John Lane

The Late Medieval cloth industry was based on home manufacture and Cullompton successfully shared in a burgeoning Mid Devon economy that used Exeter to ship its products overseas to the Continent including not just northern France but increasingly to Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Tiverton and London became important in marketing the cloth to foreign customers.

The most illustrious of the cloth merchants of the late medieval period was John Lane. His memorial, the aisle named after him in St Andrew’s church, continues to impress the beholder. It was built in the 1520s with emblems of his occupation carved in stone. The fan vaulting is inspiring and visitors can still just read his plea to “Remember the soul of John Lane with the Paternoster and Ave Maria and the soul of Thomasine his wife”. The profits of his trade paid for the building of this aisle and representations of the ships which carried his merchandise can be seen on the church exterior.

Decoration in the Lane Aisle