St Nicholas Priory Museum
The Mint (off Fore St)
Devon EX4 3BL
St Nicholas Priory is a stunning little museum in the heart of Exeter and well worth visiting. The museum is managed by Essex City Council.
Originally part of a Benedictine monastery built in the 12th century, the museum now reflects the period when the building became a wealthy Tudor merchant’s town house.
The 15th century rooms are beautifully restored in the Tudor fashion, brightly painted and furnished with replica Elizabethan furniture and some authentic artefacts. Visitors are allowed to touch and sit on the replica furniture.
Entry is from The Mint lane straight into the 12th century monastic parlour. This is because originally The Mint was built over the Norman cloisters. The cellar dates from 1100 and was used to store bulk provisions. It has two impressive Norman pillars and vaulting which shows an early use of diagonal ribbing.
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The Tudor Building
We then move into the Tudor part of the building. The ground floor of the 16th century tower has a moulded plaster ceiling with the initials M, W and two H’s incorporated into the design. It is believed these initials belonged to William and Mary Hurst who lived in the house c.1575 to1602. Their coat of arms also appears on one of the glass panes in the window.
The Parlour has an original Tudor plaster ceiling and fireplace. The oak panelling has come from a similar aged building in Exeter and has been repainted with authentic pigments and designs. During ‘Living History’ weekends, the Hurst Family can be observed dining in the Parlour.
The kitchen was built in the 15th century and originally joined the monks’ refectory on the other side of The Mint. The two fireplaces both have ovens and in one corner you can see the shaft of the Prior’s garderobe (toilet). The 15th century staircase leads up to a Grand Hall and the servant’s quarters above. The room is displayed as a c. 1600 Elizabethan kitchen.
Upstairs are three rooms, two of which have been furnished as bedrooms with large four-poster beds. The largest chamber was the hall in which the Prior would have entertained his guests. The beautiful arch-braced oak timber roof, screen and fireplace with warming cupboard date from the 15th century.
The chamber over the parlour is 15th century and has a garderobe (toilet) in the corner. The east window fireplace and plaster decorations are of the Tudor period but the ceiling has been destroyed. A small door in the west wall leads into a small room in the 16th century western tower.
Plan Your Visit
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Opening Times & Admission
Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00. There are different hours on Bank Holidays. Special events are held during School Holidays including ‘Living History’ weekends.
There are various entry costs for Adults, Concessions and Children. For Times & Admission, please see Museum website - link below.
Wheelchair Toilet is located in the courtyard garden. There are ramps into the Reception/Shop area and Cellar where there is an audio-visual display, the building being over 900 years old and not wheelchair accessible.
Toilets and Baby Change facilities are located in the courtyard garden. There is a Gift Shop.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1392 665 858
Exeter St Nicholas Priory External Link
St Nicholas Priory is in the centre of Exeter in The Mint, a pedestrian passage running between Fore Street and Bartholomew Street West. Fore Street is a continuation of Exeter High Street, running down towards the river Exe. Enter the passage at the Mint pub, below the Fore street zebra crossing.
There is no vehicular access or parking at the Museum. However there are three city centre car parks nearby – Mary Arches, Guildhall Shopping Centre and Harlequins Shopping Centre Car Parks.
Park and Ride bus services stop in Paris Street or South Street. Further information is available on this Web: Exeter City/ Find a Car Park External Link
Google Map - St Nicholas Priory Museum