History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 1471 barrel-vaulted ceiling
In 1471 the Guild of Weavers Fullers and Shearmen were given land on Fore Street William and Cecilia Bowden to build a chapel to act as a place of worship and a meeting place for guild activities. After the Reformation the religious aspect of Tucker's Hall was dropped and the hall served as a meeting place for guild members.
The first mention of the Guild comes in 1459, when they were engaged in a squabble with the Cordwainers over which guild had precedence in the Mayor's procession on Midsummer Eve. We can safely assume then, that the guild must date to at least the mid-15th century. The first guild records date from 1483, when a Master and 2 Wardens were appointed to enforce quality standards among the guild members, regulating wages and working conditions, and overseeing apprenticeship training.
The hall's original religious function was a source of trouble after the Reformation. Many religious buildings were seized by the crown during Henry VIII's reign, and used for secular purposes. The hall survived Henry VIII but even though the Guild toned down the religious function of the building Elizabeth I gave the hall to Anthony Kynwelmarsh of Gray's Inn in 1574. Kynwelmarsh in turn sold it to Edward Auleby of Rockbeare.
The hall is one of the most interesting historic buildings in Exeter. Though the exterior was remodelled in the 19th century, the interior features original timber roofs and historic rooms used by the guild for over 500 years.
The most interesting part of the building is on the first floor, where you can visit the guild meeting room in the Upper Chamber. This beautiful historic room has magnificent Jacobean panelling and an original 1471 barrel-vaulted ceiling. The entire room is decorated with wonderful carvings. The panelling and most of the furniture was installed in 1630. The beautiful stained glass windows have insignia of guilds and names of Guild Wardens. The roof is simply magnificent, with carved ribs and decorative painted bosses.
Tucker's Hall is free to enter but donations are welcome. I have to say that the Hall was an absolute delight to visit. The Upper Chamber is simply stunning, with magnificent panelling and decorative carving. I'd definitely call Tucker's Hall and absolute must-see if you are visiting Exeter.
About Tucker's Hall
Address: 140 Fore Street, Exeter, Devon, England, EX4 3AN
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: A short walk from the cathedral, well signposted.
Website: Tucker's Hall
Phone: 01392 412348
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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