parish of St. Mary-Arches is a discharged rectory, valued at £10; net income, £162; patron, the Bishop. St. Mary Major's is a discharged rectory, valued at £15. 14. 9½.; net income, £150; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The living of the parish of St. Mary-Steps is a discharged rectory, valued at £8. 6. 8.; net income, £179; patron, the Rev. William Carwithen. St. Olave's is a discharged rectory, valued at £7. 17. 4., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £81. St. Paul's is a discharged rectory, valued at £8. 2. 6.; net income, £172; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. St. Stephen's is a discharged rectory, valued at £7. 17. 3½.; net income, £85; patron, the Bishop. The living of the Holy Trinity parish is a discharged rectory, valued at £11. 16. 4.; net income, £111; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The living of the parochial chapelry of St. David is a perpetual curacy; net income, £130; patron, the Vicar of Heavitree; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter. The chapel was rebuilt in 1816, on the site of the ancient edifice. St. Sidwell's is also a perpetual curacy; net income, £252; patron, the Vicar of Heavitree; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter. The church, rebuilt in 1812, is a spacious and handsome structure in the later English style, with a lofty tower surmounted by an octangular spire; it was enlarged in 1839. On an eminence to the south-west of the city is the cemetery of St. Bartholomew, consecrated in 1639, which having become very crowded, a new and spacious cemetery adjoining it was inclosed for public use, and consecrated on the 24th of August (St. Bartholomew's day), 1837. Owing to the increase of population, chapels have been built in some of the above parishes. The living of Bedford chapel is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Trustees; net income, £136: St. James's chapel, erected in 1836, is presented to by the Vicar of Heavitree. The parishes of St. Leonard and St. Thomas the Apostle, near Exeter, are described under their own heads. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, Methodists, and Unitarians, a Roman Catholic chapel, and a synagogue.
The Free Grammar school was founded by the citizens, before the date of the charter of Charles I., and in 1633 the corporation instituted certain ordinances for its better government. There are fifteen exhibitions, to either Cambridge or Oxford, belonging to this seminary; viz., six of £36 each, of which two are for boys of Devon, two for boys of Cornwall, and two for the sons of freemen of the city; three of £20 each, for boys of any county educated here; and eight of £8. The schoolroom forms part of the building called St. John's hospital, a convent of Augustine friars, founded in 1239, and the revenue of which at the Dissolution was £102. 12. 9.; the present income, arising from various endowments, exceeds £800 per annum. Adjoining it is the Mayor's chapel. Within St. John's hospital is the Blue-coat school, founded by Hugh Crossing and others, in the year 1661. The College school, at Mount Radford, formerly the residence of the Baring family, was established in 1826, for the purpose of general instruction. The Blue Maids' school, for the instruction and maintenance of seven girls, was founded in 1672, by Sir John Maynard and Eliza Stert, and endowed with lands producing more than £100 per annum.
The Devon and Exeter Hospital was opened in 1743, a lunatic asylum in 1795, and a female penitentiary in 1819. St. Catherine's almshouse was founded in 1457, for thirteen aged people, by John Stevens. Wynard's hospital was established in 1436, for twelve infirm and elderly men, and has a chapel attached, a handsome structure. Grendon's, or the Ten Cells', almshouses were founded in 1406, by S. Grendon, for ten unmarried men or women. In 1479, John Palmer founded an almshouse for four women. Hurst's almshouses were founded in 1568, for twelve tradesmen, or their widows, and are endowed with nearly £100 per annum. Flaye's almshouses, for six widows of clergymen and decayed tradesmen, were founded in 1634; the income is about £100. Six parishioners of St. Mary-Arches are appointed to the almshouses founded in 1669 by Christopher Lethbridge, which Sir Thomas Lethbridge endowed with £15. 12. per annum. In St. John's parish is an endowed almshouse for six persons, founded by Alice Brooking. The city almshouses, for twelve aged persons, rebuilt in 1764 with funds originating in a bequest by Richard Lant in 1675, have an income of £170. Atwill's almshouses were founded and endowed by Lawrence Atwill for decayed woollen manufacturers; the annual income amounts to about £320. In the parochial chapelry of St. Sidwell are the ancient chapel and eight almshouses of St. Anne, the former of which is open for divine service every Wednesday; and there are an old chapel and almshouses in the parish of Heavitree; besides an almshouse for four women, founded in 1676 by John Webb. The late R. T. Spearman, Esq., many years deputy treasurer at this port for Greenwich Hospital, bequeathed £12,000 for the building of almshouses in the city, for women above sixty years of age, members of the Church of England; and in addition to these various benefactions, there are lands in the possession of the different parishes, the proceeds of which are applicable to general purposes of charity, and numerous individual bequests and donations.
