About St Nicholas Priory

Did you know that just off Fore Street, where Exeter’s independent traders have their colourful and eclectic shops and cafes, you can walk down Mint Lane and find Exeter’s oldest building, St Nicholas Priory? Built in 1087 as one of many priories in Exeter, it was turned into a Tudor town house after the dissolution. This is probably how most people nowadays remember it – as a rich merchant’s house with a beautifully panelled parlour and a multitude of fascinating replica tools in the old kitchens.

But there is also the unspoilt Norman undercroft, the medieval Great Hall, the bedchamber, and – across Mint Lane in what used to be the North Wing of the original building – the well-preserved arch-braced roof in the upper chamber.

The gardens, and the courtyard where the cloisters used to be, have Quince trees and magnolias, and in the sun the rosemary and lavender make it easy to imagine a peaceful community of monks or a Tudor cook busy in the herb garden. The Wisteria arch is something to behold when in bloom, and one quickly forgets the hustle and bustle of the high street, only a short, five-minute walk away.

This hidden gem in the West Quarter of Exeter’s historic city centre is looked after by Exeter Historic Buildings Trust, a local charity run by volunteers and a small team of dedicated experts ensuring the continuation of the building as an integral part of the city’s history. A heritage site cum community hub to be proud of, our neighbours would agree.

Returning to Exeter's oldest building

Reopening to the public on Sunday, 23rd May, 1-4pm, visitors can step into the past and explore over 900 years of Exeter’s history. With reenactors and reenactment events, entry to the building and gardens will be free of charge to all, and welcoming stewards will be happy to share their knowledge of and passion for the building. Check out our website www.nicholaspriory.com/calendar or social media @nixpriory for family activities, workshops, shows and concerts, as well as talks and lectures, and drop us a line to say hello.

A note on Covid-19

We have completely Covid-secured the building and ask you to wear face coverings, stick to social-distancing rules, and adhere to government guidelines. Please follow our stewards’ instructions when in the building and be prepared to wait outside until we have ensured social distancing can be guaranteed and it is safe for you and yours to enter.

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As always, be in touch and stay safe, Judith

Dr J Morgane, Manager of St Nicholas Priory, Exeter


St Nicholas Priory
St Nicholas Priory, exterior

Exeter’s oldest building, the original priory was turned into Tudor home and is now a performance and community venue. Come and experience 900 years of Exeter’s history and join us in discovering the secrets of our wonderful building.



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