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Narrowest Street In the World and nearby Cathedral

Posted by cotojo on December 6, 2007

Parliament Street, Exeter, Devon, UK

PlaqueA brass plaque on the right of the entrance to Parliament Street reads:

 Parliament Street – believed to be the narrowest street on the world. Width 25″ increasing to 45″.

It was formerly called Small Lane, but was renamed when Parliament was derided by the City Chamber for passing the 1832 Reform Bill. The street itself dates from the 14th century. It is certainly a very narrow thoroughfare, very dark with high buildings on each side. The total length is about 50 metres.

In 1740 the City Chamber ordered that doors be fixed at each end of the street. Local householders had been in the habit of emptying their chamber pots into the street, causing a public nuisance – the gates would stop that little practice.

The alternative newspaper, the Exeter Flying Post had their offices in Parliament Street when they started publishing in February 1976. The address was the 3rd floor, 195 High Street, with the entrance in Parliament Street. If you look carefully, there is a door on the right in the photograph.   

Parliament Street

St.Peters Church, Exeter, Devon, UK

There was a monastery in existence in Exeter around 680A.D.

It was here that St Boniface, Apostle to the Germans, received his education. A later monastery founded by Athelstan served as the Cathedral from 1050 to 1133, following the transfer of the Bishop’s seat from the monastery at Crediton.

Cathedral Engraving from 1837

William Waelwast, the nephew of William the Conqueror, and the third Bishop of Exeter, was responsible for building a new Cathedral. Work began in 1114 and the Cathedral was consecrated in 1133. Only the pair of massive towers remains today. The late medieval rebuilding was started by Bishop Bronescombe in the 1270’s and completed by Bishop Grandisson in the 14th century.

Exeter Cathedral - West Front

The West Front is in the Decorated style of the 14th century and is the most recent part of the main building. The lowest tier of figures are some of the finest medieval figure sculptures in England. The carving is particularly well-preserved in the South Porch, where there is a scene of the Annunciation and a Nativity scene opposite. The upper row of figures with Christ and the twelve apostles at the centre was added in about 1460-80.

West Front figures

The Cathedral has the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic stone vaulting in the world. Other features of particular interest include the Bishop’s Throne, one of the finest pieces of woodwork of the late 14th century; a clock made in 1376; and there is original glass in the East Window. The Cathedral has many monuments including the tomb and effigy of Bishop Walter Bronescombe who began the rebuilding of the Cathedral.


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8 Responses to “Narrowest Street In the World and nearby Cathedral”

  1. cotojo said

    David – Thanks for the comment and the info 🙂
    It’s interesting to find other places that also have very narrow streets.
    Have a great day,

  2. David said

    lol… in kumanovo, macedonia there is even a narrower street than this one 😀

  3. cotojo said

    Liudmila – Thank you for your visit and comment 🙂
    I know that Italy and France have many narrow streets, as well as many other places. Most of them in the UK have long since disappeared and this is one of only 2 in the local area that remain.
    I will visit your blog again as it was fascinating reading 🙂
    Have a great day,

  4. Liudmila said

    Oh no, this is not the norrowest street in the world, surely. Here in Salerno and in all Italy and in France (Sent Paul is the King of the norrwìow streets!!! This was really GREAT!) there are many norrow streets. I like medieval towns that is why I know about it. And in Salerno you can walk trough these streets sicure in the night too. I wrote about it in my blogs too.

  5. cotojo said

    Jos – Only a litle bit nutty? Far too kind hahaha, I’ll check the link out lol.
    Have a great day

  6. cotojo said

    Kim – It certainly is a big difference….the street being so narrowand the cathedral in a wide open space.
    If you were a bit overweight and came in the street at the wide end I wonder how far you would get 🙂
    Have a great day,

  7. Jos said

    Hi Colin! I just came over for a sec to tell you that I think you are a little nutty ;))

  8. laketrees said

    wow….what a contrast between the lane and the cathedral Colin…
    all I can say is that you wouldn’t want to be overweight 🙂

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