St Nicholas Priory Goes Green With New heating System

St Nicholas Priory Goes Green With New heating System

St Nicholas Priory in Exeter is probably the oldest building in Devon, boasting rare Norman architecture, but a brand-new heating system will soon see it brought bang up to date without impacting on the historic structure.

After years of closure, Exeter Historic Buildings Trust took over St Nicholas Priory in 2018, with the intention of painstakingly restoring the ancient building and adapting it for public use. Since reopening, it has become a thriving community venue hosting an exciting programme of events and performances.

Now, thanks to funding from Viridor Credits, Garfield Weston, and The Pilgrim Trust, work is underway to install an air source heat pump, which will provide hot water and heating for the building – reducing its carbon footprint and allowing greater control over the temperature and humidity. This will make the venue viable throughout the winter months. 

St Nicholas Priory More Environmentally Friendly

Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air to warm buildings and provide hot water. They can still extract heat when air temperatures are as low as -15°C. Heritage consultant, Phil Collins, says:

“The new heating system will be more controllable, efficient, and less environmentally damaging. It will reduce power consumption by two thirds, cutting costs and environmental impact – making controllable heating and cooling available at all times.” 

A servery area is also being installed in the entrance hall, providing running water which can be used for serving refreshments, along with cookery classes for the public and visiting school groups. Cleverly, a mirrored piece of furniture will reflect surrounding stonework when closed, to camouflage the sink and other amenities.

Plans are currently in place to reopen the building once work is complete later this summer. You can follow St Nicholas Priory on social media @nixpriory for all the latest updates or visit for more information about performances, events and private room bookings. 

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