Bishop’s Throne

The magnificent Bishop’s Throne is one of the greatest treasures of medieval woodwork in Europe. It was made in the early 14th century using local Devon oak and is 18m (59ft) tall. The cathedral records contain details about the felling of the trees and the preparation of the timber.

Small traces of original white and gold paint were found when the later layers of paint were removed in the 19th century.

Many bishops have sat in this ceremonial seat and on one occasion it was used by a future King of England. After landing in Brixham, Prince William of Orange entered Exeter on 9 November 1688. He came to the cathedral where he occupied the Bishop’s Throne while his declaration of peaceful intent was read. Less than two months later William and his wife Mary were declared joint rulers as King William III and Queen Mary II.

Fortunately the Bishop’s Throne was dismantled and removed from the cathedral during World War II. If this had not happened, the woodwork would have been seriously damaged by the bomb which fell on the Cathedral, just a few feet away from the site of the throne.

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