Visits and Walks

Exeter Local History Society usually organises six visits or walks every year to a wide variety of destinations within Exeter.  They are listed on the left; just click on whichever title you wish for full information.

 

(There are also regular bi-monthly talks.  Just double click on

"Recent Talks" on the header bar for full information).

 

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POWDERHAM CASTLE TOUR : September 2018

 

For the very first time since Powderham opened to visitors in 1957, the tour routes and the tales told of Devon’s 600-year-old family home are changing.  After years of study and with input from Universities of Exeter, Plymouth and Pennsylvania, Charlie and AJ (the new Earl and Countess of Devon) are excited to launch this fresh telling of the ancient and unique Powderham story. 

  

The State Room Tour guides guests through the gardens, the grange and the grandest rooms of the Castle – the public face of Powderham.  We exploredPowderham’s illustrious architectural history, from its medieval foundation, through Civil War sieges, Georgian, Rococo and Regency expansion, to its dramatic neo-Gothic culmination.  All of this via secret doors, long libraries and even a hidden ballroom.

 

The Upstairs/Downstairs Tour offered a different view – Powderham as the private home of the Courtenay family and their staff for over 600 years.  We saw never-before-seen family bedrooms, and were offered a host of intimate and personal insights, spooky stories and winding staircases used for generations.

 

 

Walk on Wednesday, 9 May 2018

 

We visited three churches in Heavitree.  This was a wonderful opportunity to see inside St Clare’s, that tiny little chapel in the middle of the road – a traffic planner’s nightmare !   It was built so that people could pray for the souls of those being hanged outside ! 

 

We started our walk, however, at the Catholic Church and ended it at the Anglican Church, St Michael and All Angels.  We also viewed Gordon’s Memorial (from the days when European countries raced each other to annex portions of Africa) and examined the scene of public hangings and burnings (from the days when such punishments were considered acceptable).

Wednesday, 4 April 2018 Walk

 
We went for a walk around Newtown with a guide who explained the history of the area.  We met up at the Waitrose Carpart and finished two hours later at the Clifton Inn where some of us sampled their excellent lunches. Click "2018.03.14 A Walk Around Newtown" on left for full details.
 
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Wednesday 17 January 2018 Visit

 

  • In 1003 the Vikings burnt Exeter to the ground – even St Peter’s, not yet a cathedral - and hundreds perished.   Why ?  Could this have been prevented ?
  • In 1886 Exeter’s Theatre Royal was destroyed by fire and 187 died.   What caused this fire and why did so many people die ?  Could their deaths have been prevented?
  • Last year we lost the Clarence Hotel.  This time no one died – why ?   But could the devastation have been prevented ?

 

We found out the answers on 17 January, at the Fire Station at Dane’s Castle during a talk on the history of fire (and its prevention), plus a tour of the Station - until the fire fighters were called out for an emergency!   Click "2018.01.17 Exeter's Fires" on left for full details.

VISIT TO POLTIMORE HOUSE

Thursday, 9 November 2017

We experienced a wonderful and interesting guided tour of Poltimore House, parts of which date back to Tudor times.  Poltimore's guides are passionate about their subject and they shared with us the history of the Bampfylde family and their Exeter estates.  Tea andhome-made cakes were the start of the deal and we then set off to see the rooms and the enormous efforts that the Friends of  Poltimore are making to restore the building to its former beauty. Click "2017.11.09 Poltimore House" on left for full details.

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Visit to St Luke's College and Grounds

16 September 2017

 

The College dates back to 1839 though the Heavitree Road site was only taken over in 1854.  The site has been beautifully developed with ssome glorious trees and beautiful gardens featuring plants in nooks and crannies.  A fascinting morning.  The site turns out to be far larger on the inside than is clear from the outside looking in.  For full details click on "2017.09.14 St Luke's College" on the banner on the left this page.

