Plans to transform opportunities for education and research at Exeter Cathedral received a boost last week, thanks to a £45,800 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Through the proposed project new learning spaces will be created in the Bishops palace so that more people can explore the historic library. There will also be a new space for music development and participation.
The award is development funding to support Exeter Cathedral in developing their plans. Exeter Cathedral can progress to the second stage of the HLF application process, where they will be seeking £562,600 of HLF support towards the £900,000 project.
If successful, the money would be used to create a research and exhibitions space within the Bishop’s Place, giving more people the chance to access and view the library collection. At the same time, a previous archive in the cathedral’s Pearson Building into a brand new facility for school groups.
Simon Timms, Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said, “Exeter Cathedral is at the heart of the city’s heritage. Through opening up the cathedral’s library and learning spaces more people will be able to explore the fascinating history of the cathedral, the city and the local area. There is still work for the Cathedral to do, but HLF will be offering their full support in taking their application further.”
A building has been present on the site of Exeter Cathedral for almost 1,000 years and it is one of the oldest Cathedrals in England, with a proud choral tradition which stretches back over 900 years. The Cathedral library is the oldest surviving library in Devon – founded by Leofric, the first Bishop of Exeter (1050-1072) – and its contents have been catalogued since at least 1327. Some of the key volumes in the collection are ‘The Exeter Book’ copied around 965-975AD written in Anglo-Saxon, which is an anthology of poetry, including riddles and ‘The Exon Domesday’, which is the only extant regional copy of William the Conqueror’s 1086 survey. The library also has a diverse collection of early medical and scientific material, including that of Thomas Glass (1709-1786) a noted Exeter physician.
The project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for the larger award.
Source: Heritage Lottery Fund