Skip to main content
06th March 2013

Exeter’s commemorative book to be published in November

A message from the Rector:

Exeter College: The First 700 Years

Kelmscott Chaucer illuminated manuscript


Exeter’s anniversary book, Exeter: The First 700 Years, will be published in November this year.

I am delighted to report that work on the book has been proceeding with great energy on many fronts. Brilliant new photography by Exonian Hugh Palmer (1970, Lit Hum) captures the very essence of today’s Exeter, including details which the most avid Exonian may not have previously encountered. And a fascinating piece of architectural research by Hannah Parham (2001, Modern History) unveils the College as it once was and how it developed, and – even more interestingly – how it might have been.

Stained glass window at Exeter College library


Beginning with our Founder, Walter de Stapeldon, a dynamic and ambitious medieval churchman whose rise to wealth and power came to an unfortunate and sudden end at the hands of the London mob, the book goes on to trace the impact of our equally dynamic re-Founder and munificent benefactor, Sir William Petre – who was, like Stapeldon, a farmer’s son from Devon, but who, by contrast, astutely survived at the heart of state affairs under four Tudor monarchs.

Sir William Petre


Amid all this, College life is reflected, initially in glimpses during the medieval period, but in more detail in subsequent centuries. Thanks to photography drawn from our own archives, more and more human faces are seen in College, whether as servants, Fellows or undergraduates. From the 20th and 21st centuries, reminiscences and accounts from alumni – including Alan Bennett (1954, History), Philip Pullman (1965, English) and Martin Amis (1968, English) – recount the Exeter experience decade by decade.

1971 Summer Eights


There is so much more to tell, from College muniments and treasures to the beautiful interior details of our magnificent Chapel, now fully restored and universally recognised for the Victorian masterpiece it is – but you must await publication of this lavishly illustrated volume to find out.

Exeter College Chapel interior


There is still time (until 16 August 2013) to order the book in advance at a substantial discount from the published price, with the added incentive of being able to list your name (or someone nominated by you) as a subscriber – an enduring record of an intimate bond with the College. This splendidly produced book has been a labour of love for all concerned, and I am certain that Exonians of every vintage will find it a volume to treasure.

Student trashing


Floreat Exon

Frances Cairncross


You can subscribe to Exeter: The First 700 Years at the publisher’s website, here

You can also read more about the book, and view images from the College archives and from photographer Hugh Palmer, here.

Share this article