Set right on the High Street, but somehow hidden in full view, there is a Heavitree Stone built church, St Stephen’s. Next to it is a low archway called St Stephen’s Bow.
The story is that when King Henry VI visited Exeter in the mid 1400s and the Royal procession left the High Street to go to the Cathedral through this arch, the Bishop (Bishop Lacey) met them, boasting to his companions that the king would bow to him. And of course the king had to duck down to get through the arch!
Anyway, duck under the arch yourself, and facing you are the evocative ruins of St Catherine’s Almshouses, built in medieval times on the corner of the old Roman fortress, bombed in 1942 and now standing as a memorial to those who died in Exeter during those years. There is an excellent noticeboard to tell you more about its long history.
- Our own ready-made Heavitree Stone Trail 2: The City Centre.