Human Rights and Religious Equality trail: a reflective walk around Exeter City centre Throughout the centuries in Exeter minority groups have often been the target of abuse, discrimination and hatred, sometimes becoming the victims of violence and even death. People who think and live differently have not always been welcome in our communities. Historically, people who were not part of the Church of England were treated as noncitizens, and this could mean that they were deprived of basic human rights. This trail will take you to some key places where we will mark the lives and events of some of these brave people. Common criminals: executed and exiled The Guildhall was a medieval court where people were tried and often sentenced to harsh and inhumane punishments. As recently as the early 1800s people were condemned to death here for crimes as small as the theft of a cow or sheep and sentenced to transportation to Australia (never to return)for stealing just one shilling. The Jewish community: given freedom to worship Exeter Synagogue was built in 1763. There was a Jewish community in Exeter as far back as the 1100s, but in 1290 Jews were banished from Britain. It was not until 1656 that they were allowed back and given freedom to worship. They began to return to Exeter in the 1700s. Roman Catholics: allowed to participate in public life The Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in South Street, was built on land given by the Cathedral in 1870. This ended a period of 3 centuries during which Catholics were excluded from public life in Britain and subject to significant discrimination. Dissenters: treated as outcasts The Dissenters’ Graveyard, adjacent to Bull Meadow Road, is a sad reminder of how minorities could be treated. Dissenters were people who refused to accept the beliefs of the Church of England. They were barred from many professions and were not allowed to be buried in Exeter’s Church graveyards. Jewish community: separate burial ground The Jewish cemetery, next to the dissenters’ graveyard, is also significant for being outside the City walls. Jewish people played an important part in the life of Exeter, but for centuries they were seen as outsiders. Quakers and non-conformists: demanded a fairer society The Quaker Meeting House. Quakers and other non-conformist sects were discriminated against for centuries. They refused to accept the authority of the Church of England, campaigning for the freedom of worship and demanding a fairer society. Discrimination against women A plaque on the ruined Gatehouse to Rougement Castle tells how, in 1685, four women were hanged for witchcraft. They were found guilty of sorcery on the basis of accusations which today we would regard as hearsay or gossip. Women labelled as witches The Mural near the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre is a graphic demonstration of the way some women in Devon were seen as suspicious characters and punished for it. Were they really sorcerers, or were they women who were falsely labelled as witches? Human Rights and Religious Equality trail: a reflective walk around Exeter City centre Instructions for the Walking Route The Guildhall, High Street The walk starts at the Guildhall. Next, walk to Exeter Synagogue. Turn right out of the Guildhall and walk along the High Street. Go past the top of North street and continue past BHS. Turn right into Mary Arches Street and then turn right into Synagogue Place at the top of Mary Arches car park. The Synagogue is in front of you, on the right. Exeter Synagogue, Synagogue Place Now walk to the Catholic Church. Leave the Synagogue and walk back up Mary Arches Street. Cross the High Street and walk down South Street. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is on the opposite side of South Street about half way down. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church, South Street Now walk to The Dissenters’ Graveyard. Continue down South Street to the big road junction, turning left and continuing along Magdalen Street, with the car park on your right. Cross the road at the pelican crossing outside Magdalen Chapter. Walk along to the graveyard. Dissenters Graveyard, Magdalen Street Now walk to the Jewish Burial Ground, just down the hill, below the red brick block of flats. The Jewish Cemetery, Magdalen Road Now walk to the Quaker Meeting House. Go back to the pelican crossing, outside Magdalen Chapter. Cross the road and turn right. Turn left into the lane following signs to the Quaker meeting House. The Quaker Meeting House, off Magdalen Street Now walk to the ruined gatehouse at Rougemont Castle. Walk back along Magdalen Street, turning right up through Southernhay. Turn left into Bedford Street, passing Debenhams on the right. Turn right into High Street, cross the road and turn left up Castle Street. The ruined tower is further up on the left, at the entrance to Rougemont gardens. Ruined Gatehouse to Rougement Castle, Castle Street Now walk to the mural, near Exeter Pheonix Arts Centre. Walk around Rougemont Gardens, with Rougemont House and Exeter Library on your left. Turn left down an alley just past the end of the Library building. The large Mural is directly ahead of you on a wall. The Mural near the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre Now return to the Guildhall, walking down Musgrave Row and turning left onto Queen Street. Turn right at the top, at Marks and Spencers, and walk down High Street, with the Guildhall on your right.
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