Z Zeebrugge plaque

We struggled to find a Z. But while the Zeebrugge plaque is a bit of a stretch, it is fixed to the old Chancellor’s House and provides an opportunity to introduce the buildings of the Cathedral Close.

The Close is the open area by the Cathedral that was the main burial ground for medieval Exeter. There is a large amount of Heavitree Stone in the buildings along the east side from St Martin’s Church to No.12 and the Chancellor’s House opposite at No.15.

St Martin’s was dedicated in 1065. The basic plan survives, but the early building was remodelled and the tower added in the 15th century. The materials are Heavitree Stone with some volcanic trap, and limestone dressings. The distinctive tower has been painted with a protective wash so appears light red.

No.5 has a late 17th century brick frontage, and a covered passageway to a medieval L-shaped building of Heavitree Stone at the back. This used to be the refectory of the Annuellars’ College.

No.6 has an 18th century front on an older Heavitree Stone wall. No.7 is the Devon and Exeter Institution, and the article about this includes more about the interesting features of both.

Nos. 8,9,9a were part of a group of buildings around a central courtyard, from the first half of the 15th century. No.9 fronts the Close and is coursed Heavitree Stone below and half-timbering above. The arch leading to No.8, with its must-see hall, is 15th or 16th century Beer Stone. The Notaries House on the west side is also well worth a look.

Nos.10,11 also form a group. The frontage is Heavitree Stone rubble, some random, some coursed in horizontal layers. Part of the upper storey is half-timbered. The famous carved oak gate leading to a small courtyard is 17th century. Much inside is Heavitree Stone, with some half-timbering.

No.12 was probably the gatehouse for the Abbot’s Lodge behind. It was very badly damaged in the Blitz, and was almost entirely rebuilt. It has a two-storey frontage in Heavitree Stone. The Abbot’s Lodge was completely destroyed.

Finally, the former Chancellor’s House at No.15 has two parallel ranges, which contain late medieval and 16th century features but were largely rebuilt around 1740. The earlier west range has stone rubble walls below, including Heavitree Stone among others, and is half-timbered above. The north and south walls of the east range are stone rubble; the east wall has been faced in brick. The boundary wall on the east is in Heavitree Stone. As in No.6, it contains a blocked arch of volcanic trap and relieving arch of Heavitree Stone, possibly indicating a two-storey gatehouse.

And there you have it, an A-Z of Exeter in Heavitree Stone, incorporating whistle-stop tours of the City Walls and Cathedral Close! We hope you enjoyed reading, listening, and visiting.


  1. Exeter City Historic Environment Record, Close enclosure – http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1817175&resourceID=1054
  2. Exeter City Historic Environment Record, St Martin’s, 1300-1540 – http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1816788&resourceID=1054
  3. Historic England Listed Building, St Martin’s – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1169625
  4. Historic England Listed Building, No.5 – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1169638
  5. Historic England Listed Building, Nos.8,9,9a – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1306441
  6. Historic England Listed Building, No.10 – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1333331
  7. Historic England Listed Building, No.11 – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1104064
  8. Historic England Listed Building, No.12 – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1169674
  9. Historic England Listed Building, No.15 – https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1104021
  10. Historic England Pastscape, No.15 – https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=621909
  11. Exeter City Historic Environment Record, gatehouse to No.15 – http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1816407&resourceID=1054

See also: