Gatekeepers to Heaven: Religion, knowledge and power in medieval Exeter

Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RX

Tel: 01392 665858

Gatekeepers to Heaven: Religion, knowledge and power in medieval Exeter


The ancient city of Exeter has one of the most impressive cathedrals in medieval England. Its bishops were at the heart of the religious, cultural and political life of the city and country. For most ordinary people, the guardians of the church and its sacred texts were truly the gatekeepers to heaven. Among Exeter’s most powerful bishops were Leofric (1050-1072) and John Grandisson (1327-1369). Both amassed magnificent collections of manuscripts, making the cathedral library a renowned centre of European learning.

This landmark exhibition brings back six exceptional medieval manuscripts to Exeter for the first time in over 400 years. The manuscripts are on loan from the world-famous Bodleian Library in Oxford where they form part of the founding collection of 1602. Originally, the manuscripts were part of Exeter cathedral’s impressive medieval library. Each one sheds light on the medieval world and Exeter’s place in it. They show the power of words, pictures and books, and how the concerns of the Middle Ages reflect those of our own times.

This exhibition was made possible with generous loans from Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, a grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, support from donor Maddy Jevon, RAMM Patron, and as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme.

RAMM would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.

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Opening Times

06/06/2023 - 03/09/2023 (6 June 2023 - 3 Sept 2023)

* Times vary

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