Family History Federation

Historic Towns – Exeter – A Brief History 1887

“Historic Towns” Exeter by Edward A. Freeman, 1887

A facsimile of the original book

A History of Exeter from earliest of times up to the late 19th century. Four plans of the City are present ranging from the eleventh century up 1886.

Providing a comprehensive look at the history, culture, and architecture of Exeter, a city located in the southwest of England. The book covers the city’s development from its Roman origins to its medieval and modern eras, highlighting the various influences that have shaped its unique character. The author delves into the city’s notable landmarks, including the Exeter Cathedral, the Guildhall, and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, providing insights into their historical significance and architectural styles. The book also covers the city’s social and economic history, exploring the role of trade and industry in shaping its growth and development. Overall, Exeter: Historic Towns is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history and culture of Exeter, as well as those interested in the broader history of England. It is a well-researched and engaging account of one of the country’s most important and interesting cities.

Edward Augustus Freeman travelled extensively throughout his life and was far from being a sedentary gentleman-scholar confined to his country residence at Somerleaze, Somerset. According to Freeman, the successful historian needed to see the places about which he wrote. His historical travels took him to all parts of Europe, into North Africa and to the United States. Freeman’s foreign tours were carefully organised and conducted with the central purpose of informing and guiding his historical work. Over many years, Freeman developed a methodology for his historical travels that he seems to have applied consistently. On occasion, his travels took him into dangerous regions, such as Dalmatia in the late 1870s. Edward Freeman’s travels reflected his interest in historical geography and his recognition of the importance of place in the study of the past marks him out as one of the pioneers of the so-called ‘spatial turn’ in modern historiography.


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