Our history

No.5 is steeped in history and we’re thrilled to be able to take you back to where it all began.

No.5 Cathedral Close can trace its origins back to the Annuellars College that stretched from 1 Cathedral Close to 5 Cathedral Close. The Annuellars were minor clergy who performed the daily masses commemorating the wealthy patrons of the Cathedral. The college was constructed in approximately 1528 to house eighteen members. The Annuellars were disbanded at the Reformation, when the building was divided up into tenements.

The present structure dates from 1729 when the site was purchased by Francis Drewe, who saw this beautiful building as a townhouse fit for a gentleman. He practiced as a barrister in Exeter and also represented the city between 1713 and 1734 as a member of the Conservative party.

Mr C B Presswell, a tailor and habit maker occupied the building in 1850. The Dean and Chapter then went on to lease the building to Charlotte Treadwin of Dulverton, in 1867. Charlotte Treadwin, Nee Dobbs was apprenticed to a dressmaker in North Molton, before moving to Woodbury where she learned the art of lace making. She quickly became an expert in the craft, especially Honiton Lace. 

Co-owners of No.5, Linda and Charles Horner have carefully restored the building, taking inspiration for original features and hand selecting beautiful antiques predominantly from local traders to complement and celebrate the incredible history inherited here.

In 1848, Queen Victoria commissioned Miss Dobbs to make a Honiton Lace handkerchief, earning her a Royal Warrant. Queen Victoria was already familiar with Honiton Lace when she incorporated a Honiton Lace flounce into her wedding veil; some think this was also made by Miss Dobbs, but unfortunately there is no evidence to support this view. Queen Victoria is documented as saying “She was a remarkable woman, one whom her fellow townsmen were justly proud”. After Treadwin’s death in 1890, Miss Herbert continued the business until her death in 1929.

From the 1930s to the 1960s, Murray’s, an antique dealer owned by L.E. Pollack, traded from the building. Tucker and Hilton occupied offices in the building in the 1930s. Another antique dealer, Morland-Coon occupied the front premises in 1972, while the Exeter Town and Club occupied the upper hall from 1970, moving from Southernhay House, and sharing the building with Midas Construction and Peter Wadham Antiques in 1988. The Church Commissioners sold the building in the ‘90s, and after an archaeological investigation, it was restored and repaired to become a restaurant in 1998. The Italian chain ASK occupied this historically beautiful building until early 2020.

THE INTERIOR

The interior of No.5 has been carefully crafted by co-owner Linda Horner. Linda has an acute eye for exquisite pieces and stylish decor. Her experience in the hospitality industry coupled with her interior design prowess can be appreciated from every aspect of the interior of the building. Taking her inspiration from period features within No.5, each and every part of the design has been created to complement the history and architecture of the building.

As you enter the magnificent building through the grand entrance, a brass antique chandelier, discovered in the eaves of the building hangs decadently from the ceiling. The chandelier has been carefully restored, bringing this stunning piece of history back to its former glory.

We believe the history of No.5 predates its historical traces of the 1500’s as we discover a dated wooden lintel etched with the date 1415 over an original fireplace. The Cathedral View restaurant at the front of No.5 boasts one of the most spectacular views in the city. The grand Gothic and Norman architecture provides the most awe inspiring backdrop for the customers dining at the restaurant. The lighting throughout the Cathedral View dining room has been inspired by the original lighting used in eras gone by. Carefully selected replicas have been chosen to enhance the already stunning period features and classic styling.

The Botanical Restaurant located at the rear of the building is thought to have originally been the refectory or medieval hall surviving from the former Annuellars College. The verdure decor of this fine-dining room is present throughout, from the carefully selected wallpaper to the locally sourced plants from independent retailer Hutch, in Exeter, which specialises in rare and exotic houseplants. Carefully refurbished antique chandeliers from Chapel Antiques in Wells deliver the ambience of this beautiful historic room.

A vertical stone inglenook fireplace adorned with angel corbels and original 17th century wood panelling create fascinating focal points to this historical wonder.

The Lounge and beyond

A dark oak staircase to the first floor leads you through to the day-time lounge. The decor of The Lounge, inspired by Parisian panel design and featuring ornamental patterns, can be seen throughout. Antique lamps discovered in Ashburton provide the essence of luxury and status in the room.
You’re surrounded in historical beauty at No.5 at every turn. Original stone work has been exposed, and breathtaking ceiling roses and wood panelling have been carefully restored throughout this room. Antique drapes frame the historical sash windows effortlessly. Sourced from The Antique Village near Bradninch on the outskirts of Exeter, the 100% silk curtains have been refurbished to their original opulence and splendour.

The centre working fireplace discovered at Toby’s of Exeter will offer a warm and inviting welcome to the Cocktail Lounge, whilst the antique Italian and French chandeliers hang magnificently from above. The 1930s German velvet suite will be the envy of all who avail it.

A Queen Anne sideboard and panelling for the front of the bespoke cocktail bar are original pieces from the former Railway Convalescent Home, Bridge House in Dawlish, dating back to 1793. Splendid antique lighting illuminates the lavish bar, and a stunning giant clam shell awaits in grandiose style. Spectacular views of the historic secluded courtyard and secret garden below spark your curiosity to the next chapter in No.5’s historical journey.

A hidden gem of No.5 is the secret garden situated beyond the beautiful courtyard. Neglected by former occupants of the building, the restaurant owners plan to transform the area to grow their own aromatic herbs for use in their cocktails and food recipes.

Linda and Charles Horner look forward to sharing a little bit of history and a slice of luxury at No.5.

A vertical stone inglenook fireplace adorned with angel corbels and original 17th century wood panelling create fascinating focal points to this historical wonder.

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