Holy Trinity 'Shoemakers' stood on what is
now Musgrave Row, behind the High Street. It would have been on the
eastern side of Musgrave's Alley, the short north-south passage with
associated dense housing which reached the High Street (shown here),
between Lloyd's Bank and Jessops. Musgrave's Alley was originally
known as Trinity Lane for the church which existed in 1200 and
survived until it was transferred to Dissenter use after 1711 (see
Christ Church Old Church has a debatable
location, either closer to the High Street than Holy Trinity (above)
or further back. Either way it was very close, perhaps holding land
up to Holy Trinity itself. It seems to have existed by the late
1000s and perhaps even came to be physically merged into a single
enlarged Holy Trinity in later years. The medieval map here shows a
substantial structure immediately behind St Lawrence (below), just
off the High Street (both circled).
Musgrave's Alley Chapel stood on what is
now Musgrave Row, on the eastern side of the short north-south
section at its centre - this was formerly part of Musgrave's Alley
which reached the High Street (see above). The present
stone-surrounded doorway to the BT centre is noted by SW Heritage as
'doorway to chapel', seemingly the chapel's only surviving remnant.
Presbyterians began worshipping here in what had been Holy Trinity
(above) at a point in the 1700s.
Wesleyan Methodists took it over from the
'seceding Presbyterians' in 1779, expanding it after John Wesley
himself had visited and the congregation moved from 'Ten Cells'. In
this period the chapel was often called Gidley's Meeting. The
Bible Christians were using it around 1840 (prior to taking over
'Market Hall' from the Brethren), and the Baptists around 1890
(perhaps prior to joining the expanded 'South Street'). Musgrave's
Alley was destroyed by bombing in 1942.
St Lawrence Old Church once sat on the
northern side of the High Street, about forty metres west of the
modern junction with Castle Street. This illustration is a postcard
facsimile of a drawing from Worth's Art Gallery, tentatively dated
to the 1920s (probably a publication date as the costumes are
clearly Victorian). It existed by 1202 and possibly predated the
Norman takeover in 1066. After passing though other hands, it fell
under the control of nearby St John's Hospital.
The church's fabric was largely replaced in the
fifteenth century and also by later modifications. The south (High
Street) wall was rebuilt in 1674, and the west wall in 1830. Brice,
writing in the 1760s, commented that the church's High Street wall
was often used as a public convenience, a city centre problem that
still persists! The church was burnt out during the city's worst
bombing raid of the war, on 4 May 1942. The basic fabric survived
but in 1946 this was cleared away.
The chapel of St Mary in the Castle once
stood at the north-east corner of the present lodge, in the western
corner of the castle grounds. Shown here is a steel line engraving
of the by-then lost chapel by C J Sprake in 1831. The first castle
worthy of the name on the site is recorded as having been built by
Athelstan. This was destroyed by Danes in 1003. In 1068 William the
Conqueror, after having besieged Exeter, selected Rougemont as the
site of a strong, new castle.
John Norden's 1617 plan of the castle shows the
chapel at 'L' (thanks to George Oliver's annotations of 1861), with
the main entrance into the castle grounds being the modern Castle
Street. The chapel consisted of nave and chancel and was founded
some time in the first half of the twelfth century. Described as
a small building it survived until 1774 or 1792 (sources conflict),
by which time the castle was being used by the county as Devon County
court and gaol.
The precise location of Castle Lane
Meeting is unknown. It lay on Castle Lane (shown here on
Roque's 1744 map of Exeter, with the High Gaol and Castle Chapel
(above) also visible and with Castle Lane and the gaol highlighted.
Castle Lane was later straightened as Castle Street while much of
the lane became Old/Little Castle Street. There are no surviving
records for the meeting, but it existed by 1691 under John Ashwood,
survivor of the Monmouth Rebellion.
Ashwood moved to London about 1698. Early in the
1700s Rev James Pierce introduced 'new notions' which failed to find
favour with many members. He resigned and took some of them with him
to a new meeting house in Mint Lane by 1720. While the site of the
Castle Lane meeting is uncertain, a small chapel-like building next
to the later Castle Street Chapel (to the right of this photo - see
links) looks very chapel-like, if somewhat Georgian (and therefore
Five photos on this page by P L Kessler. Additional
information from Discovering Exeter 7: Lost Churches, Exeter
Civic Society, 1995, from The City of Exeter in the County of
Devon map, Historic Cities Research Project, from The Route
Book of Devon, Anonymous, Henry Besley of Exeter (Second
Edition), circa 1846, and from Nonconformity in Exeter,
1650-1875, Allan Brockett.