Lost Landscapes Recreated

Cathedral Yard from Broadgate c. 1778

The medieval church of St. Mary Major was taken down around 1865 and replaced by a larger Victorian church with a tall steeple; itself taken down in 1971.

The medieval church had an unusually wide tower, originally some 80í tall, and is believed to have been used as a lookout during the civil war. The tower was lowered by 35í around 1768 to the height shown here, and a cupola was added. Excavations suggest that a Saxon Minster pre-dating the Norman Cathedral occupied the site before the church, and prior to that remains of Roman buildings including a Bath House and Forum have been discovered.

The Cathedral also had a Cupola, on the North Tower only. This was removed at the end of the 18th century.

Three of the gabled houses to the west of the church still stand today: they are originally believed to have been occupied by craftsmen supplying the Cathedral.

The Treasurerís House abutted the North Tower of the Cathedral at an angle of about 135 degrees. Marks can still be seen on the tower where the roof adjoined it. It was taken down towards the end of the 18th century. No known images exist of the Treasurerís House apart from a couple of very crude sketches: the information for itís reconstruction here has been taken from Caleb Hedgelandís early 19th century scale model of Exeter within the City Walls.

Hedgelandís inspiration for the model came from his having been taken by his grandfather when just a young boy to watch the North Gate being taken down. It is currently on display in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Most of the information for this image has come from a number of 18th and 19th century engravings and from Hedgelandís model, and as usual from old maps and old and current day photographs.


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