Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The History of Exe Island, Exeter

Sat. 30 April 2022 at 10:00 am


This event was originally planned for May 2021, but has been rescheduled due to COVID-19.
This event has been fully booked since February 2022.

A Seminar on the history of Exe Island.

This seminar is the first to be dedicated in its entirety to the history of an artificial island at Exeter – known as Exe Island – from its creation in medieval times through to the present day.

Morning at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Gallery 20. (Queen Street, Exeter)
  • 10:00 – 10:30 am: Registration and coffee
  • 10:30 – 1.00 pm: Five morning talks

1.00 – 2.30 pm: Lunch (at participants own cost and choice of eateries)

Afternoon – assemble at ‘The House that Moved’ (at the bottom of West Street, opposite Matthew the Miller clock)  

  •  2.30 – 5.00 pm: Four ‘rotational’ guided walks (to examine the medieval Exe Bridge, Cricklepit Mill, Frog Street and Tudor House)

The five morning talks will be given by leading experts in their respective fields. The scene will first be set with a look at the nature of the River Exe channel belt at Exeter prior to the Romans, when the river was much wider and shallower than today. This will be followed by a summary of the construction and development of the first stone bridge over the Exe in c. 1200, and an overview of Exe Island’s leats and mills which lay the foundation for Exeter’s industrial development: Exe Island’s heyday involved the lucrative cloth trade, which peaked around 1700. Finally, a series of reconstruction drawings will give successive ‘bird’s eye’ views of Exe Island urbanisation through to the Georgian era. Exe Island’s industrial and archaeological legacy thereafter declined.

The talks at the morning session will be given by Jenny Bennett, Bill Harvey, John Allan, Martin Watts, Todd Gray and Richard Parker.

In the afternoon, the guided walks will examine: the unearthed segment of the medieval Exe Bridge; the restored Cricklepit Mill; the remnants of Frog Street following the slum clearances of the 1930s and extensive road building; and Tudor House with its ornate, slate-clad façade.

These walks will be led by John Allan, Bill Harvey, Martin Watts and Richard Parker and will run in parallel, each starting and ending at the late medieval Grade II-listed ‘House that Moved’. Participants will thus have the chance to join more than one of them. The ‘House that Moved’ is located at the bottom of West Street, opposite Matthew the Miller clock.

A 3-D model of the medieval Exe Bridge has been created by Bill Harvey, one of the speakers at the morning session. It can be viewed on the Sketchfab website, here (opens in a new tab). Note that a relatively powerful computer processor/video card and a recent web browser are required for the best results.

A copiously illustrated booklet was published by the Devonshire Association to accompany the Exe Island Seminar. For full details and how to purchase a copy see this page.

This seminar was conceived by The Devonshire Association and realised in cooperation with the Devon Archaeological Society and the Friends of RAMM.


Sat. 30 April 2022
10:00 am
Event Categories:
, ,


DA Registrar
07742 148865


Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Queen Street
Exeter, Devon