Exeter Town Walls

Exeter Town Walls ©Fortified Britain 2020

 

Exeter has its origins before the Romans came, however, they are responsible for the main city walls that survive in sections today. The Roman ditch became known as the Town Ditch in later centuries. The walls measured approx. 2.35 km in length and included towers and gates.

During the Saxon Period the walls were improved and repaired a number of times.

There are only a few sections of the walls remaining which measure up to 2.5 m high. Following is a very short description of the city gates;

South Gate

    • 17m wide, included 2 towers
    • 880-895 rebuilt
    • Strongest of the gates
    • 1420-1420 rebuilt
    • Used as a prison
    • 1819 demolished
    • Foundations still survive

 

Westgate

    • Square tower
    • Main entrance to the city
    • The Kings Arms were displayed above the arch
    • The River Ex used to run right up to it
    • 1529-1529 Repaired
    • 1815 taken down

 

Northgate

    • 1376-1377 repaired
    • 1457-1458 Repaired
    • 1558-1559 Repaired to the tenements over the gate
    • 1769 taken down

 

Eastgate

    • Had 2 round towers
    • c.1200 included a small chapel
    • 1361 -1362 repaired
    • 1457 in ruins, partially fell down
    • 1497 damaged
    • c.1511 century rebuilt
    • Foundations survive

 

Watergate/Quaygate

    • 1565 built into the south corner
    • 1579-1580 extensive repairs
    • 1815 taken down

 

The town has a valuable and colourful history, and its walls are amazing, standing to the height they do today – a testament to the builders of the past.

 

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