Welcome back , you are logged in

World Cultures Galleries are closed for redevelopment
this is a test ticker
Gallery 20 will be closed from Friday 1 Dec until noon Saturday 2 December

Robert the rat

Robert the rat

Robert the Rat

Come and meet our exciting character from the past, Robert the Rat.

He is a dashing rogue who has seen the history of Exeter unfold for the last 1,000 years. He lives at St.Nicholas Priory and has his home in the kitchen – perhaps you can find it!

Families can pick up a ‘Ratbag’ and choose various items to help them discover this amazing building. In each room Rat Bats will tell you where the other activities are hidden in chests and cupboards.

Make a cloak for Robert the Rat and design costumes for Tudor gentlemen

In Tudor times, wealthy people had portraits painted to show their wealth and status. They enjoyed showing themselves in very expensive and impressive clothing. Portraits show a lot of information about the shapes of clothes and accessories, and how they were embellished with embroidery and jewels.

Robert the Rat also dresses to impress. Find out how to make Robert’s Tudor cloak and dress a Tudor gentleman.

As a wealthy man living in St Nicholas Priory, one of the larger houses in Elizabethan Exeter, Nicholas Hurst would have worn garments made from fine cloths and coloured with expensive dyes, although he might not have worn the latest fashions that were seen in London.

Fine cloth would have been cut and sewn by a tailor. If Nicholas Hurst wanted to have his cloak lined with fur, his tailor would send the unfinished cloak to a furrier. Working with fur was a special skill separate from tailoring. Smaller items such as shirts, ruffs or other linens would have been made by a seamstress.

At this time, tailors were always male. In Exeter, there are records of tailors that include Tudor Ellis (1596), Bastyn Whytehead (1600), and Hannibal Carwitham (1605).

Nicholas Hurst has a lodger in his house who scurries around unheard and hears and sees everything. From the shadows Robert the Rat sees the modern fashions and he pays a visit to his tailor, Master Threadneedle. The tailor made Robert a new cloak, and left some instructions for you to make your own.

PDF icon (20x20)  A pattern for Robert’s cloak

PDF icon (20x20)  Instructions to make a cloak

PDF icon (20x20)  Fine fashions for a Tudor Gentleman

Robert the Rat’s adventures

Robert the Rat is a shadowy but friendly resident at St Nicholas Priory. He is secretive about his arrival almost a thousand years ago when the Priory was first built as a Benedictine Monastery.

Robert scurries along secret rat-runs in the Priory and its gardens, unseen and unheard, but he sees and hears everything and has fantastic tales to tell. Share his adventures here. May Robert show you around his wonderful home …

Robert the Rat’s poem

I’m Robert the Rat

And I’m fine and fat

I live in this house

(With at least one mouse!)

The people don’t know

That I come and go

So I’ll show you around

My own home ground.

The Cellar

A long time ago

When this house was aglow

With candles and smoke

And lots of fine folk

There lived in the wall

Some eyes that saw all!


Its old this room….

You can see a tomb!

Stone coffin you could say

Monks came this way

Walking in solemn line.

Bells were rung to tell the time.

Deep in prayer, they rarely saw

The rat that ran across the floor!

The Parlour

The painted parlour is bright and fine

People used it to wine and dine

And to entertain the guests

(Who were suitably impressed!)

There are some lions to be found

Quite a way above the ground.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is my special place

For food is left about the place,

I, and Bess the mouse do find

The grain, the bread, the cheesy rind!

By day the room is full of noise

With fire and feet and tiresome boys

Who chase and kill the running rat

Or even worse, set the dog and cat!

The Stone Stairs

Now these steep stairs are not for me

I’ve other ways to climb and see

The rooms where people sleep and play,

Look for me when you’ve found your way!

The Bed Chamber

You’ll find me hidden by the bed

(The one with the canopy overhead).

The Master sleeps but writes his will

For we all know he is very ill.

The little bed is for you to try –

So lie and listen to a lullabye.

The Great Chamber

This great room was used in many ways –

Children played here on rainy days

Or important Elders gathered here

To discuss the City’s future year.

But listen carefully and you may perchance

Catch the music of a joyful dance.

Robert’s claim to fame!

Now I’ve got a bad name

A great claim to fame!

For I carry some fleas

That spread disease.

And every warm year

People lived in fear

And barred their doors

(I came in through the floors)

Turned their neighbours away

(I was here to stay).

They didn’t know why

They were going to die

But it was I……Robert the Rat!

Recipes for a Tudor picnic

These are a selection of delicious recipes that were eaten at Tudor picnics. See if you can work out the old English words for the salad ingredients!

