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Find out how Exeter’s oldest building was saved from the ruins

Published: 24 August 2023

Find out how Exeter’s oldest building was saved from the ruins St Nicholas Priory

The story of how Exeter’s oldest building was saved from near ruins and lovingly restored will be told at a fascinating talk early next month.

A talk by Ben Clapp from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 7 September will tell the tale of how St Nicholas Priory – founded in by Willian the Conqueror in 1087 – was rebuilt during the First World War.

The talk and following tour will discuss the foresight of the City Council and its officers in striving to save what was then a 'mere rookery of tenements'. It will explore the role that the architects played in the ground-breaking restoration, which left the building as one of the jewels of Exeter's heritage and the gifting of much of the contents by various dignitaries upon opening. Organisers will also be replicating the 1916 grand opening.

St Nicholas Priory is Exeter’s oldest building where heritage, culture and creativity meet. After being founded as a priory it was later turned into a rich merchant’s town house.

The Priory is now owned and managed by Exeter Historic Building Trust (EHBT) and receives funding from the City Council. It has been made accessible to the public to visit.

People can explore the Priory for free on Sundays and Mondays, or join in many events throughout the year including a private tour, school visit or even get married there.

Tickets for the talk cost £15 and can be booked on the St Nicholas Priory website at 

Alternatively email or pay on the door.

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