History

Brief History Of The Town

Over 2000 years of history has been recorded, which has seen Exeter move through the Roman times, to Saxon control, and later, onto the middle ages and the Tudor era.

Romans arrived in the area, and after building a wooden fort on a hill and conquering the area to little resistance, the Roman soldiers left, and Exeter was built up and around the site of the fort. The Romans helped to build up the town, but later abandoned it, leaving the Saxons to return it to prosperity in the 10th century.

The Romans left behind them records of Roman Baths, a market place, shops, a town hall, and Roman baths, and they built a wall around the city. Notable dates include Exeter being destroyed by the Danes in 1003, the Normans trying to capture it in a siege in 1068, and Exeter Castle in the midst of a civil war in 1136. Moving on, the Middle Ages saw the beginning of a woollen industry.

Exeter’s history centred round changes of power and religion, industry, and growth. By the 18th century Exeter had its first newspaper and bank, with Assembly Rooms built in 1769. This is just a snapshot of some of the events that make up Exeter’s history; if you want to find out more, then read on…

Finding Out More About The History Of Exeter

Exeter is a city that takes pride in its heritage, and has put a lot of time and effort in both preserving key historic buildings in the town, and also maintaining local history collections and exhibits for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. If you want to find out more about this part of the South West, then you could start off at the Quayside Visitor Centre. This attraction is housed in a former warehouse, which was built when the local trade in woollen cloth was thriving. There are exhibits dedicated to this and other aspects of Exeter’s history.

Once you’ve checked out the exhibits, why not get out and explore the city. St Peters Cathedral is well worth a visit. Look out for the Norman towers, and the longest unbroken length of gothic vaulting in the world. There are also a minstrels gallery and decorated tombs to view. Late Medieval architecture gives way to Tudor and Elizabethan items in St Nicholas Priory, while you can also view the remains of Exeter Castle in the city centre. A striking gatehouse, courtyard area, and boundary walls remain, while there are also the Devon Assize Hall and Session House to explore. The Terrace Rooms and Ballroom complete the set-up providing a newly renovated setting for weddings.

Although you can make your own way to any of these buildings, or other historical points of interest in the town, one of the best ways to really make the most of your visit, is to book a Red Coat Guided Tour. These walking tours are open to all the family, and run throughout the year. Why not find out more about ‘Medieval Exeter’, ‘Exeter Old and New’, ‘Elegant Exeter’, and Exeter’s ‘Custom House Tour. There’s something to suit all history fans here in Exeter, so why not book a tour or visit one of the historic buildings in the town.