“COURAGE IS NOT THE TOWERING OAK
THAT SEES STORMS COME AND GO.
IT IS THE FRAGILE BLOSSOM THAT OPENS IN THE SNOW”
Alice Mackenzie Swaim
It was such a pretty winter morning as I walked through the Cathedral Close in Exeter (Devon, England) when the snow was white and powdery (a couple of years ago).
One of Exeter’s most popular and well-known ‘places to see’ is St Peters Cathedral. The cathedral, which dominates the close and the city’s skyline, was built 1114 Norman times and its present form was finished around 1375. The two magnificent towers are the main survivors of the original construction.
You are greeted once inside the cathedral by the longest unbroken Gothic vault ceiling in the world with its splendid sculptured bosses. One of these bosses from 1350 shows the murder of Thomas a` Becket. Amongst the many other sights to see within the Exeter Cathedral are the Minstrel’s Gallery of twelve angels playing musical instruments and the Bishops Throne both dating back to around 1315.
Outside beneath the cathedral’s green, a Roman bathhouse lies hidden. Excavated in the 1970’s after its rediscovery – it was then subsequently wrapped and recovered a few years later. This bathhouse was built by the Roman Army and used by its soldiers of the Second Augustan Legion. There have been talks over the years to re-excavate the area for permanent public display.
Also within the Cathedral Close are Mol’s Coffee House, once frequented by Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, The Royal Clarence Hotel which was the first Inn in England to be called a ‘Hotel’, and the Bishop of Crediton’s house. Other fine period buildings in this area sell crafts, gifts, books, paintings and antiques.