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

And do check out this website and see for yourself the great selection of subjects with which we entertain our members. Just click on "Recent Talks" or "Recent Walks and Visits" 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!

Fire in Exeter

with Dr. Todd Gray on Wednesday, 13 December 2023
at 7pm at The Mint Methodist Church Centre, Exeter

In this illustrated lecture, Dr. Todd Gray looks at the incidence of fire and the subsequent loss of buildings in Exeter in comparison with other urban areas in Devon. Arson and the accidental outbreak of fire changed particular streets in the city, and these losses continue to leave their mark four generations later.

Dr. Todd Gray is a well-known historian of Exeter and Devon, has published numerous volumes on the history of the county, and has frequently spoken to the Society.

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.

Martha’s Memories

The Later History of St. Nicholas Priory

with Ben Clapp

on Thursday, 11 January 2024 at 7pm

at Leonardo Hotel Exeter [Jurys Inn Exeter Hotel]

St Nicholas Priory, Exeter's oldest building has had a long history, which has included its time as a monastery and many years as a grand Tudor home. However, its later history has many interesting stories to tell which bring the building to life. Ben Clapp has been involved with St. Nicholas Priory for some sixteen years and during his time being involved there, initially through his job at RAMM and now as a volunteer, he has studied this interesting but previously almost unknown period of the building's history. This has included the periods when it was used as a penny kitchen run by local nuns and when its parts were used as a school gym. This talk will explore the history of St Nicholas Priory in general and this period in particular, perhaps illuminating some of the things seen by our longest resident, Martha the (stuffed!) Raven who has watched the building for nearly a century.

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.

Bedless and Lifeless: The History of The Devon and Exeter Hospital

with Richard Holladay on Thursday, 11 April 2024
at 7pm at Leonardo Hotel Exeter [Jurys Inn Exeter Hotel]

The Southernhay building had been the home of the Devon & Exeter Hospital, later the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, since the mid-18th century until 1974, when the RD∓E was moved to Wonford. One of the largest hospitals in South West England, it had welcomed numerous patients from across the region and was a place of work and study for many healthcare professionals and professionals-in-training.

Some may well recall Southernhay as a busy institution but dated and verging on the inadequate. Few people, though, would ever have experienced it as an empty building or have explored even part of it from basement to attic. Our speaker, Richard Holladay did, with permission, in August 2009. As he recalls, he was searching for evidence of Garton & King's work in the early days of the Hospital and got sidetracked! In his talk, Richard will share his at times provoking memories and show the images he took during his visits.

Non-members are most welcome to join us for this interesting talk. There is, however, a very small (£3) charge. Tickets can be purchased by clicking on the link below:

Please note that this event has been moved to April 2024.

Most talks are now on the second Thursday of a month. All meetings start at 7 pm and are held at LEONARDO Hotel Exeter, Western Way, Exeter EX1 2DB.                                              The nearest car parks are the Triangle Car Park (at the rear of Leonardo Hotel) and the Summerland Gate Car Park (next to Vue Cinema). Parking at the Triangle Car Park is, unfortunately, no longer free in the evenings.

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