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Description:The church, the cloister, and buildings to the east were demolished on the dissolution of St Nicolas’ Priory (see Monument No. 11170 for a summary of events and references). The ranges to the north and west of the cloister, however, perhaps because they were more suited to ready re-occupation for normal domestic use, were not demolished, but converted into a dwelling. Initially the whole of both ranges formed one dwelling, clearly a substantial house; from the middle of the 17th century the two ranges formed separate dwellings (Parker 1996, 2), and these were eventually separated by the Mint Lane (there by 1709, according to the evidence of Coles’ map: REN 4329). The arched entrance on the line of the lane (representing the screens passage of the late-medieval refectory of the priory: REN 1794) lasted until 1864, when this bay connecting the two ranges was taken down (Parker 1996, 2). Both ranges were re-modelled for domestic use, the north (refectory) range more than the west, which translated readily to its new use. Although more alterations and fittings of this period survive in the west range than in the north, these tend to be cosmetic and decorative rather than structural. At the Dissolution, the priory was granted to Sir Thomas Denys of Holcombe Burnell; he quickly sold it on, and it was not until the 1560s that the buildings came into the hands of Robert Malet, whose family was to own the buildings for the following two centuries (Allan 1999, 15-16; Collings in Parker 1996, 19, 21-22). There was something of a lull, therefore, before the north and west ranges were converted for domestic purposes into a substantial mansion in the later 16th and 17th centuries (Allan 1999, 17-19). In the west range features added at this time, mainly in the late 16th century, include: timber mullioned windows, plaster ceilings in the former prior’s lodging and guest hall (ibid., 24), the guest hall had a painted frieze added, plus grotesque monochrome paintings on the window reveals (ibid., 32; recorded in 1996, REN 186); a plaster ceiling in the Tudor room (ibid., 28-9), was accompanied by panelling, removed to Monkerton Manor, Pinhoe in 1881 (ibid.), and now destroyed. In the north range, the large hall was floored to give two, or possibly three, storeys, and new windows were provided in place of the tall hall windows previously there; the partition at the east end of the former hall was rebuilt: dendrochronological dating of timber used in post-Dissolution alterations to the first- and second-floor partitions at east end, gave a felling date of 1575 from one stud (Nayling 2000). Sources: Lloyd Parry and Brakspear 1917; Parker 1996; Allan 1999; Crocker 1886, Pl. 38 for the plaster ceiling of the Tudor Room; Cherry and Pevsner 1989, 398-99.

Extant: Yes
Grid reference:SX917924
Map reference: [ EPSG:27700] 291741, 92488
Periods:1540 - 1640
Identifiers:[ ADS] Depositor ID - 11263.0

People Involved:

  • [ Publisher] Exeter City Council

Bibliographic References:

  • Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit (1993) Report to Exeter Archaeological Advisory Committee, 25.6.93, p. 11. Exeter City Council.
  • Jenkins, A. (1806) The History and Description of the city of Exeter and its environs ancient and modern, p. 397. Exeter.
  • Northy, T.J. (1886) A Popular History of Exeter, p. 27. George Redway.
  • Burnham, B.C., Keppie, L.F.J., Esmonde Cleary, A.S., Hassall, M.W.C., & Tomlin, R.S.O. (1994) 'Devon, Exeter: (a) Mint Lane', p. 286 in 'Roman Britain in 1993' in Britannia 25, pg(s)245-314. Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.
  • Nenk, B.S., Margeson, S., & Hurley, M. (1993) 'Devon, Exeter: 34. St Nicholas' Priory', pp. 254-5 in 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1992' in Medieval Archaeol. 37, pg(s)240-313. Society for Medieval Archaeology.
  • Department of the Environment (1974) List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: District of Exeter, p. 180. Department of the Environment.
  • Parker, R. (1996) Archaeological assessment of 21 The Mint, Exeter in EA Report No. 96.39. Exeter Archaeology.
  • Exeter Archaeology (1996) Report to Exeter Archaeological Advisory Committee, 11.10.96, p. 2. Exeter City Council.
  • Exeter Archaeology (1996) Report to Exeter Archaeological Advisory Committee, 8.3.96, p. 3. Exeter City Council.