Exeter: Cathedral


"The cathedral is a good pile of building; two old towers stand on the north and south transept of the most ancient part. The organ is remarkably large; the diapason pipes fifteen inches in diameter, and set against the pillars of the church. The west front of the church is full of old statues. Many religious foundations in the city are converted into streets and houses, full of numerous families and thriving inhabitants, instead of lazy monks and nuns." [Dr. W. Stukely, 1724]

"In the east part stands the cathedral, originally a monastery founded by King Athelstan for Benedictine Monks, and made an Episcopal See by Edward the confessor, the building was carried on by Leofric, and various have been the after additions for almost 400 years, and yet the uniformity is so congruous as to appear like the workmanship of one architect. But we cannot speak of the external appearance in any other light than as heavy and unpleasant, particularly when viewed within the precincts; a very different idea is given within, in every aspect magnificent and pleasing." [Rev. S. Shaw, 1788]


Archives & Libraries

Exeter Cathedral Library - facilities.

Edmonds, The Rev, Canon W. J. President's Address - The Formation and Fortunes of Exeter Cathedral Library. Trans. Devon Assoc., vol.  XXXI (1899), pp. 25-50. [Index]

Lloyd, L.J. The Library of Exeter Cathedral. Exeter: University of Exeter (1967), pp. 24, illus. (Reprint 1974, by Sydney Lee (Exeter) Ltd., with description of the archives by Audrey M. Erskine.) [Index]



Harpley, Rev. W. Benjamin Morgan Cowie, D.D. [Obituary] Trans. Devon Assoc., vol. XXXII, (1900), pp. 39-42. [Transcript]

Oliver, George, DD. (1861). Lives of the Bishops of Exeter and a History of the Cathedral, with an illustrative appendix. Exeter: William Roberts, Broadgate., illus. xiv, 529 pp. [Index (pp. 1-151) and [Index (pp. 151-249)]

Orme, Nicholas. Henry de Berbilond: a Vicar Choral of Exeter Cathedral. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 37, 1 (1992) pp.1-7. [Includes will.]



Hewett, J.W. Remarks on the Monumental Brasses, and Certain Decorative Remains, in the Cathedral Church of St Peter, to which is added a Complete Monumentarium. Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions 1sr series 3 (1849) pp.90-128.

Hope, V. The Exeter Cathedral Monumentarium, 1956. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 27 (1956-58) pp.149-153.


Church History

History of Exeter Cathedral (archived copy), by David Nash Ford.

Old Picture Postcard photographs of Exeter Catheral, provided by Adrienne Richards.

Addleshaw, Percy The cathedral church of Exeter: a description of its fabric and a brief history of the episcopal see. - 2nd ed., revised. London: George Bell & Sons, 1899. - 113 pp. - (Bell's cathedral series)[Exeter Univ. Library] [Index]

Ashworth, Edward. The woodwork of Exeter Cathedral. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 1 ser, v. 4, (1853) pp. 323-331. [Index]

Britton, John The history and antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Exeter: illustrated by a series of engravings. Nattali, 1836. - 152pp: ill. [Exeter Univ. Library] [Index to 1826 edition]

Cave, C.J.P. Medieval Carvings in Exeter Cathedral (1953). [Devon FHS Library 726.6094235]

Chanter, J.F. The Customs and College of the Vicars Choral of the Choir of the Cathedral Church of St Peter, Exeter. Exeter: Wm. Pollard and Co. (1933). (Also Exeter Diocesan Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions 3rd series 5 (1933).) [Includes list of priest-vicars 1559-1929 and lay-vicars 1559-1919.]

Crabbe, William R. Some account of the tomb of Bishop Bronescombe in Exeter Cathedral. Exeter Diocesan Architectural Soc. Trans. 1 ser, v. 4, (1853) pp. 228-237. [Index]

Curtis, Muriel E. Some Disputes between the City and the Cathedral Authorities of Exeter, Manchester, Manchester University Press (1932) 98 pp.

Doughty, Angela. 'Designed and executed by John Kendall AD1818': Exeter Cathedral's New Reredos. In Devon Documents (ed. T. Gray). Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) [ISBN 0925836203] pp.52-62.

Drake, F Morris. The Fourteenth Century Stained Glass of Exeter Cathedral. vol. 44, Trans. Devon. Assoc., (1912), illus. pp. 231-251. [Index]

Drake, Wilfred. Heraldic Stained Glass of Exeter Cathedral. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 174-175. [Transcript]

Drake, Wilfred. The Heraldry and Ancient Stained Glass in the Great East Window of Exeter Cathedral. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, p. 283. [Transcript]

Erskine, A.M., (Ed.). The accounts of the fabric of Exeter Cathedral, 1279-1353 (2 vols), Devon & Cornwall Record Society (1981-82).

