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The Old College of the Vicars Choral

By Ellie Jones, Cathedral Archivist

These two illustrations show the entrance to the old College of the Vicars Choral in the Cathedral Close. The watercolour on the left is by the Exeter artist George Townsend (1813-1894) and shows the entrance to the College. In the background is the house in the Cathedral cloisters which was used as a post office from 1791 to 1803. The house was demolished in 1819, and the entrance to the College was demolished in the 1850s. The carving over the arched gateway was preserved and can also be seen in the second picture, by the ecclesiastical architect and artist Edward Ashworth (1814–1896). Ashworth’s coloured drawing shows the proposed completion of the Victorian church of St Mary Major and the remodelling of the College gateway in 1874.