Cathedral Close is approached from several streets and alleys off High Street, Catherine Street, Southernhay and South Street. The space is enclosed by historic buildings along Cathedral Yard and The Close.
The area of Cathedral Close, has been in the centre of Exeter, since Roman times when there was a basilica and a bath house in this area. A church was established here by the seventh century when a young Saint Boniface came from Crediton to study.
After 1283 the area was walled and seven gates into the yard were created. The gates included one at St Petrocks and the original grand entrance into the yard – Broadgate. This created the cathedral close.
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19th -20th Century
Every period of English architecture can be seen in the Close. The Cathedral used to be more enclosed and sheltered than it is today. The green on the north side dates partly from the 19th century, created after the treasurer's house attached to the north transept had been demolished in 1821.
The area to the north-west of the cathedral was opened up after the 19th-century church of St Mary Major (on the site of the Saxon minster) was demolished in 1971. Following extensive archaeological excavations the remains of the Saxon minster, the Roman basilica and bathhouse were discovered. The remains were preserved in sand and covered over.
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe was commissioned by the Dean and Chapter to design a landscape scheme for the Close. Sir Geoffrey's design extended the green over the site of the car park along Cathedral Yard, with the edge defined by a new stone boundary wall.
London planes replaced the elms lost to disease, but sadly the planes were felled in 2007.
A new processional way of shallow steps links Broad Gate to a new square at the west front of the Cathedral. The Yorkstone paving is framed by a small pebble gully edging. Portuguese granite is used for the new square. South-west of the ceremonial way, over the site of the remains of the Roman basilica and bathhouse, the slightly rising ground is laid to lawn with several copper beech trees.
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- Features & Designations
- Tree Feature
- Description: Several copper beech trees.
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Designed Urban Space
Parks, Gardens And Urban Spaces
Open to the public