St Martin's Church, Exeter, Devon

Cathedral Close, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1EZ
How to find us | Access information
Opening times:
Open daily, 11:00 - 15:00 (currently closed at weekends)
  • Overview
  • Map
  • What's nearby

A thousand-year-old church in the heart of modern Exeter

St Martin's props up the black-and-white building of Mol's Coffee House on a corner of Exeter's historic Cathedral Close. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city, consecrated a year before the Norman Conquest, and was once one of six churches clustered in the cathedral's shadow.

It is the most important and complete church in the centre of Exeter, having escaped both Victorian refurnishing and the Second World War bombing that severely damaged many other Exeter churches.

The first church on this site was consecrated on 6 July 1065 by Bishop Leofric, the same bishop who founded the cathedral in Exeter. Its tiny parish - smaller than the size of a football pitch - served the workers and traders who crowded into the three and four-storey houses in the surrounding streets.

The roughcast exterior of red volcanic stone with bright, white Beer stone windows makes it look a little bit like a fancy gingerbread house. Inside, it is simple and full of light. Look out for the communion rails with their closely set balusters designed, according to a seventeenth-century order from the Archbishop of Canterbury, to keep parishioners' dogs from reaching the altar!

The gallery has painted on it the arms of the city and of Bishop Trelawny, a local hero in Cornwall, who was imprisoned for libel by James II. There are also several magnificent monuments in the church including one of Philip Hooper (a benefactor who donated the reredos) splendidly bewigged, he kneels at a prayer desk with a skull and pile of books.

A Google 360 view of St Martin;s Church is available here.

Exeter St Martin's costs £4494 a year to maintain. Make a donation to St Martin's Church here or text 'EXE' to 70191 to donate £10. Thank you.

  • Access information

    Please note due to unforseen circumstances that St Martin's church will not be open on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April.

    The building is accesssed by the front (west) door on Cathedral Close. Access is leval and the door is passable in a standard wheelchair. Please note that the door is not automatic and once inside there is one small step to access one part of the building. Exeter St Marin's is in the heart of the city of Exeter, in Cathedral Close, and there are several car parks nearby.

  • Facilities & Hire

    St Martin's church is available to hire for events and is a unique and beautiful venue. It is also available for wedding blessings and funeral services. Due to its historic nature the church has no running water or toilet facilities so thought needs to be given for events longer than a couple of hours. St Martin's does have heating and electricity and can seat 60 people. If you would like to hire this church please contact us here.

  • Transport
    Nearest railway stations: Exeter Central (5 minute walk), Exeter St Davids (15 minute walk) or a 5 minute bus ride. Exeter bus and coach station approx 7 minute walk. Bus route numbers 173/360.
  • History & Further Information

    Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church before you visit? You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this church.

    Cornwall, Devon & Dorset County Guide

    This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches we care for in Cornwall, Devon & Dorset. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.

    St Martin's Exeter Guidebook St Martin's Exeter Walk Around Guide Exeter Historic Churches Walk Guide


  • Volunteering Opportunities
    We are currently looking for a volunteer Events Coordinator for St Martin's. Contact the Local Community Officer [email protected] if interested or find out more here
  • Community information
    Exeter Church Plan

    Click the link above to download a copy of the Church Plan which sets out the shared vision for the future of the church. This is a working document that will be updated on a regular basis. If you have any feedback or if you want to contact us about the church plan please drop us a line. When you write, please do give the name of the church, thank you!

    St Martin's Church, Exeter is in our west region.

    Useful local links: