Fire destroys Exeter's medieval heritage


The medieval interior of The Clarence Hotel in Exeter has been destroyed in a fire that raged for over 24 hours in the heart of the city. Over 100 firefighters tackled a blaze that threaten to engulf further historic buildings nearby (Picture from the BBC).

Believed to be the first 'hotel' in England the façade and main rooms were built in 1769 and then it was re-named after the visit to the city by the Duchess of Clarence in 1827.

Although it is unlikely that any of the medieval interior can be saved in this fire, restoration often provides an opportunity to improve works done before. In this sense both modern and traditional methods and materials are used, following an on-site assessment and the right approach taken in order to maintain the integrity of individual buildings.

During the middle ages, Exeter became the religious, commercial and administrative centre for the region. A complex relationship grew up between Crown, City and the Church. The cathedral originally built on the site of a Saxon Abbey was re-constructed in the 14th century in Decorated Gothic architectural style.