Page updated 11 September 2008
This was the name of a mediaeval street that stretched from St Pancras Church towards North Street parallel to the High Street. A pipe-clay figurine of Venus or a Celtic fertility goddess was found in the street, indicating that the street layout was probably Roman in origin. Hoskins believes that the name derives from a personal name with the word hay attached for enclosure.
In 1349, the building of the rectory house next to St Kerrian's Church in North Street permanently blocked Trichay Street. The site of the rectory house will be remembered by some as the site of Mansfield's Antiques on North Street.
Buildings in Trichay Street had cellars, which, in the 20th century were used by Exeter police for storage, when they occupied the police station in Waterbeer Street. They also had a cycle store, the bicycle being an essential item for a pre-war policeman. The store was also used by Devon General bus drivers, who worked out of the Paul Street bus station. Devon General also had a canteen in the street for their staff. In the 1950s, someone noticed a particularly bad odour in the cycle shed. A policeman went to investigate and found a body, that had been dead for some months. Police embarrassment was avoided, when the pathologist found the down and out had died of natural causes.
In 1878, a complaint was made to the Council regarding the filthy state of "blind alley leading from the centre of Pancras Lane down to the back of North Street" indicating the street did not have a formal name at this time. Garton and King had an entrance to the rear of their foundry in Trichay Street, allowing coke, scrap and pig iron to be tipped directly into the cellars although, as the street was so narrow, they must have used horse and carts, or hand carts.
When the Guildhall Shopping Centre was built, Trichay Street was investigated by archaeologists who found many mediaeval rubbish tips, cess pits, disused wells and evidence of industrial activity from the Saxons and Normans through to the mediaeval period. A glass flute from the 17th century was also found, along with Chinese and Dutch pots, clay pipes, and olive jars from the same period. In addition, two engraved iron dies for striking gold coins, dating from 1351-1413 were found.
A new thoroughfare linking the High Street with the centre of the development was built for the shopping centre, that crossed Waterbeer Street and what would have been the old Trichay Street. The new shopping street containing Woolworths, Argos and Sainsbury's has been named Trichay Street.
Trichay Street - a still from the 1936 Garton and King film. Courtesy of Richard Holladay The entrance to the modern Trichay Street from the High Street.
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