Exeter, United Kingdom



Exeter, United Kingdom

One of Devon’s historical centers, it is the ceremonial county of Devon. Residing on the River Exe (37 miles NE of Plymouth and 70 miles SW of Bristol). The name “Exeter” comes from latin ‘Exeter, Isca Dumnoniorum (‘Isca of the Dumnones’)’ that suggests Celtic origins as this important town ‘oppidum’ on the banks of the ‘Exe’ River existed before the Roman city foundations of 50 CE. There is a place in Exeter where a dry ridge of land ends in a spur overlooking the river full of fish with fertile land nearby that attracted many people here in the past as a site for habitation – so its theorized the area was settled very early. Early coins found in the area show a settlement existed here trading with Mediterranean culture as early as 250 BCE. Isca is derived from the Brythonic Celtic word for “Flowing Water” which was given to the “Exe” clearly showing the modern Welsh names for Exeter (Caer-wysg) and the River Usk (Afon Wysg) contribute to the name’s origins. Romans gave the name “Isca Dumnoniorum” to distinguish it from “Isca Augusta” or mdoern Caerleon. Alot of Roman remains are left in the city including the city wall and roman baths complex even though buried from the tourist’s eyes. Over 1,000 Roman coins have been discovered in the city leading to the belief of a heavy emphasis on trading in the city’s early history. No coins dated after 380 CE were found – so that evidentally changed through time. This was the southwestern most Roman fortified settlement in Britain. Romans left the city in early 5th c. CE and Exeter’s history vanishes for about 270 years until 680 CE when a document about St. Boniface surfaces stating he was educated at the Abbey in Exeter. Saxons came to Exeter after defeating the Britons at the ‘Battle of Peonnum’ in Somerset at 658 CE afterwhich it is presumed the Saxons and the Britons lived together in the city under their own laws. 876 CE (Exeter was called ‘Escanceaster’ at this time) was attacked and taken over by the Danes. 877 CE – Alfred the Great drove the Danes out of town until they re-sieged the city in 893 CE. 928 King Athelstan ensured the Roman defense walls of the city were completely repaired and then drove out all the Britons from the city sending them beyond the River Tamar and fixing the river as the boundary of Devonshire. 1001 the Danes were pushed out again, but plundered Exeter in 1003 CE as they were mistakenly allowed into the city by the French reeve of Emma of Normandy who had been granted the city as part of her marriage dowry to Aethelred the Unready. 1067 AD – saw a rebellion against William the Conqueror who laid siege and after 18 days accepted the city’s surrender including an oath from him not to harm the city or increase its ancient tribute. William set out to construct the Rougemont Castle to ensure the city’s compliance in the future. Saxon properties were then transferred to Norman hands, and after the 1072 CE Bishop Leofric death – Norman Osbern FitzOsbern became successor of the city. 1136 saw more siege after the three wells in the castle ran dry and the large supplies of wine in the garrison were exhausted from being used as a replacement for the non-existent water. 1213 the Weekly Medieval markets came to be hosting up to three markets per week, seven annual fairs, all of which continue to this day. 12th century its Cathedral became Anglican at the time of the 16th century Reformation. 1537 the city was made a county corporate. 1549 it successfully withstood a month-long siege by the Prayer Book rebels. Exeter was originally a parliamentary town in the English Civil War but was captured by Royalists in September of 1643. During this time it became economically powerful with a strong trade of wool because the area was ‘more fertile and better inhabited than that passed over the preceding day’ according to Count Lorenzo Magalotti when he visited and stated there were over 30,000 employed inhabitants as part of the wool and cloth industries. Celie Fiennes account of her visit stated much the same that Exeter was popular for trade and incredible quantity of merchandise holds. Business declined during the Industrial Revolution when steam power replaaced water in the 19th century and Exeter was too far from coal/iron to develop any further. Extensive canal redevelopments took place to expand Exeter’s economy. The first rail to arrive was the Bristol and Exeter Railway opened up at St. Davids on the western edge in 1844. South Devon Railway extended service to Plymouth, as well as the London and Southwestern railway coming in 1860 to create alternate routes to London. 1832 the area was struck with an epidemic of ‘pestilence cholera’. Exeter became rampaged by the German Luftwaffe in WWII with a total of 18 raids from 1940-1942 flattening most of the city center and a good portion of its historic structures. The 1950’s saw a massive rebuilding but very little attempt to preserve its ancient heritage. By the late 1900’s and early 2000’s – Exeter became a significant tourist trade city in England but is not dominated by tourism. Population in 2001 was estimated at 111,076. In May 2008 there was an attempted terrorist attack on the Giraffe cafe in Princesshay. Exeter is one of the top ten places for a successful and profitable business to be based. With good transportation links, merging St. David’s railway, Exeter Centeral railway station, M5 motorway, and Exeter International Airport – connectivity to the world is done here. The town is also notorious for backpackers.

 

 

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