Most of the ingredients need to be cut up before you use them. Except for the salad, all the recipes must be cooked before eating. If you want to cook these recipes, you will need adult supervision in the kitchen, especially when using sharp knives or hot cooking equipment.

The recipes here are reproduced with the kind permission of Peter Brears.

Stuffed Chicken

  • 1 medium chicken
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2pt chicken stock
  • parsley
  • 2-3 tablespoons of lard
  • salt, pepper, cinnamon and ginger

Prepare chicken for stuffing. Separate egg whites and yolks. Slice onions thinly. Bring stock to boil, add onions and parsley. Cook for 2-3 mins. Remove parsley, cook onions till soft. Drain and cool. Chop the parsley leaves with the egg yolks, lard, seasoning and spices. Add onion. Stuff chicken. Roast on hand turned spit over a wood fire.


Take parse, sawge, garlic, chibllas, oynons, leek, borage, myntes, porrectes, fenel and ton tressis, rew, rosemarye, purslayne, lave, and waisshe hem clene. Poke hem, pluck hem small with thyn hond and myng hem with rawe oile. Lay on vinegar and salt and serve it forth.

Curd Cheese Flan

  • Curd cheese
  • 2 tbls butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pastry flan case

Take nessh chese, and pare it clene, and grinde hit in a morter small, and draw yolkes and white of egges through a streynour, and cast there-to, and grind hem togidre; then cast thereto Sugar, butter and salt, and put al togidre in a coffin of faire past. And lete bake ynowe, and then serve it forth.

Honey toasts with pine nuts (pokerounce)

  • 8 oz stiff honey
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • White squares of bread, crusts removed.
  • Pine nut kernels

Warm honey with spices – do not boil. Toast the bread, stick in pine kernels and pile on warm plate – pour honey over.

Reset MyRAMM password

Sorry, there was a problem resetting your password, please try again.

Your password, has been successfully reset, please close this popup and login.

Terms & Conditions

These terms and conditions (Terms) apply to the entire contents of this website. Please read these Terms carefully before using this website. Using this website indicates that you accept these Terms. If you do not accept these Terms, please do not use this website.
  1. These Terms shall constitute an agreement between you and us and shall set out the conditions upon which you may access the information available on this website
  2. We reserve the right to change these Terms, at any time and to notify you by posting an updated version of these Terms on this website, at which point they will become immediately effective
  3. Your continued use of this website after any changes referred to in clause 2 shall constitute your consent to such changes
  4. Access to this website may be suspended temporarily and without notice in the case of system failure, maintenance or repair, or for reasons beyond our control
  5. We reserve the right to, without notice, withdraw the availability of this website or any of its content and/or any of its functions, information or services
  6. We cannot guarantee uninterrupted and/or reliable access to this website and we make no guarantees whatsoever as to its operation, functionality or otherwise
  7. You are allowed to view, download and print out content from this website for personal use only in accordance with these Terms. All other copying whether electronic, hard copy or other format is prohibited and all other rights are reserved
  8. You shall only use this website in a manner that is consistent with these Terms and in such a way as to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and in particular, that you shall not (or not attempt to):
    • seek unauthorised access to our network or computer system
    • insert or knowingly or recklessly transmit or distribute a virus into our network and computer systems
  9. All copyright and all other intellectual property rights existing in this website (including, but not limited to, all design, text, graphics and the selection or arrangement thereof) are and remain our property
  10. The expression 'copyright' shall include the entire copyright, design right, rental right, right to authorise or prohibit lending and data right subsisting now or created at any time
  11. While we endeavour to ensure that the information contained on this website is accurate, complete and up-to-date, we make no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of such information
  12. We make no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, that this website or any software of any nature available on, downloaded or otherwise obtained from it, will be free from defects or viruses. Your use of this website is at your own risk
  13. We make no representations or warranties as to whether the information available on this website complies with the regulatory regime of countries from which the pages of this website may be accessed
  14. We may log your IP address (which indicates the location of your computer on the Internet) for the purpose of systems administration and troubleshooting.
  15. If you provide your e-mail address in order to submit an enquiry, comment or request for further information, we may contact you regarding your enquiry, comment or request. We may also send e-mails to you about the services that we offer.
  16. From time to time we may provide your information to our marketing or IT departments for research and analysis purposes so that we can monitor and improve the services we provide. We may occasionally contact you by post, email or telephone to ask you for your feedback and comments on our services.
  17. The failure by us to insist on any occasion upon performance of these Terms shall not thereby act as a waiver of such a breach or an acceptance of any variation of these Terms
  18. A person who is not a party to these Terms may not enforce any of its terms or conditions under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
  19. These Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in all respects in accordance with the Laws of England