University of Exeter Press

Water in the City

The Aqueducts and Underground Passages of Exeter

    • 320 Pages

    The city of Exeter was one of the great provincial capitals of late medieval and early modern England, possessing a range of civic amenities fully commensurate with its size and importance.  Among the most impressive of these was its highly sophisticated system of public water supply, including a unique network of underground passages.  Most of these ancient passages still survive today.
    Water in the City provides a richly illustrated history of Exeter's famous underground passages—and of Exeter’s system of public water supply during the medieval and early modern periods. Illustrated with full colour throughout, Mark Stoyle shows how and why the passages and aqueducts were originally built, considers the technologies that were used in their construction, explains how they were funded and maintained, and reveals the various ways in which the water fountains were used and abused by the townsfolk.

    The book provides a richly illustrated history of Exeter's famous underground passages—and of the city's sophisticated system of public water supply during the medieval and early modern periods.  The aqueduct tunnels are a vivid testament to the skill of the medieval craftsmen who built them, and cannot be paralleled anywhere else in Britain.

    “The book’s reliance on both documentary and material evidence ensures a solid foundation of scholarship, while its ability to tell such an interesting tale of urban technology in terms of its impact on humans will appeal to a large audience at home and abroad.” -- Maryanne Kowaleski, Professor of History at Fordham University, NY


    ‘[…] a thoroughly readable account which is handsomely illustrated with maps and photographs. The volume is a masterpiece of organizational skill […]
    We must express our gratitude to Mark Stoyle […] for producing such an impressive, comprehensible and readable volume on this aspect of the City’s history.’
    (Margery Rowe, Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, Autumn 2015)


    ‘The text is easy to follow, and it was encouraging to see a glossary.’
    ‘As one might expect from mark Stoyle, the work is replete with well-chosen primary and secondary references.’
    ‘The illustrations, most of which are in colour, are of excellent quality and the reviewer found the maps illustrating the development of Exeter’s water-supply particularly informative. Finally, a rarity nowadays, the book is well-indexed.’
    ‘Professor Stoyle is well-known for his studies on various aspects of the history of Exeter and the wider westcountry. This book is a well-researched and well-presented work that will, no doubt, enhance his reputation even more.’ (Sadru Bhanji, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 146, 2014)



    Glossary of archaic words and phrases used in the text and documents
                                                              1        Introduction
    Part I: The History of Exeter’s Underground Passages and Aqueduct Systems
    2        The Aqueducts of Medieval Exeter, 1226-1420             
    3        The Development of the New Conduit, 1420-1536         
    4        After the Dissolution of the Monasteries                          
    5        The City Aqueducts under the Early Stuarts                    
    6        After the Restoration                                                        
    Part II: The Life of the City Aqueducts
    7        The Role of the Aqueducts in Exeter’s daily life              
    Part III: Documents relating to the City Aqueducts
    The Exeter Receivers and their Accounts               
    1.       Extracts from the City Receivers’ Accounts, 1424-1603 
    2.       ‘Outgoings for making of Exeter’s New Conduit’, 1441 
    3.       Account of Work on the Great Conduit, 1534-35            

    Mark Stoyle grew up in rural mid-Devon, and worked for some years as an archaeologist in Exeter after leaving school.  He was awarded his D. Phil by the University of Oxford in 1992, and is currently Professor of early modern History at the University of Southampton.  He has written many books and articles on religion and politics in Tudor and Stuart Britain, and his particular research interests include: the English Civil War, the history of witchcraft, the history of the early modern town and the history of the South West.  Professor Stoyle is a member of the Council of the Royal Historical Society, and sits on the editorial advisory panel of BBC History Magazine; he has also appeared on dozens of TV and Radio programmes, including 'Who Do You Think You Are?', 'The Great British Story', 'Making History', 'Word of Mouth' and 'The Roots of English'.

      • 320 Pages