Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral is one of the great Cathedrals of England, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere: inside you’ll find a building which has lived through war, political unreset, the Exeter Blitz and much more.

About this church

Exeter Cathedral stands on a site which has been at the centre of the city since Roman times. The Cathedral was 'founded' by King Edward the Confessor in 1050 AD and the current building dates back to 1114 AD. The west front image screen is one of the great architectural features of medieval England. The addition of the image screen around 1340 marked the completion the rebuilding of the cathedral in the Gothic style. Work continued on the screen with the additional top tier completed about 1470.

Simon Jenkins says 'Exeter's interior is a burst of Decorated glory... (its) roof of incomparable exuberance'. 

High up on the north side of the nave is a projecting balcony built in the middle of the 14th century. It is decorated with carved angels playing musical instruments and is known as the Minstrels Gallery. The original purpose of this gallery is not known, but it may have been used by musicians or singers.

The magnificent Bishops Throne is one of the greatest treasures of medieval woodwork in Europe. It was made in the early 14th century using local Devon oak and is 18m (59ft) tall: the cathedral records contain details about the felling of the trees and the preparation of the timber.

Dating from 1484, the large dial of the Exeter Astronomical Clock is a working model of the solar system as it was then understood. The sun and moon circle around the earth at the centre of the dial. The clock is reputed to be the source of the nursery rhyme 'Hickory Dickory Dock' probably inspired by the round hole in the door.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Train station within 250m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets in church
  • Non-accessible toilets in church
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café in church
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike
  • Church shop or souvenirs

Other nearby churches

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Southernhay United Reformed Church

Southernhay has a light and airy feel with a high ceiling, large stained glass windows and a rear gallery. Situated in the centre of Exeter, the church was rebuilt in 1950s following extensive damage in 1942 but retains its original Victorian tower and spire which is Grade II listed. The foyer was refurbished in 2014.

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Holy Cross

In 739AD Aethelheard, king of the West Saxons, granted land for a monastery. In the early 900’s a cathedral was built, almost certainly of wood.

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