Medieval Bridge over Exe
Medieval Bridge over Exe

Exeter Local History Society

Exeter Local History Society members are hooked on history. If you share our fascination, why not join us? We have between 6 and 12 lecture meetings a year (details below), plus we occasionally have long-distance outings, and we cover an incredibly diverse range of subjects from Roman remains to post-WW2 redevelopment.

Our regular monthly meetings at Leonardo Hotel Exeter are usually held on the second Thursday of each month. Full details of future walks and talks are given below.

The charge for each meeting is normally £3 (free to members) and the annual membership fee is £12 (£16 for joint membership). If you sample a meeting and decide to join, the £3 cost will be deducted from your first annual fee. Walks and visits normally cost £3 p.p. for members and visitors alike.

We also produce six newsletters a year — how about we email you the most recent as a free taster? To request a copy just email us at:

ExeLocalHistorySociety at gmail.com

And do check out this website and see for yourself the great selection of subjects with which we entertain our members. Just click on "Past Events" to explore our programme! Click on "How To Join Us" for an application form. Please fill out this form if you wish to stay updated on our events and receive monthly newsletters.

We hope we will see you soon at one of our many events!


Churches, Cemeteries, and the Catacomb

A walk around Exeter
led by Redcoat Guide Mike Richards
on Thursday, 11 July 2024
starting at 2pm from the West Front of the Cathedral

Redcoat Guide, Mike Richards, will tell us about burial practices in Exeter from the time of the Romans to the present day. He will also detail the spread of Christianity in the City, and the construction of many of our historic churches, including the Cathedral. There are many interesting facts to discover. Did you know that many thousands of bodies are still buried beneath Cathedral Green?

The walking tour will end with a visit to the interior of the 19th Century Catacomb, built at great expense at the time when “grave robbing” was rife and Exonians sought a safer place to bury their dead.

The walk will start from the West Front of the Cathedral and will take about 90 minutes. It will end by the Catacomb.

Please be advised that there is a slope to be climbed up to the Catacomb.

There will be a £3 charge for tickets for members and non-members, and numbers are limited. Book early to avoid disappointment.


What can a graveyard tell us about Georgian Exeter?

 
with Dr. Ian Varndell on Thursday, 8 August 2024
at 7pm at Leonardo Hotel Exeter [Jurys Inn Exeter Hotel]

A patch of land smaller than two tennis courts, located just outside Exeter’s city walls, became a burial ground for protestant dissenters for just over 100 years. Around 2,000 people were buried there before it closed in 1854.

Dr. Ian Varndell will tell us about the origins of the site and the non-conformist congregations who paid for it; he will describe how and, more importantly, why it has been conserved.

A small group has been researching the lives of Exeter’s dissenting families, and Ian will finish with stories of three Exonians who were buried in “Saints Rest” – giving us a glimpse into their lives more than two centuries ago.

The Dissenters Graveyard, Magdalen Street, is open for visits on Wednesdays and Saturdays 10.00-4.00, should you wish to explore it before or after the talk.

Tickets for this event can be secured by following the link below. The event registration is free for the members of the Society; there is a very small (£3) fee for non-members.


The Story of the Exeter Book

 
with Emma Laws on Thursday, 12 September 2024
at 7pm at Leonardo Hotel Exeter [Jurys Inn Exeter Hotel]

Written around 970AD, the Exeter Book is the earliest of only four surviving books of Anglo-Saxon literature anywhere in the world. Much admired for its beautiful writing and the quality of its verse, this collection of poetry has been at Exeter Cathedral since Leofric, the first Bishop of Exeter, gave it to his church in 1072. Within its pages are some 40 poems including The Wanderer and The Seafarer, and nearly 100 poetic riddles.

Emma Laws, Cathedral Librarian, will tell the story of this extraordinary manuscript and what makes it special: its poetry, history and survival.

Tickets for this event can be secured by following the link below. The event registration is free for the members of the Society; there is a very small (£3) fee for non-members.


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