A Brief History of Exeter

The Quayside on the River Exe

A Brief History of Exeter


I tend to think that knowing a bit about the history of a place helps to understand it a bit better, and so for those of you who think like me, here’s a list of dates that have made an impact on the city.


  • 200 BC – A Celtic tribe known as the Dumnonii were the first people to settle near the River Exe (Exe being Celtic for ‘The Water’)
  • AD 49 –  The Romans arrived under Vespasian and created a fortress called Isca Dumnoniorum.
  • AD 410 –  The Romans left Britain and the Saxons moved into the ‘Ceaster’ (the Saxon name for a Roman town) and called it Exe-Ceaster.
  • 1000 –  Exeter had become the 6th most prosperous town in England 
  • 1068 –  William the Conqueror built Rougemont Castle after a rebellion against him.
  • 1114 –  Work started work on the Cathedral.
  • 1497 –  Perkin Warbeck rebellion
  • 1549 –  Prayer Book Rebellion
  • 16th-18th century – The woollen industry brings prosperity to the city
  • 1643 – Exeter which supported the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, surrenders to the Royalists
  • 1942 – During April and May the city suffered bombing during the Baedecker Blitz

The list isn’t exhaustive, but a starting point for further research for anyone wishing to find out more. I highly recommend David Cornforth’s excellent Exeter Memories


Remains of the old Roman and City Wall
Tucker's Hall
Rougemont Castle Gatehouse
Old meets new
Old meets new
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2 thoughts on “A Brief History of Exeter

    1. Malcolm Post author

      It’s just a quick history of Exeter but the Baedecker Blitz is not familiar to everybody that’s for sure.
      Thanks for taking a look


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