St. Nicholas Priory (Defunct)

Photo added by Samuel Taylor Geer

St. Nicholas Priory (Defunct)

Exeter, City of Exeter, Devon, England Add to Map
Memorials 3 added (33% photographed)

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Built in 1087, by the monks of Battle Abbey, it was dissolved in 1536, and most of the monastic buildings were destroyed, including the chapter house range, cloisters, and the church. The domestic buildings survived, however, and were sold into private hands by the crown. During the following century part of the domestic quarters was converted into a fashionable Tudor town house.

Over time the Tudor building was subdivided and altered, serving both as a dwelling and as shops. In 1913 the city government bought the Priory and restored it as a public museum. The focus of the museum was originally on its medieval origins, but more recently the Priory has been restored once more and now reflects its history as a Tudor house.
Highlights include the medieval kitchen, rebuilt in the 15th century but now laid out as it would have been during the Tudor period. Then there is the parlour, still with its original plasterwork ceiling. While the plasterwork is original, the oak panelling is reproduced, using an authentic Tudor pattern and hand-made paint.
Over the parlour is a chamber for guests, with an arch-braced 15th century timber roof and a 15th century garderobe in one corner. Also on the first floor is the Great Chamber, where the Prior entertained important guests. The chamber retains its 15th century timber roof, oak screen, and fireplace, and you can still see traces of painted arabesques in several places around the room.
The oldest part of the Priory is the vaulted cellar, built around AD 1100 and used by the Cellerar of St Nicholas Priory to store food. The cellar is supported on 2 huge Norman pillars, which rise to diagonal ribs, one of the earliest uses of this type of vaulting in England.


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  • Added: 7 May 2012
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2448380