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Exeter, diocese of

Exeter, diocese of. The see, now conterminous with Devon, was created when Leofric, bishop of Crediton, moved his seat to Exeter in 1050, thus becoming one of the first in England to follow Pope Leo IX's injunction to move all sees to major towns. For 800 years it comprised Devon and Cornwall (formerly the sees of Crediton and St Germans), but in 1877 Cornwall was hived off to form the new diocese of Truro. Amongst notable bishops was Walter Stapledon (1308–26), who as lord treasurer (1320–1 and 1322–5) was notable in modernizing the royal Exchequer and chamber under Edward II. Miles Coverdale (1551–3) was important for his own translation of the Bible (1535) and the Great Bible (1539), from which the psalter was incorporated in the Book of Common Prayer. The cathedral, originally the abbey church of St Mary and St Peter, rebuilt between 1260 and 1307, is a fine example of the Decorated period, though with the original Norman towers remaining as transepts.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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