"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on September 30, 2019 by Sioux under General
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We took to the road again after lunch, and stopped in Exeter to visit the cathedral. Walking from where we had parked our car, we passed by, but never went in to The Sacred Heart Church, a Roman Catholic Parish church in Exeter, built in 1883. The site of the church was previously the Bear Tavern, which was also the town house of the abbots of Tavistock Abbey. Before the church was built, Roman Catholics congregated for Mass in rooms of private homes.

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The Exeter cathedral is also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter. The ancient city is mentioned as early as the year 45, with the original Anglican church being founded in 1050, however the current building was only completed in the year 1400. It houses an astronomical clock and, because there is no centre tower, Exeter Cathedral has the longest uninterrupted medieval vaulted ceiling in the world, stretching about 96m in length. Like most English cathedrals, the cathedral suffered some damage during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but not as much as it would have done had it been a monastic foundation. Further damage was done during the Civil War, when the cloisters were destroyed.

During WW2, the city of Exeter was the targets of a German air offensive which became known as the “Baedeker Blitz”. In 1942 the cathedral sustained a direct hit during an early-morning air raid, completely demolishing the chapel of St James.

 

Many of the cathedral’s most important artefacts and other precious documents from the library had been removed in anticipation of such an attack. Repairs have since uncovered portions of earlier structures, including remains of the Roman city and of the original Norman cathedral.

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The tomb of Dorothy, Lady Dodderidge is a wonderful example of an early 17th century tomb. It bears the effigy of Dorothy, Lady Dodderidge. Shown reclining on a cushion, she is cradling a skull, a classic “memento mori” symbol reminding us of our mortality.

This monument was erected in 1589 to Sir Gawen Carew, a well known nobleman and prominent figure in the history of the Exeter region.

The largest religious building in Devon, the cathedral has many magnificent features including spectacular Gothic architecture, a large collection of tombs and memorials, fine carvings, ornate chapels, brass ledgers and medieval stained glass.

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In 1665 a local Exeter organ builder created what has become one of the most distinctive and striking organ cases ever built. In over three hundred years the organ in Exeter Cathedral has been expanded and updated to meet the ever changing musical demands of a working Cathedral. Now containing over 4000 pipes, the organ is played from a console of four manuals and pedals which are situated on the central ‘pulpitum’ screen.

Sir Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd/10th Earl of Devon played an important role in the Hundred Years War in the service of King  Edward III. He died in 1377 aged 73, and was buried in Exeter Cathedral on the same day. He fathered eight sons and nine daughters. On the ornately decorated tomb are effigies of the Earl and his and wife.

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The fifteenth-century astronomical clock displays the hour of the day, the day of the lunar month and the phase of the moon. The modern clock mechanism was installed in 1885 and restored in 1910.

Both of the Cathedral’s towers contain bells. In the North Tower is a 4.1-tonne bell, called Peter, which used to swing but is now only chimed.

 

It also contains two clock bells which sound the quarter hours. The South Tower contains the second heaviest peal of 12 bells in the world and are second only to bells in the Liverpool Cathedral in weight. There are also two semitone bells in addition to the peal of 12.

We left Exeter in the early afternoon and continued on our journey to the Devon coastal town of Torquay.

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