Exeter still retains some proud vestiges of its ancient institutions and mural fortifications: the gardens attached to the bishop's palace are inclosed by the remains of the old wall that encompassed the city. In the vicinity are several encampments, among which may be particularised that at Stoke Hill; it is semicircular, and more than 250 paces in diameter. The north, south, and east gates were taken down for the improvement of the city; but the walls in some places exhibit the original elevation, and may be correctly traced throughout. On the highest ground in the city, the north-west angle, stand the venerable remains of the Norman castle, supposed to occupy the site of that founded by Athelstan; it was denominated Rougemont Castle, from having been erected on a mound of red earth. A collegiate chapel was founded within its walls, by Avenell, the grandson of Baldwin de Brioniis, to which were attached four prebends: it served as the assize chapel after the Reformation, but was taken down in 1782. The principal gateway, a lofty and picturesque object, still remains, as does the greater part of the outer walls, from the summit of which there is a fine view over the city; also of Exmouth and the Channel, at a distance of more than ten miles. The Benedictine priory of St. Nicholas is said to have been founded by William the Conqueror, and was at first subordinate to the abbey of Battle, in Sussex; it afterwards obtained from the parent house a renunciation of superior authority, the presentation remaining with the abbot of Battle. At the Dissolution, its revenue was £154. 12., and it was conveyed to the corporation, who demolished the buildings for the sake of the materials, and subsequently sold the property in lots. The walls may be traced to a considerable extent; and in Mint-lane are the remains of the crypt, with its massive Norman arches, &c. On the site of the ancient church stands the Roman Catholic chapel opened in 1792. Here were also Franciscan and Dominican convents: the latter was converted, after its suppression, into a mansion belonging to the Bedford family; the site is now occupied by Bedford Circus. At Poleslo, in the neighbourhood, are some remains of a Benedictine nunnery founded by Bishop Briwere in 1236, the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £164. 8. 11.; and at Cowick, in the parish of St. Thomas, was also a monastery. On excavating the ground opposite the London inn in the city, were found a small brass coin of Henry IV. of France, a large coin of Trajan, a Constantine, and some others; also the remains of a water-course which supplied the citizens with water during the siege.
Among the distinguished natives of the city may be enumerated Josephus Iscanus, or Joseph of Exeter, a Latin poet of the twelfth century; his contemporary, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury; Stephen Langton, also Archbishop of Canterbury, who, in the reign of John, divided the Bible into chapters; John Hooker, who wrote a history of Exeter, in the sixteenth century; Sir Thomas Bodley, founder of the Bodleian library at Oxford; Dr. John Barcham, an eminent writer on heraldry, born in 1572; Matthew Lock, a composer of music in the seventeenth century; Lord Chancellor King, a distinguished lawyer and theological writer; the Rev. Thomas Yalden, a poet of eminence; Simon Ockley, a learned orientalist; Dr. James Foster, a nonconformist divine and theological writer of celebrity; William Jackson, an ingenious musical composer; Andrew Brice, author of a topographical dictionary; the late Chief Justice Gibbs; and Lord Gifford, master of the rolls. Exeter gives the title of Earl and Marquess to the family of Cecil.