 

The Monmouth Rebellion at the Phoenix Theatre

16 September 2017

 

A 20-strong cast represents the 3000-strong army of dissenting men and women from Dorset, Devon and Somerset preparing to fight the last ever pitched battle on English soil.  We have reserved 20 seats at £1 off. Tickets going fast so book soon. Phone for full details - 07443 601 678. Cost £8 p.p

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Visit to  Exeter University Gardens

 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

 

On a beautiful sunny  day we met at the bus stop opposite the entrance to the Northcott Theatre and Malcolm took us on  walk around the gardens.   He showed us spaces that even people who had worked there had never seen - the enchanting Taddyforde Valley, the cactus garden, the grassy spaces beside Streatham Hall.  Full details will be listed on the left bar within the next few days.

 

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Visit to Tiverton Castle

Wednesday,10 May, 2017

 

Few buildings evoke such a feeling of history as venerable Tiverton Castle. Originally built in 1106 by order of Henry I, and later rebuilt and much enlarged in the 13th and 14th centuries, Tiverton Castle was once home of the powerful medieval Earls of Devon and of a Plantagenet Princess. With later additions and alterations down the centuries all periods of architecture from medieval to modern can be seen, with beautiful walled gardens within the romantic ruins. 

 

Part Scheduled Ancient Monument and part Grade I Listed, the Castle is the private home of Angus and Alison Gordon, who were happy to share it with our members on 11 May.   We started with coffee in the Gordon’s private dining room and then Alison took us on a trip through the Castle (and through history).

 

Tiverton had close connections with Exeter, particularly during the days of the wool trade, when it was collected in Tiverton and sailed down the river to be sold in Exeter !

 

For details of the visit click right  on Tiverton Castle.

 

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Can you identify where this is?


REMEMBERING THE LOST INDUSTRIAL HISTORY OF EXWICK

25 March 2017

 

The history of Exwick goes back almost a thousand years. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 when it had a Mill and a Manor.  By the late 18th Century it had three working Mills and a factory making woollen goods, all now closed and gone - bar one still standing empty and forlorn.

 

The hills to the North and East, once wooded and later clad in green fields, are now smothered in buildings including many housing estates.  But despite all this, enough of the past still exists, tucked away, to give a good idea of the importance of the village of Exwick, just across the river from the city of Exeter.

 

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The Guildhall, Behind the Scenes

Saturday, 12 November 2016

 

The Guildhall is a building of outstanding architectural interest, an ancient monument and a busy working building.  It has served as the centrepiece of Exeter’s civic life for more than 800 years.   On 12 November we saw parts of the Guildhall not normally open to the public: precious objects acquired through the ages and displayed in rooms full of history. For full details click on left banner.

 

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History of Waste Disposal in Exeter 

16th September 2015

In olden days, recycling consisted of a pig.  In went uneatable food and in due course the pig provided many a good meal – or money if it was sold.

 

Recycling through the centuries has become somewhat more sophisticated leading to today’s complex systems.  On 15 September we had a talk on the history of recycling (which incidentally provides a fascinating picture of how ordinary people’s living conditions changed through the ages).  The talk ended with a Q&A session and a tour of the recycling plant. More details to follow shortly.  2016.09.15   Click "2016.09.15 History of Recycling" on left panel for full details.

 

 

 

BELMONT PARK AND THE ORTHODOX CHAPEL

Friday, 20 Janury 2017

 

 

Friday morning, 20 January 2017
​, was
 a wonderful opportunity to visit the Orthodox Chapel in Blackboy Road. This charming Tudor building has a rich history dating back to the 15th century and we will be shown around by the pastor, Archdeacon Peter Storer. The adjacent almshouses are all occupied but we will be able to examine their external features.

 

 

We first met in the Newtown Community Association hut, which is situated in the middle of Belmont Park, for coffee and a talk – and hopefully a short (weather dependent) walk – exploring the history of  Exeter's parks and particularly Belmont Park.  Michael Parrott will sadly not be free to show us round but he has given us lots of fascinating insights to pass onabout the development of this lovely area.  We then proceeded as a group to the Orthodox Chapel. Cost £3. Booking is essential.

 

More details if you click the adjacent banner.

 

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All talks are on the second Wednesday of alternate months (February, April, June, August, October & December).                                          All meetings start at 7 pm and are held at JURYS INN, Western Way, Exeter EX1 2DB.                                                                  Free parking is available from 6pm in the Triangle Car Park at the rear of Jurys.                                                                                Walks/visits are usually on the second Wednesday of alternate months (January, March, May, July, September November). 

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