Sunday, 13 May 2012

Royal Exeter

Leave me alone

We may be sharing a bed but just because you want to get up at some ridiculous hour of the morning doesn’t mean I have to.

Help please!

While photographing the half-marathon last Sunday I passed a garden with these flowers in.  

 They have naturalised in the grass like Snowdrops, Bluebells or Wild Garlic but I can’t identify them.   

Does anyone know what they are please?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee 

Some places are getting ready for celebrations which will take place around the 5th June bank holiday.  

 Exeter, where I am staying, has lots of associations with this and former queens of England. 

And the first Queen Elizabeth

By contrast Queen Elizabeth I had been on the throne just 38 years when this plaque was put on no 1 Cathedral Close in Exeter by John Dyer. 

The building was erected about 60 years earlier, around the 1630s.

Many guide books to Exeter refer to Mol's as a coffee house opened by an Italian called Mol in the 16th century. In addition, they often state that Elizabethan seafarers such as Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins met to discuss their victory over the Armada, in the upper oak lined room of Mol's. 

However, new academic research has shown that much of the history of this building was concocted by a Mr Worth, who ran a gallery from the premises in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Enterprising chap Mr Worth!   

In reality, the building, along with Hanson's, next door, was built by the Cathedral Authorities to house 'Annuellars', or priests.   It was around 1596 that Dyer leased out the ground floor for use as a customs house and it is probable that he wished to indicate this official function by putting up the coat of arms.
It was around 1726 that Mary Wildy opened Mol's as a coffee shop and Mol (being a diminutive of Mary) had nothing to do with Worth's fictitious Italian.  For the next hundred or so years, the coffee house was run by seven women, providing a quiet meeting and reading place for the gentlemen of Exeter.

The Royal Clarence Hotel

The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter was the first inn in England to be named a hotel. 

Established in 1769 it was bought and re-named by a Frenchman in 1770. 

 It was named after the toddler son of George III, William Henry, Duke of Clarence, who was to become William IV, predecessor to his niece Queen Victoria.

Parliament Street in Exeter – and another Queen

This is Parliament Street in Exeter.    

Not the street I am standing in but the one behind the lady passing by.   

The formal naming of this alleyway as a street is thought to have been an intentional Exeter insult to Parliament in the 1830s.   

It was named to contrast with the new broad carriageway through the market area which was dedicated to the young Queen Victoria.It is alleged to be the narrowest street in the world.

And back to an Elizabeth II Jubilee

Two of a number of commemorative plaques put up around Exeter at the time of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.


  1. That cat is fabulously photogenic!

  2. A fascinating tour made more interesting because I've been there and know the buildings. In fact I may have blogged about them. Gosh it seems a long time ago.

  3. They look like Scilla to me, try googling a few pics and see if you agree.

  4. Won't your bank holiday be the 4th of June rather than the 5th?
    I still have my Silver Jubilee key ring that Richard mailed to me in 1977.

    "Since repaired by others". Ha, gotta love that.

  5. My cat shares my sleep space too; in fact he is not limited to the sleep area. lol While I sit in my recliner he is either on the back of the seat, the arm or my lap. He has even offered to share his mice with me. They love us.

    Love your photos. Could those be lily leeks? I am going to post my lily leeks for Macro Monday. Your flowers droop a bit more though

  6. Kay, don't quote me on this because since I left work bank holidays don't mean much to me any more, but I think 4th is Spring Bank Holiday and the Jubilee has been tagged on to that on 5th.

    Judy, nice though your Lily Leeks are they aren't that.

    Babs, thanks very much. I have Scilla siberica in the garden and they aren't those but it looks like you were right. They appear to be Scilla campanulata commonly called Spanish Blue-Bells or Wood Hyacinths. They are a plant which I gather it is recommended should not be grown in the UK because they they cross with our native bluebells and therefore have an adverse impact on our woodlands.

  7. The cat could be a sibling to my Pukky, almost the same colouring and markings.

    Interesting bits of history, thank you! The seven women running Mol's for 100 years impressed me most. I wonder what their recipe for staying fit and active was :-)

  8. if you keep stopping and photograph weeds, you will never win the marathon. LOL

    We have the wild onions here too.

  9. Ooooh, all this Britishness! I felt my pinkies rise just reading it! Lovely photos, lovely scilla!

  10. Fascinating post! Love the 16 century building -- and the world's narrowest street. Enjoyed the ramble around town.

  11. Thanks for the guided tour of Exeter - I don't think I've ever been there. Wow that is one narrow alleyway, sorry - street... We have some narrow ones in the old city in Stockholm, our capital... But I think this one beats them all. I think I'd feel claustrophobic trying to squeeze through...

  12. You got me there, Librarian. That will teach me to quote from a book without thinking about its grammar. I think what it was suggesting was that for the next 100 years or so it was a coffee house run by women, seven in total (though whether consecutively or a few at a time is unclear). On the other hand, perhaps running a coffee house in Exeter is itself the recipe for a very long life!

    1. Don't you just love it how the meaning changes by simply adding or omitting a comma here and there, or by changing the order of words in a sentence? In German, it is even more complicated with the use (or not) of a capital letter at the beginning of a word. Language - endlessly fascinating, and very often quite amusing!

  13. Very interesting and well researched. I like the coffee house.

    I was thinking the flowers were Wild Garlic but wondering about the green stripe which gives them more of a Snowdrop look!


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