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Exeter Cathedral receives Lottery grant

Image: Emma Solley

£4.3 million towards renovations

Exeter Cathedral, one of Europe’s greatest medieval cathedrals, is celebrating today after being awarded a £4.3million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their 2020s Development Appeal.

The project will reimagine the space at Exeter Cathedral, particularly focusing on the East End of the Cathedral, the Pearson Building and a new Cloister. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the new interpretation of the building will enhance the visitor experience and offer greater accessibility for visitors.

Half of this Grade I listed building will be conserved and refurbished as part of the ambitious project – in total a substantial 1,633 sqm – protecting the Cathedral for years to come. Alongside this, the space will become more inclusive and sustainable for the future. Project highlights include:

a new Cloister will be built to connect the Cathedral to the Chapter House and Pearson building
a new Treasures Exhibition will bring together currently inaccessible collections from the Cathedral’s Library & Archives, for everyone to enjoy.
an interpretation of 50 medieval misericords, one of only two complete series surviving in England before 1290
the Cathedral shop will move to a new space outside of the pay barrier
ensuring a sustainable future for Exeter Cathedral thanks to a new heating zoning system
providing essential and accessible facilities for all users, including new toilets and lifts
a new activity plan including a Domesday project and ‘Riddler Residencies,’ which will draw on the Cathedral’s historically significant 10th century Exeter Book for inspiration. An anthology of poetry and riddles, the Exeter Book has been granted UNESCO status as one of the world's principal cultural artefacts.


In recent years, Exeter Cathedral has diversified its offer to engage with new audiences within the community. Events such as the Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram attracted huge numbers of people who might not have recently been to visit. Using the space in new ways means that the local community can be involved in the ever-evolving life at the Cathedral. Through this project, Exeter Cathedral will be able to continue to host events such as these and build a greater revenue stream to support its future.

Alongside the reimagined building works, Exeter Cathedral will look to engage with the community in meaningful ways. In the newly built Cloister, a Gallery will provide the perfect venue for community art projects, A-Level exhibitions and cultural performances. A music outreach will aim to achieve the goal of 'Reaching Every Child in Devon' through learning activities in schools. As well as this, partnerships with Exeter College and Exeter University will encourage participation from students, helping them to engage with the heritage of their city.

Stuart McLeod, Director England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to support Exeter Cathedral and help it transform its spaces and experience for future visitors. Not only does it play an integral part in the community of Devon but it is a building that has been the centre of so much of Exeter’s history. Investing in heritage such as this makes communities better places to live, creates jobs, supports local economies, drives tourism and makes heritage more accessible to others. Thanks to National Lottery players, this historic building can be protected and continue to evolve and engage a wider range of people with its heritage.”

The Very Revd Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter said: “We are thrilled to receive this incredible support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players across the UK, our 2020s Development Appeal can move forward with confidence to achieve some of the most significant improvements to this magnificent building in over a hundred years.

“Exeter Cathedral has been at the heart of the local community for nearly a thousand years, and this generous funding will help ensure that it continues to serve and engage all the people of Devon for the 21st century.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the UK’s largest funder of heritage projects, with almost £3.2billion awarded to nearly 15,000 projects in London & South since 1994. They support a wide range of projects including historic buildings and monuments; community and cultural heritage; and landscape and nature.

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