St. Stephens Church, Exeter

St. Stephens is a church of many historic layers. Originally built over the Roman wall, and developed and changed many times from its medieval form to the current day, this new work has explored and revealed these layers in a way which expresses the richness of the past and creates a new sense of light and openness for the church’s role in Exeter’s future.

Exiting medieval and Georgian forms are revealed and enhanced, new and contemporary forms have been introduced and designed in sympathy with the old to reinforce the church’s sense of continuity and wholeness. Out of this new lightness, transparency and simplicity comes a sense of Place, and an openness and flexibility which provides for and promotes the building’s wider use for all the Community.


St. Stephens church survived the World War II air raids on Exeter but suffered extensive fire and structural damage. Subsequent works neither fully addressed the repairs, nor did they satisfactorily refurbish the interior. This scheme involved the major repair and re-roofing of the church, securing the severely weathered and unstable tower, and addressed issues of decay and degradation and plaster removal. The opportunity was also taken to reveal and understand and record the rich archaeology of the sub-floor including the Saxon remains of the crypt.

Contractor: Ellis & Co