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Exeter Clock Tower


In 1877, an Exeter Magistrate named William Miles, caused a drinking fountain or horses to be placed at the end of Queen  Street at its junction with New North Road. William Miles was passionately interested in horses and, especially, in their welfare. In 1846, he had published a book called "The horse's foot and how to keep it sound" which remained the standard reference book on the subject for over a century.

His drinking fountain site was well-chosen; it was on the cab horse route to both of Exeter's railway stations and would have been passed by horse-drawn traffic of all kinds using the New North Road.

William Miles lived for many years in Dix's Field, a sweeping Georgian Crescent in the heart of Exeter. His first wife was older than him and after her death, he must have felt very lonely. On August 10th 1870, at the age of 70, he married Louisa Grylls, then aged 50,  in Weston-super-Mare. After his death at the age of 81, in the Spring of 1881  Louisa decided to erect a replacement fountain on the same spot as a memorial to her husband.

Over the following years, the design of the memorial became much grander, eventually ending up as a tower clock which, on the north side, has a drinking fountain for horses and other animls. It was opened by his widow, Louisa, in 1898 and remains in position to this day.

Louisa died in 1907 aged 89.


A plaque on the tower reads:

"Erected in the sixty first year of the glorious reign of Victoria Empress Queen to perpetuate the beneficent work of William Miles Esq. of this city on behalf of the animal creation by his widow. 1897."


The Tower was constructed by J. Easton and Sons, an Exeter firm of stone masons who had premises in Paris Street. The architect was Thomas A. Andrews from London. Probably in the city to oversee his project, he and his assistant, Edgar Stidley, show in the 1891 census return for Exeter - Thomas being then aged 29.


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