Erskine, Audrey et al. Exeter Cathedral: A Short History and Description (1988). [Devon FHS Library 726.6094235]

Erskine, Audrey. The Closing and Reopening of a Chapter, 1646 and 1660. In Devon Documents (ed. T. Gray). Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) [ISBN 0925836203] pp.72-76. [Exeter Cathedral]

Fodder, Michael. Gates of the Close, Discovering Exeter, No. 8 (1996). [Devon FHS Library p942.35/EXE]

Hellins, Rev. John. The Alleged Tomb of Bishop Leofric in Exeter Cathedral. Trans. Devon Assoc., 1887, Vol XIX, pp. 675-678. [Transcript]

Hewett, John William A brief history and description of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Exeter. Exeter: A.Holden [etc.], 1848. - 32p.[Exeter Univ. Library]

Hewett, John William. Early wood carving:Twenty examples selected from the misereres in the choir of the Cathedral of S. Peter, Exeter: Printed at the Anastatic Press, Ipswich / from the original drawings of the Rev. John William Hewett, BA. (1849). Shoreham: Allever Butler, illus, 56 pp. [Index]

Hope, Vyvyan and Lloyd, John Exeter Cathedral: a short history and description. [Rev. ed.] (revised and extended by Audrey Erskine). Exeter: Exeter Cathedral, 1988. - xv,164p.[Exeter Univ. Library]

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. Early Deans in the Diocese of Exeter. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11, (1920-1921), pp. 102-104. [Index]

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. An Account of the Hospitum De Le Egle, Some Ancient Chapels In The Close, And Some Persons Connected Therewith, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, (1912) pp.480-511.

Lega-Weekes, Ethel. The bishop's chapel of St Faith at Exeter. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 64 (1932).

Matthews, Betty. The Organs and Organists of Exeter Cathedral. (new ed.) Exeter: Dean and Chapter [1979?]

Oliver, George, DD. (1861). Lives of the Bishops of Exeter and a History of the Cathedral, with an illustrative appendix. Exeter: William Roberts, Broadgate., illus. xiv, 529 pp. [Index (pp. 1-151) and [Index (pp. 151-249)]

Orme, Nicholas. Exeter Cathedral - as it was. [Devon Books ref. DB031]

Orme, N. The Early Musicians of Exeter Cathedral. Music and Letters 59, 4 (1978) pp.395-410.

Orme, Nicholas. The Minor Clergy of Exeter Cathedral, 1300-1548: A list of the minor officers, vicars choral, annuellars, secondaries and choristers. Exeter: University of Exeter (1980).

Payne, I. Two Early Organists of Exeter Cathedral: Matthew Godwin and Arthur Cocke. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 35, 4 (1983) pp.133-42.

Pengelly, W. Exeter Cathedral. In Notes on Slips Connected to Devonshire, Part VII, Trans. Devon. Assoc., 1884, Vol XVI, pp. 609-610. [Transcript]

Radford, U. An Introduction to the Deans of Exeter. Trans. Devon Assoc. 87 (1955) pp.1-24.

Reichel, O.J. Sidelights on the Work and Times of a Great West-Country Prelate in the Twelfth Century. [Bishop Bartholomew Iscanus] Trans Devon Assoc. Vol. XXXVII, (1905), pp. 188-199. [Transcript]

Reynolds, Herbert Edward The use of Exeter Cathedral, according to John de Grandisson, Bishop 1327-1367. Abstract of Chapter Acts and other documents illustrating the history of the Church and Diocese of Exeter 1380-1660. London: Church Printing co, 1891.[Exeter Univ. Library]

Rose-Troup, Frances. Exeter Cathedral Early Officials. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 11 (1920-21) pp. 32-33. [Transcript]

Rose-Troup, Frances. Bishop Grandisson: student and art-lover. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 60 (1928). [His gifts of books and vestments to Exeter cathedral, and accounts of decorative work done for him in the cathedral]

Rose-Troup, Frances. Ancient monastery of St Mary and St Peter at Exeter [680-1050]. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 63 (1931).

Thompson, Arthur H. The Cathedral Church of St Peter in Exeter, (1949). [Devon FHS Library p942.35/EXE]

Westall, Wilfrid. The Life of Exeter Cathedral, Jarrold & Son (1960) 32 pp. [ISBN B0000CKONX] [Devon FHS Library p942.35/EXE]

Worth's Guide to the Cathedral and other Attractions of Old Exeter, (1894) Folding plan, (12) + 1 + 78 + 20 p.


Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1593 are held in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1593 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their Devon Parish List.

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): St Peter Cathedral Christenings 1594-1837 and Marriages 1597-1837.

