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Exeter's Roman Baths

Exeter's Roman Baths are believed to be the second most important building of their time in the country - except of course, you can't see them.

They are buried under tonnes of earth in front of Exeter Cathedral, which submitted plans to excavate the remains and build an underground visitor centre there. However, these plans have failed to attract Lottery funding.

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Exeter Roman baths project rejected for Lottery funding

Plans to uncover extensive remains of a first century Roman bath house in Exeter have stalled after the venture failed to attract funding.

Exeter Cathedral applied for Heritage Lottery funding to reveal the remains under Cathedral Green, which are believed to be the second most important building of their time in the country.

However the charity, which distributes National Lottery money, says more work must first be done to safeguard the future of the Cathedral itself.

Some of the greatest Roman remains in the West Country lie buried beneath Exeter Cathedral Green Credit: PA

We are very naturally very disappointed that our innovative proposal to uncover Exeter's most significant hidden treasure, the extensive remains of a first century Roman Bath house under Cathedral Green, has not been successful in attracting Heritage Lottery funding.

We had worked closely with English Heritage and other key bodies right up to the moment we submitted our bid, and had hoped that the project's vision - one shared by the people of Exeter and its civic and parliamentary leaders - would also inspire the HLF.

– The Very Revd Jonathan Draper, Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral

The Cathedral unveiled details of its Foundations Project in February.

It submitted plans to excavate the remains of the Roman Bath House and hoped to build an underground visitor centre there. It is estimated that the attraction would bring an extra 100,000 visitors to the city each year.

HLF takes its role of investing National Lottery players' money extremely seriously and we only support projects that we are confident can deliver long-term benefits. In this case, we were concerned about the impact the development would have on the Cathedral itself. There was also a considerable partnership funding shortfall.

– Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF

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