b_960_960_16777215_00_images_landscape__0036_Old_Engraving.jpgIn 1471 the Exeter Guild of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen was given a plot of land here in Fore Street by William and Cecilia Bowden. The Bowdens’ gift lay half way between the city’s historic centre and its manufacturing district, known as Shilhay or Exe Island. The Guild regulated the woollen cloth trade in Exeter, which made the city (and Devon) wealthy and a centre for international trade.  The woollen cloth trade thrived from the 1430s until the end of the 18th century; at times making Exeter the third richest city in the country.

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