|Area: 47.03 kmē|
The city of Exeter is the county town of Devon, in England. It is located at 50°43'25?N, 3°31'39?W. In the 2001 census its population was recorded at 111,066. The city's motto, Semper fidelis, is traditionally held to have been suggested by Elizabeth I.
The Latin name for Exeter, Isca Dumnoniorum ("Isca of the Dumnones"), suggests that the city was originally a Celtic oppidum, or town, on the banks on the River Exe prior to the foundation of the Roman city in about AD 50. Such early towns, or proto-cities, had been a feature of pre-Roman Gaul as described by Julius Caesar in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico ("Commentaries on the Gallic Wars") and it is not improbable that they existed in neighbouring Great Britain as well. Isca is clearly a Celtic generic noun and the Romans felt the need to label the city Isca Dumnoniorum, or the Isca of the Dumnonii, in order to distinguish it from such settlements as Isca Silurum (modern Caerleon-on-Usk in Monmouthshire).
Isca Dumnoniorum was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in England. Significant parts of the Roman wall remain, though the present visible structure was largely built on the orders of Alfred the Great to protect the far west of his kingdom following the Viking occupation of 876. Most of its route can be traced on foot. There is a substantial Roman baths complex that was excavated in the 1970s., but because of its proximity to the cathedral, it has not been practicable to retain the excavation for public view. Exeter was also the southern starting point for the Fosse Way Roman road.
In 876 Exeter was attacked and captured by the Danes. King Alfred drove them out the next year. In 894 the city stood off another siege by Danes.
In 1067 the city rebelled against William the Conqueror who promptly marched West and laid siege. The city submitted only after 18 days. Part of the capitulation agreement was that all the nobles in the city would be confirmed in their positions as long as a castle was built.
Exeter was held against King Stephen by Baldwin de Redvers in 1140 and submitted only after a three month siege when the supplies of fresh water ran out.
In 1537, the city was made a county corporate. The Livery Dole Almshouses and Chapel at Heavitree were founded in March 1591 and finished in 1594. They can still be seen today in the street which bears the name Livery Dole.
Exeter was at first a Parliamentary town in the English Civil War in the largely Royalist South West, but it was captured by the Royalists on 4 September 1643 and it remained in their control until near the end of the war, being one of the final Royalist cities to fall into Parliamentary hands.
Early in the English industrial revolution, Exeter's industry developed on the basis of locally available agricultural products, since the city's location on a fast-flowing river gave it ready access to water power. However when steam power replaced water in the nineteenth century, Exeter was too far from sources of coal (or iron) to develop further. As a result the city declined in relative importance, and was spared the rapid nineteenth century development that changed many historic European cities.
Exeter was bombed by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, in a 1942 raid that formed part of the Baedeker Blitz. Forty acres (160,000 mē) of the city, particularly adjacent to its central High Street and Sidwell Street, were levelled by incendiary bombing. Many historic buildings were destroyed, and others, including Exeter Cathedral, damaged. Large areas of the city were rebuilt in the 1950s. Little attempt was made to preserve Exeter's ancient heritage. Damaged buildings were generally demolished rather than restored, and even the street plan was altered in an attempt to improve traffic circulation. The post-war buildings are generally perceived as being of little architectural merit, unlike many of those that they replaced, such as Bedford Circus and a section of the ancient city wall. Currently, despite some local opposition, one rebuilt street, Princesshay, is being redeveloped again in a more modern style. Previously regarded as second only to Bath as an architectural site in southern England, Exeter is now a city with some beautiful buildings rather than a beautiful city. As a result, although there is a significant tourist trade, Exeter is not dominated by tourism