Day 5: Exeter – Whirlwind Tour in the Cathedral and Library

Guest post by Meaghan Wilson.

Exterior of Exeter Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral is absolutely beautiful, we took A LOT of photos.  

Yesterday, we visited the beautiful Cathedral in Exeter! We began our morning with an early train ride to Exeter; the hour and a half trip provided an opportunity to see the rather picturesque countryside of Britain.

Once we arrived at the Cathedral we were given a delightfully informative tour by Ellie, the archivist at Exeter’s library and archive. She explained the history of the Cathedral and of many of the people interred there; she also pointed out little quirks of the Cathedral, such as the myriad of owls hidden in Hugh Oldham’s chapel, and the cat door for the Cathedral cats. A piece of interesting trivia Ellie shared is that the library was moved within the Cathedral 5 times in its history! It has only been quite recently that the library, now combined with the archives, had been moved to its current space in the west wing of the Bishop’s Palace.

One of the most amazing things we saw in the Cathedral was the enormous pipe organ! It takes about 18 months just to clean and tune it!

Pipe Organ at Exeter Cathedral
The pipe organ is astoundingly massive and high up; there was much gaping in awe.

After the tour, we went to the library, where the librarian and archivist had a few items from their amazing collection out for us to view, two of which were the Exon Domesday book and the Exeter book, which is an Anglo-Saxon book that contains poems and riddles.

Inside the archive at Exeter Cathedral
They have such an amazing collection!
The Exeter Book
The Exeter Book, in beautiful condition

While we only had a few hours in Exeter, the staff at the library and archives did a wonderful job giving a comprehensive tour, showing us some of their prized items in the archive, and answering many of our questions. We are so grateful that they took so much time to accommodate us.

After we completed our time in the library and archives, we had a lunch in the Cathedral Café that they had kindly prepared for us in advance.

Once we returned to Bristol, we had free time to roam as we wanted. A number of people visited a pub on a moored boat. Kelsey Diemand and I returned to the St. Nicholas street market for falafel and liquid nitrogen ice cream, which we both enjoyed immensely!

Follow up later tonight for news of our trip to Hereford Cathedral and our final day in Bristol!

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