Exminster Castle & Exminster Monastery

W. Pengelly (Ed.) Memoranda. Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1875, Vol VII, pp. 198-199.



Prepared by Michael Steer

Exminster is an ancient village associated with a Saxon minster or religious community, founded here in the 8th century and left by King Alfred the Great to his youngest son Aethelweard in his will of 889. In the 14th century, it was the seat of the Courtenay family, the Earls of Devon. William Courtenay, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1381 to 1396, was born there. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

10. Exminster Castle: - In the village of Exminster there existed in the olden time a castle, Exminster Castle, not yet forgotten by the antiquary. Leland mentions it as an embattled house in his Itinerary. William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury A.D. 1381-1396, was born there. Some fifty years ago an archway leading to the entrance of the castle remained; it has long since been pulled down, and with it the last memorial of the old building. About six years ago the ground on which it stood was purchased by the late Mr. Carpenter, of Gatehouse, Dawlish; and on digging up the soil, the foundations of the castle were brought to light, with the wide stone steps leading to the entrance. The stones were used in building the new wall by the roadside; and now, beyond these few lines, there is nothing to mark the spot where the old castle was. It stood on the left-hand side of the main road as you pass through Exminster from Exeter, and exactly opposite Pottles Lane. G. P.

11. Exminster Monastery: - The vicarage house stands on the site of the old monastery; and till within the last ten years a Gothic arch, the last remains of the ecclesiastic building, stood in the vicarage garden. It has been removed; and although some of the old masonry can still be traced in the walls, there is little beyond this record to point out where the monastery which gave its name to Exminster stood. There is, however, an old building at the. rear of the vicarage which is believed to have been the granary of the monks. G. P.