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Agnes Prest — Exeter martyr — Burned at the stake in Southernhay on 15 August 1557

August 14, 2022


Today Southernhay is a leafy street of attractive Georgian town houses and modern offices just beyond Exeter’s ancient city walls. It follows the line of the great town ditch, know as the Crulditch a name which, according to Devon historian Hoskins, comes from the word crull, meaning curly, as the ditch followed the curve of the city wall.





You might just be able to make out the name Crulditch on this map of the city which was commissioned in 1587 …

Merchants, privateers and pirates on the River Dart and the Shipman of Dartmouth

June 15, 2022


Spawned from rainfall on the heights of windswept Dartmoor, two streams —the East Dart and the West Dart — gather tributaries as they gush over waterfalls and rush under ancient clapper bridges.  When they reach Dartmeet they join to become the River Dart, which then continues its tumbling descent from the moor, through the towns of Ashburton and Buckfastleigh and on towards Totnes. 




From there the wide river makes its stately progress between high wooded banks towards the sea at Dartmouth.


The Last Wishes of Katherine Raleigh

April 16, 2022

"Deare Sonnes"

On the 18th April in the year 1594 Katherine Raleigh lay in her bed at a house close to the Palace Gate, near Exeter Cathedral. She called for her grandson Arthur Gilbert and others to witness her last will and testament.  As she lay, probably very near death, Katherine’s overriding concern was to see all her accounts on earth settled and her faithful servants properly rewarded “to the uttermost farthings”.

In a poignant document which she addresses to her “Deare sonnes” Katherine asks that outstanding accounts with the apothecary, the butcher and the tailor who …

Berry Pomeroy - searching for an Elizabethan lady

April 01, 2022

It’s not hard to understand why the ruins at Berry Pomeroy Castle are listed among the most haunted sites in England. Even on a bright March day the stone walls seem to hold echoes of the footsteps of those who walked here long ago. The ragged turrets reach up to a clear blue sky and sunlight streams through gaping holes where finely glazed windows once glittered.  













But even in this clear …

Catherine of Aragon - Tudor Style Icon and Power Dresser - Farthingales, blackwork embroidery and sumptuous fabrics

April 01, 2022


When fifteen year old Catherine of Aragon arrived at Plymouth at 3 o’clock on the afternoon of 2 October 1501 she must have caused quite a stir.  Imagine the scene when the lovely young woman stepped off the ship accompanied by all her ladies wearing the latest Spanish fashions. The people of Plymouth and the great and good of the West Country thronged the streets, excited to set eyes on the foreign princess who had travo far to marry King Henry Tudor’s heir.  How impressed they must have been by …