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St Sidwell's Mural

Page updated 10 June 2009

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This large, colourful sculpture/mural on the front of the old Tesco store, next to St Sidwells Church, depicts St Sidwella. During the Roman occupation, a wealthy British Romanized family lived in Exeter. The father, a Christian, died, leaving his young children in the care of a cruel stepmother.

One daughter Sidwella, was a pure, devout and beautiful girl who regularly prayed. Her father left her the bulk of his fortune making the stepmother, you've guessed it, bitter and jealous. She plotted Sidwella's death.

As Sidwella knelt in silent prayer in a cornfield, the corn reaper, paid by her stepmother, crept up and cut off her head with a scythe. A spring of pure water appeared from the ground, where her head came to rest. Her body was buried on the site of St Sidwells Church, making her Exeter's very own saint.

The piece, made of fibreglass, was commissioned by Tesco and created by Frederick Irving of Bideford, in 1969.

St Sidwell wall sculpture

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