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Exeter’s oldest building becomes community asset

Published: 4 September 2018

St Nicholas Priory St Nicholas Priory

A ceremony takes place on Friday to mark the formal handover of Exeter’s oldest building to the Exeter Historic Buildings Trust (EHBT) as a community asset.

St Nicholas Priory, which dates from 1087, has been owned by the City Council for almost 100 years.

The building will be managed by the EHBT to ensure it continues to be protected and maintained in the future.

Lord Mayor of Exeter Cllr Rob Hannaford will collect the yearly rent for the building during a ceremony on Friday, September 7 - a loaf of baked bread.

Chair of the Trust, Professor David Radstone, said: “It is a privilege to be the Chairman of EHBT at this exciting time.

“EHBT will be managing the Priory as a community asset. We would like to place on record our appreciation of all the help and support that the staff of both the City Council and the RAMM have given us to make this reopening possible.

“We have many volunteers who will nurture the building, the gardens, and its 1,000 year heritage. We already welcome local meetings, yoga groups, craft fairs, choirs, musicians, theatrical players and prayer groups. Please come and join in the fun.”

Exeter Lord Mayor Cllr Rob Hannaford said: “We are delighted to see this historic building protected as a community asset by the Exeter Historic Building Trust. It really is a hidden treasure and is well worth a visit for anyone who has never done so. The volunteers who run the EHBT do a superb job, and we are grateful for the work they do in promoting interest in the city’s rich history.

“St Nicholas Priory is already used by a number of groups and I look forward to EHBT developing its plans for its future use.”

Exeter City Council is formally passing the 11th Century priory to the trust on Friday, at 10.30am.

The Lord Mayor will hand over the front door key, and in return Professor Radstone will give him a baked loaf, which is the yearly rent.

Situated off Fore Street in Exeter city centre, St Nicholas Priory is the oldest standing building in the city, dating from the 11th Century.

Founded in 1087 by William the Conqueror, it was home to Benedictine monks for over 400 years. In 1536, like other monasteries, it was closed and the remains became the home of wealthy Tudor merchants.

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