Monday, 23 November 2015

Exeter Cathedral

The carved bosses and corbels in Exeter Cathedral are amongst the finest examples of English Decorated Gothic architecture, a form of architecture that flourished in England for 100 years from 1270. The largest boss weighs in at over two tons; each one is different and decorated with either human figures, biblical stories, or naturalistic forms. The replica boss shown above gives a unique opportunity to view one of them close up and a chance to appreciate the intricate detail. Dated 1300, it shows a knight and three dragons signifying the Christian soul trampling on the world, the flesh, and the devil

 Most of the corbels along the nave show a naturalistic style or have a single figure - each one is different
On the north wall of the north transept is a large, blue faced astronomical clock, donated by Bishop Peter Courtenay towards the end of the C15th. A fleur-de-lys represents the sun's cycles around a 24 hour dial, with noon at the top and midnight at the bottom. The moon's phases are shown and the day of the lunar month can be read from the inner ring. The golden globe in the centre represents the earth.
Inside the mechanism are ropes which used to be greased by fat. The fat attracted mice who ran up and down the clock ropes - hence the nursey rhymn 'Hickory Dickory Dock' is thought to have been based on this clock.
via 
The Pulpit was designed in 1876 by George Gilbert Scott, and shows the martyrdoms of St. Alban, St. Boniface and the Victorian missionary Bishop John Coleridge Patteson
A pair of finely wrought golden gates lead into the
quire (choir)
Most of the present Cathedral was constructed 1270 - 1342
However the two towers date from an earlier Norman Cathedral which was demolished to make way for the present building.
one of the two stout Norman towers
The impressive light and airey interior has the longest Gothic ceiling in the world
The West window sparkles like a jewel. It was designed by William Peckitt of York (1731-95) arguably the most important glass designer of the C18th

 The organ is an historical instrument of international significance, but is far from being a museum piece. It is a working instrument used day in and day out in the way it was intended to by its creator John Loosemore in 1665.


The properties ajacent to the Cathedral on the northern side in Cathedral Close are mostly over 500 years old. Many, like the one above, belong to the Cathedral. This one is entered via an impressive doorway.
On this sunny, late November weekend, a typical 'German Style' Christmas Market was being held on the Cathedral green with stalls from all over the Continent
Rather fancifully, Mol's is said to have been the haunt of Elizabethan seafarers Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, where they met to discuss their victory over the Armada. It was built in 1528 to house the Cathedral Annuellars. The facade seen here was added in 1596. Annuellars were priests who attended to the last wishes of benefactors to the Cathedral.
This Italian chocolate stall at the Christmas Market caught my eye, but I averted my gaze and walked on 

Spent the weekend in the city of Exeter, Devon, but next time it will be back to travels from Turkey

36 comments:

  1. A very pretty city to visit, thanks for showing so much beautiful details.

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed the visit

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  2. Hello Rosemary, What a magnificent space the Exeter Cathedral is. And beautifully maintained, although some of those painted surfaces seem a little over-restored and heavy-handed (you did state that the first boss was a reproduction). Many of the temples over here have a similar problem--the building itself is old, (although not nearly as old as Exeter Cathedral!), but all the surfaces are new.

    I love the old and interesting buildings the cathedral is set among--an ideal place for strolling.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - This was my first visit to Exeter apart from taking my granddaughter there for an interview at the university over 5 years ago. I was impressed with the town, in particular the Cathedral and its lovely surroundings. Generally speaking the Cathedral appears to be in very good condition considering its age, and has obviously been lovingly maintained over the years. As to the colouring, it is possible that it may have been over restored, but because the building is so lofty and large the corbels do not look out of place. They have perhaps been over exagerated on my photos because I have zoomed in on them which has made them appear a larger feature.

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  3. Wonderful photos, looks like you had beautiful weather. Chocolate attracts me like a magnet, don't know if i could have avoided the Italian stall.

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    1. It was gorgeous weather - we were fortunate - I think the fact that we had just had a wonderful full English breakfast at the hotel made it possible for me to walk on.

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  4. The accomplishments of man can be inspiring and nowhere better seen than in a Gothic cathedral. We have the same discussion over here in Canada about the repainting of totem poles. It is surprising to see how colourful they were originally.

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    1. Yes, I can well imagine that - I am sure before any conservation work is carried out great care is taken to consider and investigate the orginal intentions - our church walls are now lime washed over but before the reformation they were brightly painted with scenes reminiscent of Dante's inferno.

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    2. Dear Rosemary. How lucky we are! You take us along on your very interesting sojourns. As always, your photography is sensational, You tell us just enough history, about the various places, to make it interesting.
      What a wonderful book your posts would make.

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    3. Dear Gina - you are so kind and generous with your comments which I appreciate very much - thank you.
      I am so pleased that you enjoyed seeing this wonderful Cathedral which was a treat for us to see too.

