Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Underground passages

A Scheduled Monument in St David's, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7247 / 50°43'29"N

Longitude: -3.5276 / 3°31'39"W

OS Eastings: 292273.0745

OS Northings: 92792.791

OS Grid: SX922927

Mapcode National: GBR P1.8SZ3

Mapcode Global: FRA 37H5.9K2

Entry Name: Underground passages

Scheduled Date: 9 May 1935

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003851

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 182

County: Devon

Electoral Ward/Division: St David's

Built-Up Area: Exeter

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Exeter St Matthew, Newtown

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Subterranean access tunnels and conduits forming part of the medieval water supply for the city of Exeter.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument which falls into two separate areas includes three lengths of stone lined tunnels forming part of an extensive medieval water supply for the Cathedral and city of Exeter. They survive as subterranean stone built arched tunnels which vary in form and have been subject to complex phases of alteration. The tunnels act as access passages and conduits. The earliest tunnel was an un-piped conduit leading from St Sidwell’s Well to the Cathedral precincts and was in existence from 1226. In the 14th century a new source in Treadwell Meadow was carried by lead pipes within the conduit. The system was enlarged in the 15th century with the addition of new tunnels and still used parts of the original 13th century water supply network. Excavations have proved the water supply did not have Roman origins.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The underground tunnels and passages which form part of the water supply for the Cathedral and city of Exeter date back to the 13th century and are exceptionally well preserved. They form part of a complex water supply network the survival of which is extremely rare, possibly only those connected with London are better known. Parts of the passage system are open to the public and benefit from detailed guided tours to explain the network and its history more fully. As a result this rare class of monument is also accessible for educational purposes. The water supply for any urban area is vital for its occupants and given the long and complex history of the city the preservation and continued accessibility to this important early infrastructure which played such a key role in its development cannot be over emphasised.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-448379

Source: Historic England

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