News from St Nicholas Priory<

With all this lovely weather, there is so much to do we almost don’t have time to work! Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival at Powderham Castle last weekend was certainly the much-anticipated highlight, with glorious sunshine and everyone making merry now that we finally can (within reason)! With lots of interesting speakers, a good selection of nurseries and local food stalls, everyone seemed to have a great time – needless to say we are already looking forward to next year! And we’ll be back at Powderham this coming Sunday for their Book Market in the Old Riding School: independent booksellers and other literary fun, with the promise of a relaxed drink – sounds just the ticket for this weekend!

For those of you who enjoy walking, I thought I’d mention our walk along the Exe Valley Way. No, not the whole stretch in one go – we like to take it easy and enjoy, as I am sure you’ve gathered. So we took the bus to little village of Rewe and picked up the trail there. Past little cottages and picturesque gardens we walked, and – as before when I walked this part of the Exe Valley Way-  quite unexpectedly we came upon the little church in the middle of a field. No road leads up to it, and we literally had to cross a field with no path to get to the entrance of the little churchyard. We discovered in the informative leaflet that the church is mentioned as an Anglo-Saxon chapel in the Doomsday Book of 1086. By 1269 the lands were part of the estate of St Nicholas Priory. The building we see today dates from the 15th century, and a most peaceful and quiet spot it was in the warmth of the day. Next time we go there, we’ll look out for the Neolithic cursus – it is always a bit humbling to realise how much local history one isn’t aware of… On to one of our favourite swimming spots in Brampford Speke we went, and from thence across the fields of this lovely green valley to Stoke Canon for a quick stop at the Stoke Canon Inn, the charming, community-owned and community-run village pub, before taking the bus back to Exeter.

At the priory, we continue our building works – this time it’s the roof, don’t you know. While the building itself is in good condition, it’s also our job to make sure the building fabric is well-maintained and looked after. The work never stops, and there isn’t a dull moment when it comes to preservation. At the moment, we are also running our summer internship programme and one of the projects entails assessing our carbon footprint to ensure that the running of the building is as environmentally-friendly as possible. We’ve taken a huge step forward with our new, green heating system, and look forward to improving things even more.

Excitingly, we’ve also updated our wifi system, which enabled us to install our new audio play. This family-friendly audio tour is taking our visitors back through the ages with the building’s various inhabitants as their guides. We’ve talked to the production team about the process of creating the story, and you can also listen to a short sample of the tour on our website: Enjoy!

Also, check out our programme of talks and events, and join us this Sunday for some piano music and song! It’s free for all and we look forward to welcoming you!

Until then, stay safe and be in touch, Judith

Dr J Morgane, manager of St Nicholas Priory, Exeter