Wyvern Weathervane - Iron Bridge - Exeter, Devon
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 50° 43.425 W 003° 32.078
30U E 462262 N 5619241
Quick Description: Wyvern weathervane at the city end of Iron Bridge, Exeter.
Location: South West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/12/2022 12:52:13 AM
Waymark Code: WM15QVY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 1

Long Description:
"At the city end of the Iron Bridge is a stone which was placed there in 1897 for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Attached to the stone is a tall pole with a weather vane in the shape of a Wyvern or gilded dragon with a long, curly tail. The Wyvern was the original weather vane that was over the North Gate before it was demolished in June 1769 and moved to the roof of the Wharfinger's Office, on the Quay. A report in the Flying Post of 9th June 1769 stated "We are desired to insert the following: On Wednesday last, very early in the morning, the workmen employed to take down the North Gate of the city of Exeter found on the top of the house over the gate a flying serpent, which they have taken. And we hear that the same has been presented to the Right Worshipful the Mayor of the said city."

For the celebration a public subscription raised more than £40 to build a wooden arch across the road, that was a copy of the old gate. The committee requested permission to move the weather vane from the quay and erect it temporarily over the arch.The architect for the decorative arch was Mr Jerman, and by the 10th June, Messrs Woodman and Son and Mitchell and Son started the building, decorating and painting the arch. Arrangements were made to illuminate it with electric light and decorate North Street, St David's Hill and the Ironbridge. The arch was in place for about three weeks for the celebration, for by 7th July it was reported that it had been taken down. Two photographs were taken of the arch, by Mr Davey – one on Jubilee Day and one while the arch was dismantled.

After the Jubilee, the committee announced a surplus of £10 10s 9d. It was decided to raise some more funds to place a stone memorial and plaque with the iron column on top, by the road side, and the Wyvern weather vane was placed in position.

In 1975, the Civic Society paid for the weather vane be restored and placed back on the top of the pole. It supposedly has dents in it, from bullets fired during the English Civil War - Exeter was a Royalist stronghold for much of this period and the city sustained a long siege from the Parliamentarians.

The Wyvern was taken down for restoration in the 2000s, and carefully investigated by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. X-ray analysis by Flybe at Exeter Airport revealed that it is constructed of two copper sheets that are fixed together with a tube running vertically through the middle for it to be fixed on the pole – the X-ray revealed a hidden, lead counterweight between the sheets. Further inspection revealed that it had been painted yellow, probably in 1897, before a brass finish was applied by the Civic Society in 1975.

The Wyvern is to be displayed at RAMM, while the museum had a replica made by Neil Bolling that was paid for by the Civic Society and placed back on the pole at the North Gate during May 2010."

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