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Exeter Cathedral’s medieval centrepiece to reopen in time for Easter

Exeter Cathedral’s medieval Quire is to reopen on Monday [25 March], following major conservation and improvement works.

The Quire – an area housing some of the cathedral’s most significant and historic architectural features, including 13th century tip-up seats known as ‘misericords’ and an 18 metre tall wooden bishop’s throne dating from the early 14th century – is expected to be fully open for Holy Week and Easter.

 Funded by The Exeter Cathedral 2020s Development Appeal, work in the Quire, which traditionally provides seating for clergy and choir, began last year. The historic developments aim to secure a more sustainable future for the cathedral and are supported by Valencia Communities Fund via the Landfill Communities Fund, a voluntary scheme operated by environmental bodies to provide funding for community, heritage and biodiversity projects.

The improvements include preparations for a more efficient underfloor heating system to make the Quire a more comfortable place for services, community gatherings and events, while also helping to reduce the cathedral’s carbon footprint. A new floor tile design, named the ‘Jubilee Pavement’, has also been installed and is based on the work of 19th century architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott, the designer of four elaborate tiled floors in the high altar section of the Quire.

Alison Salvador, General Manager at Valencia Communities Fund is pleased to be supporting the cathedral’s project:

“Our Board of Trustees was pleased to support the cathedral’s impressive works and we all take a great deal of pride in the part we are able to play in the restoration of this truly iconic building. We look forward to seeing the finished works and the Quire being used, in comfort, by the community and visitors alike. It is indeed a true legacy project.”

Further improvements to the cathedral currently underway include improved accessible toilets and Changing Places facilities, a more sustainable heating zoning system, and new visitor interpretation designed to engage a wider audience in the story of the cathedral.

The Very Revd Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter, is looking forward to visitors seeing the progress made so far:

“The new floor in the Quire is looking fabulous – well worth the wait! I am so pleased we were able to track down these beautiful Devon marbles to lead us from the Golden Gates to the High Altar. They will, we hope, be here for generations to come. I am also delighted to know there is new heating installed under the floor, even if more work is needed before we can benefit from this. Huge thanks to all those who have helped fund this project, and to the outstanding craftspeople who have worked upon it.”

Work is also continuing on the construction of a new Cloister Gallery, which is being built on the foundations of the cathedral’s original medieval cloisters. Once completed later this year, the Cloister Gallery will recreate a covered walkway to connect the cathedral with its 13th century Chapter House and Pearson Building.

The Exeter Cathedral 2020s Development Appeal aims to raise £10 million, and has already received £6.2 million, including a grant of nearly £300,000 from Valencia Communities Fund and a £4.3 million grant received last year from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

As well as improvements and conservation work, the funds will be used to support a calendar of community activities and events, designed to engage a wider range of people with their local heritage.

Photo by Ella Foster/Exeter Cathedral