The remains of the Medieval College of the
Vicars Choral at Kalendarhay, Cathedral Yard can be seen on
the eastern side of South Street (directly opposite the former
site of St George's Church, now a KFC - see below), and formerly
extending through to the western flank of the cathedral). The
college probably predated the present cathedral. The Kalendar
Brethren were a guild of cathedral clergy and Exeter's lay
people, established about 1140 (possibly 1030).
The Kalendar Brethren were a voluntary organisation,
performing charitable work and holding religious services. Initially
they used both St Peter Minor and St Paul for services before
switching to St Mary Major (see links). They built their guildhall
and almshouses next to this church, forming a medieval college in
what became 'Kalendarhay'. Decline set in after the English Civil
War, although the entire complex survived intact until 1850 when the
city began piecemeal demolition.
The Church of St George the Martyr stood
on the western side of South Street, directly opposite the Vicars
Choral dining hall (see above). The doorway shown here itself stands
in the Vicars Choral grounds, but originally came from the west wall
of St George's. An early Saxon church of about the 800s, it backed
onto St George's Street to the west (the former alleyway on its
southern flank was also St George's). The tower was at that end and
the chancel fronted South Street.
The course rubble masonry chancel and single
aisle nave were rebuilt in the 1300s, but this red-stone church was
demolished in 1843. Ostensibly this was for road-widening, Exeter's
standard excuse to remove inconvenient buildings. Parts of the north
and west walls were incorporated into new buildings. These in turn
were exposed by bombing in 1942. The doorway was moved to its present
site on the opposite side of the road in 1954. A KFC now occupies
the old site.
St Mary Arches Church stands at the
north-eastern corner of Mary Arches Street and a small L-shaped
back lane, around forty metres north of the Fore Street junction.
More formally dedicated as St Mary the Virgin Church, this
red sandstone medieval building is thought to be the only church
in Devon to retain its Norman arches, and was only one of four
to be kept open during the authoritarian years of the Commonwealth
when strict worship was enforced.
It was built in the twelfth century, the 'arches'
epithet perhaps deriving from a medieval arched thoroughfare here.
It has undergone various renovations over the centuries without them
harming its general appearance. Damaged by fire in 1942's bombing, it
was repaired and remained in use as the diocesan education office.
In 2012 the church was rebranded as the Unlimited Church
which attempts to make modern worship accessible and relevant for
Exeter Synagogue lies behind Elm House on
the eastern side of Mary Arches Street. One Jacob Monis from Padua
was apparently the first Jew since the banishment of 1290 to return
to Exeter (by 1724). Further groups followed and in 1757 they leased
land to form the Jewish Burial Ground (see links). In 1763 a small
plot of land was leased behind St Mary Arches (above) in what is now
Synagogue Place. The present synagogue was opened on 10 August 1764.
St Cuthbert's Church is presumed to have
stood at the south-western corner of North Street and Bartholomew
Street East, close to the city's North Gate at the southern end of
Iron Bridge. A medieval parochial church within a larger parish, its
date of construction seems unknown. It may have been built into the
North Gate itself, and came down when that was demolished in 1769.
Today the eastern end of Mary Arches Street multi-storey car park
occupies the site.
St Kerrian's Church stood on the east side
of North Street (where the ramp now stands), and perhaps some metres
north of the Waterbeer Street junction (see below) rather than
immediately alongside it. It is first mentioned in 1194 as 'Capella
Sancti Kerani', although the subject of that dedication is open to
question, there being several saints whose names could be corrupted
into 'Kerrian'. Despite being rebuilt in 1818, St Kerrian
was demolished in 1878.
Little Meeting (Plymouth Brethren) was
located along Waterbeer Street, now the east-west walkway through
Guildhall Shopping Precinct. Following the Declaration of Indulgence
in 1687 and the Toleration Act of 1689, amongst the earliest
nonconformist meetings in Exeter were James' Meeting, Bow Meeting,
and Little Meeting - the 'Three United Congregations of Presbyterian
Protestant Dissenters'. Little Meeting closed shortly after 1750
All photos on this page by P L Kessler. Additional
information from Discovering Exeter 7: Lost Churches, Exeter
Civic Society, 1995, from Two Thousand Years in Exeter, W G
Hoskins, from Exeter Churches, Edith Cresswell, from The
Route Book of Devon, Anonymous, Henry Besley of Exeter (Second
Edition), circa 1846, and from Nonconformity in Exeter,
1650-1875, Allan Brockett.