Cresswell, Beatrix F. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VII, (1912-1913), Exeter: James G. Commin. 1913, pp. 236-240. [Transcript]

Hyde, Henry Barry An alphabetical list of the members of the ancient canonical fellowship known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter: collected from the muniments and records of the Dean and Chapter and of the See of Exeter, as well as from the published records of the kingdom. [Exeter, ca.1932]. - 2 v.[Exeter Univ. Library]

Reynell-Upham, W.V. and Tapley-Soper, H. The Registers of the City of Exeter, Vol. 1: the Cathedral Devon & Cornwall Record Society (1910) [Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter Cathedral Library, Exeter University Library, Plymouth Library, Torquay Library] [Available on CD-ROM from S & N Genealogy Supplies] [Full text at LDS Familysearch]

Thompson, Arthur Huxley The Story of Exeter Cathedral: the cathedral church of St. Peter in Exeter. (1933). [SoG Library DE/L 93]

Thompson, Arthur Huxley The Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Exeter: its history, its mediaeval glass, its treasures, its customs. Exeter: Printed by James Townsend & Sons, 1949. - 48 pp., [6] leaves of plates.[Exeter Univ. Library]

The Deanery of Christianity [The City Of Exeter] CD018, Devon Family History Society (2008). [Allhallows Goldsmith Street: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1561-1837), Burials (1813-1904); Allhallows on the Walls: Baptisms (1824-1839), Marriages (1805-1811 and 1836), Burials (1824-1837); Bedford Precinct: Baptisms (1833-1839), Marriages (1833-1839); Exeter Cathedral: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Holy Trinity: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. David: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Edmund: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. George: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. John: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Kerrian: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1810-1837), Burials (1813-1838); St. Lawrence: Baptisms (1813-1837), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Leonard: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1780-1837); St. Martin: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1836), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Arches: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Major: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Steps: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Olave: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1816-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Pancras: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1800-1837); St. Paul: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1562-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Petrock: Baptisms (1813-1842), Marriages (1754-1836), Burials (1770-1837); St. Sidwell: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Stephen: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Heavitree: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Exeter Non-conformist chapels - Bow Meeting House: Burials (1748-1824); Castle Street Independent Chapel: Burials (1800-1836); George Meeting House Presbyterian: Burials (1818-1822 and 1837); Mint Meeting House Presbyterian: Burials (1709 and 1773-1810); Mint Methodist Chapel: Burials (1818-1829); South Street Baptist Church: Burials (1783-1837); Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850].


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Exeter: Cathedral which are provided by:



The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.



The Online Parish Clerk scheme's representative for this parish is Terry Blackmore, who invites queries and lookup requests. (Resources: BMDs.)

Jones, W. John Bury, Canon-residentiary of Exeter Cathedral, and his sons-in-law and descendants, Notes and Gleanings . . . Devon and Cornwall 4, 1891, pp. 65-71.

Lepine, David N. The Courtenays and Exeter Cathedral in the later middle ages, Trans. Devon. Assoc. 124, 1992, pp. 41-58.



Dymond, Robert. Heraldic Discovery in Exeter Cathedral. Trans. Devon Assoc. vol. 9, (1877), pp. 301-305.. [Index]

Grace, Thomas. Armorial Bearings at the "Abbot's Lodge", The Close, Exeter. Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries 9:2, (1916), illus., pp. 97-99. [Index]



Crotchet, Dotted: Exeter and its Cathedral. The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Vol. 43, No. 716 (Oct. 1, 1902), pp. 646-654 [Full text]

Thurmer, John. Exeter Cathedral, Jarrold Publishing (1998) 32 pp. [ISBN-10: 0853728674]

Exeter Cathedral: a celebration. Crediton: Dean and Chapter of Exeter,1991, 230 pp. ill. (some col), facsims., plans, ports. ISBN: 0950332054.


Land & Property

Hughes, G.W.G. Number-seven, The Close, Exeter. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 94 (1962) pp.459-62.



View a map of the boundaries of this town/parish.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SX921925 (Lat/Lon: 50.722075, -3.529945), Exeter: Cathedral which are provided by:


Names, Personal

Militia List (1803) for the Cathedral, transcribed by Iris Sutton.

Murray, O.A.R. Assumed Names: Nicholas Hall, Treasurer of Exeter Cathedral. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp.195-196. [Transcript]


Probate Records

Transcription of the will of John Gybbons (1538) provided by Christine Gibbins.

Transcription of the will of John Leach (1613), provided by John Moore.

Fursdon, C.A.T. Index of a collection of Devon & Cornwall wills preserved in Exeter Cathedral, Typescript [1935?]. [D&CRS Library: R WIL] [Covers period ca.1580-1835]