Thursday 5th October 2017 @ 7pm

The Building of Exeter Cathedral

An illustrated talk by John Allan

Exeter Cathedral was founded in AD 1050 and is commonly regarded as Devon’s greatest building. The Cathedral Church of St Peter, with its imposing Norman towers, owes its Gothic style to Bishop Bronescombe who started rebuilding in the late 13th century. The present building was not completed until the mid 14th century by Bishop Grandisson and has been at the heart of the city ever since. This talk, by the Exeter Cathedral Archaeologist, will describe the structural history of the cathedral, will place it in the story of medieval architecture in England in the Middle Ages, and will describe new insights in understanding this much-researched church.

John Allan is the Exeter Cathedral Archaeologist, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Archaeological Adviser for Glastonbury Abbey. He was formerly (1984-2004) Curator of Antiquities at Exeter Museum. He has published one book and numerous papers on the archaeology and architecture of South-West England.

Booking is advisable and places will b allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Tickets are £5 and available in advance from the DRA office.  To reserve a ticket please call Abi on 01548 830832 or email 
In Association with the Devon History Society

Monday 25th September 2017 @ 7pm

Crossing the Imperial Colour Bar: Muslim Indian Soldiers in Devon in World War II.

An illustrated talk by Ghee Bowman

On page 56 of Gerald Wasley’s book Devon at War is a mystery: three photographs of Indian soldiers in Devon, wearing turbans and accompanying mules. Behind those photographs is a fascinating story of a wartime  journey across thousands of miles from Punjab to Plymouth, via Marseilles, Dunkirk and Lairg. Between October 1940 and June 1942, men of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, and their mules, were stationed across Devon: at Plymouth, Teignmouth, Shaldon, Woodbarton Monastery, Ivybridge, Bigbury  and on Dartmoor. This illustrated talk, using photographs and eyewitness accounts, will tell the story of who they were, what they did and why they were here. It will also address the critical question of why they have been forgotten for so many years.

Ghee Bowman is currently studying for a PhD in History at Exeter University, having completed an MA (with distinction) in 2015. Ghee’s research (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council) is into Muslim Indian soldiers who were in Europe during the Second World War, and the way they have been forgotten and remembered since 1945. Before returning to university, Ghee did many things, including working as a teacher of English, a stage manager in the theatre, and for charities in the UK and abroad. Most recently he worked for the Global Centre in Exeter, where he co-ordinated a project on Exeter’s multi-cultural history: Ghee is married, and has two grown-up daughters. During his spare time he volunteers with the Woodcraft Folk, a co-operative organisation for children and young people.

Booking is advisable and places will b allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Tickets are £5 and available in advance from the DRA office.  To reserve a ticket please call Abi on 01548 830832 or email 
Tuesday 17th October  2017 @ 2pm

Guided Tour of Shilstone

Led by resident archaeologist Abi Gray

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the South Hams countryside is Shilstone House, a family home with a remarkable and extensive history. The estate, in the parish of Modbury in South Devon, contains an array of architectural and archaeological features representing almost 6000 years of human endeavour. At the heart of the site is Shilston Barton, a former Domesday manor which overlays evidence of late prehistoric occupation. Formal gardens surround the dwelling and include lawns, terraces and a medieval walled garden as well as the only known seventeenth century Italianate water theatre and associated water gardens in the UK making the site nationally important.

This guided tour of Shilstone House and grounds will last approximately one hour and thirty minutes and will be followed by a cream tea at the Devon Rural Archive. Guests will explore the history of the site through its surviving archaeology and rare architectural features before seeing the results of a near fifteen year project to restore the house. There will also be a chance to view artefacts from the site in the exhibition gallery.

Tickets are £15 (includes a cream tea) and booking is essential.
To book please call 01548 830832 or email