Water in the City

The Aqueducts and Underground Passages of Exeter

By (author) Mark Stoyle

Ebook (VitalSource) - £60.00

Publication date:

01 May 2015

Length of book:

320 pages


University of Exeter Press

ISBN-13: 9780859899741

The city of Exeter was one of the great provincial capitals of late medieval and early modern England, possessing a range of civic amenities fully commensurate with its size and importance.  Among the most impressive of these was its highly sophisticated system of public water supply, including a unique network of underground passages.  Most of these ancient passages still survive today.

Water in the City provides a richly illustrated history of Exeter's famous underground passages—and of Exeter’s system of public water supply during the medieval and early modern periods. Illustrated with full colour throughout, Mark Stoyle shows how and why the passages and aqueducts were originally built, considers the technologies that were used in their construction, explains how they were funded and maintained, and reveals the various ways in which the water fountains were used and abused by the townsfolk.

“The book’s reliance on both documentary and material evidence ensures a solid foundation of scholarship, while its ability to tell such an interesting tale of urban technology in terms of its impact on humans will appeal to a large audience at home and abroad.” -- Maryanne Kowaleski, Professor of History at Fordham University, NY


‘[…] a thoroughly readable account which is handsomely illustrated with maps and photographs. The volume is a masterpiece of organizational skill […]
We must express our gratitude to Mark Stoyle […] for producing such an impressive, comprehensible and readable volume on this aspect of the City’s history.’
(Margery Rowe, Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, Autumn 2015)


‘The text is easy to follow, and it was encouraging to see a glossary.’
‘As one might expect from mark Stoyle, the work is replete with well-chosen primary and secondary references.’
‘The illustrations, most of which are in colour, are of excellent quality and the reviewer found the maps illustrating the development of Exeter’s water-supply particularly informative. Finally, a rarity nowadays, the book is well-indexed.’
‘Professor Stoyle is well-known for his studies on various aspects of the history of Exeter and the wider westcountry. This book is a well-researched and well-presented work that will, no doubt, enhance his reputation even more.’ (Sadru Bhanji, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 146, 2014)