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Celebrating Exeter In Style

Celebrating Exeter In Style

The history of our city is a fascinating topic. And this session is guaranteed to bring it to life.  We are proud to bring you two highly knowledgeable and popular experts in their respective fields.

More than 400 years ago Devon’s first known archivist began compiling the county’s first history. John Hooker would have been surprised by how much has been written since then but also at the rate of recent publication. Exeter, as the county town, has always been at the heart of Devon’s studies but it’s hard to keep up with what has been written. One of our speakers is John Allan, arguably the Godfather of Devon archaeology. There is little happening in Exeter or Devon that John doesn’t know about.  He will explain how recently there has been extraordinary work on the city’s castle, its ancient bridge and the Cathedral Close. Our other speaker,  Dr Todd Gray, will lead us through other history titles including work by Professor Mark Stoyle, Darren Marsh, Anthony Wheaton and Dianne Walker. Recently we have even had the history of the book itself in Exeter. Sharper-eyed readers may be aware of some of the recent books but few will know them all!

ExeLitFest Chair and Patron, Dr Todd Gray MBE, is a historian who has specialised in the history of Devon.  He has written more than 40 books on the county and one of his latest is The Exeter Cloth Dispatch Book, an analysis of Georgian cloth samples that he recently discovered. This has been called ‘the discovery of a generation’. Todd has served as a committee member, chair or president of all the county’s six historical societies and in 2018 was made an honorary freeman of the City of Exeter. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the University of Exeter. His latest book,  Devon’s Last Slave-Owners, was published just this week.

John Allan, BA, MPhil, FSA is the Consultant Archaeologist to the Dean & Chapter of Exeter Cathedral, Archaeological Adviser to Glastonbury Abbey, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Senior Hon. Research Fellow of the University of Exeter, President of the Friends of Devon Archives and Past President of the Devon Archaeological Society and of the Devonshire Association. For twenty years (1984–2004) he was Curator of Antiquities at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. He has published about 200 papers on different aspects of the medieval and later archaeology of South-West England including ceramics, church architecture, numismatics, domestic buildings and cultural links to Brittany.