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|UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND|
|Region: South West England|
|Shire County: Devon|
Exeter is situated at an elevation of 25 m on he river Exe, a few kilometers from its estuary into the English Channel. Exeter is the capital of county Devon and has a population of about 115,000 (2004).
Exeter Cathedral [left], dedicated to St. Peter, was founded in 1050 when the seat of the bishop of Devon and Cornwall was transferred from Crediton because of a fear of sea-raids. The new cathedral in Norman style was begun in 1133. In the 13th century the building was already recognized as outmoded, and it was rebuilt in the Decorated Gothic style, following the example of nearby Salisbury. However, much of the Norman building was kept, including the two massive square towers and part of the walls. The new cathedral was complete by about 1400, apart from the addition of the chapter house and chantry chapels. Like most English cathedrals, Exeter suffered during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but not as much as it would have done had it been a monastic foundation. Further damage was done during the English Civil War, when the cloisters were destroyed. Following the restoration of Charles II, a magnificent new pipe organ was built in the cathedral by John Loosemore. During the Victorian era, some refurbishment was carried out by George Gilbert Scott. The bombing of the city in World War II caused considerable damage to the cathedral, including the loss of most of the stained glass. Subsequent repairs and the clearance of the area around the western end of the building uncovered portions of earlier structures, including remains of the Roman city and of the original Norman cathedral. Notable features of the interior include the great clock, the minstrels' gallery, and the ceiling bosses, one of which depicts the murder of Thomas Becket (St. Thomas of Canterbury). Because there is no centre tower, Exeter Cathedral has the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England. [Text adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exeter_Cathedral]
The Latin name for Exeter, Isca Dumnoniorum, suggests that the city was originally a Celtic oppidum, or town, prior to the foundation of the Roman city
in about AD 50. Isca Dumnoniorum was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in England. Significant parts of the Roman wall remain, though the
present visible structure was largely built on the orders of Alfred the Great to protect the far west of his kingdom following the Viking occupation of 876.
In 876 Exanceaster was attacked and captured by the Danes. King Alfred drove them out the next year. In 894 the city stood off another siege by Danes.
However, the city fell to the Danes a second time in 1001. In 1067 the city rebelled against William the Conqueror who promptly marched West and laid siege.
The city submitted after only 18 days. Exeter was held against King Stephen in 1140 and submitted only after a three month siege when the supplies of fresh water ran out.
In 1537 the city was made a county corporate and in 1549 it successfully withstood a month-long siege by the Prayer Book rebels. The city's motto, Semper fidelis,
is traditionally held to have been suggested by Elizabeth I, in acknowledgement of the city's contribution of ships for the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
Exeter was at first a Parliamentary town in the English Civil War in the largely Royalist South West, but it was captured by the Royalists on 4 September 1643 and
it remained in their control until near the end of the war, being one of the final Royalist cities to fall into Parliamentary hands.
Early in the English industrial revolution, Exeter's industry developed on the basis of locally available agricultural products and, since the city's location on a
fast-flowing river gave it ready access to water power, an early industrial site developed on drained marshland to the west of the city, at Exe Island. However, when
steam power replaced water in the nineteenth century, Exeter was too far from sources of coal (or iron) to develop further. As a result the city declined in relative
importance, and was spared the rapid nineteenth century development that changed many historic European cities. Extensive canal redevelopments during this period further
expanded Exeter's economy. The first railway to arrive in Exeter was the Bristol and Exeter Railway that opened a station in 1844.
Exeter was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in World War , when a total of 18 raids between 1940 and 1942 flattened much of the city centre. In 1942 and specifically
in response to the RAF bombing of Lübeck, forty acres (160,000 m²) of the city were levelled by incendiary bombing.
Large areas of the city were rebuilt in the 1950s.
[Text adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exeter]