St. Nicholas Priory, Exeter

St. Nicholas Priory in Exeter was an 11th-century Benedictine monastery used as a merchant's house after the Dissolution. Only the refectory and west range survive, and these are currently being renovated for reopening as a Tudor museum.


History of St. Nicholas Priory

Built in 1087, St. Nicholas Priory is one of the oldest buildings in the county of Devon. It housed Benedictine monks for 500 years until it was closed in 1536 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

After the Dissolution, the church and chapter house were demolished, leaving only the west range and refectory. These were converted into a Tudor mansion that housed important figures in the cloth trade. In the mid-18th century, the Priory was the home of Nathaniel Cosserat, a skilled craftsman and Huguenot refugee from France.

By Victorian times, the house was split into several tenements and became delapidated. It was threatened with demolition, but it was purchased by the Exeter City Council in 1913.

After being extensively restored, the Priory was opened as a museum. As of July 2007, it is once again closed for renovations and will reopen as a museum of Tudor life.

What to See at St. Nicholas Priory

The main building seen in the photos at right is the West Range, which includes a cellar below and a hall for guests above. Across Mint Lane is the old Refectory.

Quick Facts on St. Nicholas Priory

Site Information
Names:St. Nicholas Priory
Dedication: St. Nicholas
Status: museum
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:50.721818° N, 3.534991° W
Address:Fore Street
Exeter, England
Phone:01392 665 858
Hours:Closed for renovation as of writing (July 2007).
Lodging:View hotels near St. Nicholas Priory
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visit (exterior only; July 21, 2007)
  2. The Rough Guide to England, 7th ed. (May 2006), 429.
  3. Exeter Woolen Trail sign at the site.

More Information

© Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes
© Holly Hayes

Map of St. Nicholas Priory, Exeter

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