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Butch the Smoking Dog Grotesque

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Page updated 29th April 2022

and Dido the Seagull

This has been included in artworks of the city because it is fun.

On the northern side of the cathedral is this rather fine grotesque of a hound smoking a pipe - it was carved by Peter Dare, one of the cathedral stonemasons in the mid 1970s, when they were replacing the badly weathered grotesques on that side.

The owner of Butch, Mr Jean Louis Morell would often visit the close, in his small disability car, accompanied by Butch. He would light up a pipe for himself, and a second one for Butch and they would sit watching the work being carried out on the north side of the Cathedral. Jean Morell ived in Littleham, and he was well known in Exmouth, and could often be seen in a local pub together, smoking their pipes over a glass of beer. In 1989, Morell published a book entitled "Butch of Devon: One Man's Best Friend".

The carving is little known, even to the Cathedral staff, and when I enquired there was a debate about whether it was a cat, a Dean or a dog. Butch was in fact a Boston Terrier. I can remember a short film on Westward TV news about Butch, and his elevation to the wall of the Cathedral.

There are two further grotesques, one of a bishop and one of Dido the Seagull, Exeter City's feathered mascot, which can also be found on the north side of the cathedral. In the 1960's, Bishop Mortimer was a fervent Exeter City supporter, and it was said that the team always won when a seagull landed on the pitch.

Smoking dog grotesque Dido the SeagullDido the Seagull

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