Exeter ĕk´sətər [key], city (1991 pop. 88,235) and district, Devon, SW England, on the Exe River. It is the market, transportation, administrative, and distribution center for SW England. Manufacturing predominates, with metal and leather goods, paper, and farm implements as Exeter's chief products. The fort town Isca Dumnoniorum occupied the site in Roman times. Because of its strategic location, Exeter was besieged by the Danes in the 9th and 11th cent., by William the Conqueror in 1068, by Yorkists in the 15th cent., and by religious factions in the middle of the 16th cent. From the 10th to the 18th cent. the city was an important center for the production and exportation of woolen goods. The cathedral, with its massive Norman towers, is a classic example of Decorated style architecture. In the cathedral library is the famous Exeter Book. Ruins still remain of the Roman walls and of Rougemont Castle (11th cent.), built under William the Conqueror.

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