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  5. Beautiful photo's of Exeter cathedral Rosemary! An impressive place of worship.

    Have a lovely week!

    Madelief x

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    1. I wonder if you have visited Exeter Madelief - it is a very interesting city to visit, and also not too far away from the sea too.

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  6. So gorgeous! And what a fascinating bit of trivia about Hickory Dickory Dock! That was one of my favourite nursery rhymes when I was a tot.

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    1. Thanks Debra - as you can probably imagine I like those little snippets of trivia too.

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  7. An absolutely stunning cathedral! Thank you for showing it! It seems the Italian chocolate makers are touring all over Europe. The pieces sold at the International Food Market in my town a few months back looked exactly the same. We couldn't resist some and were not disappointed.

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    1. I had just eaten a substantial hotel breakfast otherwise I might have been tempted to the chocolate - it did look rather magnificent with some unusual flavour combinations too.

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  8. Such wonderful architecture is to be found in our church buildings, which you can appreciate even if you are not religious.
    I admire your will power walking past the chocolate stall!

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    1. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful architecture from across the ages to admire - I mainly was not tempted to the chocolate having just had a delicious full English for breakfast at the hotel.

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  9. What a splendid cathedral!

    Now I know where Hickory, Dickory, Dock originated; hardly a post goes by here at Where Five Valleys Meet that I don't learn something new and of interest.

    Ms Soup

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    1. Thank you - It is a magnificent cathedral - and by the way I too didn't know that Hickory, Dickory, Dock originated with the clock in Exeter until my visit!

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  10. Exeter Cathedral is certainly a magnificent building, Rosemary. I loved looking at the stunning Gothic ceiling, as well as the beautiful organ. It is amazing how well such an instrument was built, to continue to be used to this day. Excute my ignorance, but I do not know what the 'boss' is - or where it is positioned in the architecture. The carving is very interesting, in a medieval way! I love the look of Mol's too - very nice indeed. A lovely post, thank you.

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    1. Dear Patricia - you can see the bosses running down the center of the photo showing the vaulted ceiling. They look tiny from down below, but are in fact a substantial size. All are highly decorated and coloured. Sometimes they are used to conceal breaks in the vault work but normally they are the keystone. Were'nt the medieval builders fantastic to all of this without the cranes and gadgets that we have today?

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  11. We are making it our mission to try and visit as many of England's amazing Cathedrals as possible so it was good to see your wonderful photos of Exeter Cathedral, which I have not yet visited. We have such a wealth of history and wonderful architecture in our small country. Lovely to meet you and thanks for coming by my blog.

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    1. Dear Marianne - you will love Exeter Cathedral, it is so light and airey and beautifully kept. Thank you for visiting and commenting, and welcome.

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  12. A magnificent cathedral in a very cosy city , lovely photos . I admire your strength in turning your eyes away from the delicious looking chocolate stall at the market :-))

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    1. Hello Jane - I was pleasantly charmed by Exeter having not visited before. As I have mentioned to others I had just had a very large full English breakfast at the hotel and was not feeling at all hungry, but the chocolate looked very tempting nevertheless

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  13. A beautiful cathedral - as England has so many. The clock reminds me strongly of the astronomical clock we saw in Bad Doberan (I wrote about that once)
    So you are back, Rosemary - I wish you a beautiful time!

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    1. Thanks for the welcome back Britta - although we had lovely blue skies and sunny weather in Exeter it did not match the warmth we experienced in Turkey.

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  14. What a splendid ceiling along with all the interior.
    I'm sure I would have just glanced at the chocolate then walked on. Would have loved to have stopped though :) and purchased..

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    1. Perhaps if I was there today then may be I would stop and buy!!!

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  15. What great trivia. Of course we all recited Hickety Dickety Doc! Hard again to pick a favorite shot. That gold gate certainly catches my eye as does the stained glass window.. And I admire your restraint being able to walk away from that chocolate shop.

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    1. Everything in the Cathedral was extremely photographic, time was short for us, but it is surprising what you can capture quickly with your camera.

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  16. Aren't English cathedrals some of the most wonderful treasure houses? I love how the bosses and corbels are so beautifully painted and it is all so well cared for. I have only ever driven through Exeter but if I visit I will go to the cathedral, as I always do in any cathedral city. The chocolate stall looks almost too much, when there is overkill I end up deciding not to buy anything! :)

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    1. I hadn't realised how wonderful Exeter Cathedral is - so light and airey, and it sits in such lovely surroundings. The only previous visit I have had to Exeter is to take my granddaughter for her to look around the university.

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  17. I shall have to go inside Exeter cathedral on our next visit to the town. I do love the area around cathedral square. You were very good not stopping at the Italian stall! Sarah x

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