Exeter Civic Society

Exeter Civic Society

Miles, William

William Miles, 1800 – 1881, Authority on animal welfare

The Clock Tower, one of Exeter’s most prominent landmarks at the junction of Queen Street and New North Road, is a memorial to Arthur Miles.

Two inscriptions read:

(south elevation) Erected in the sixty first year of the glorious reign of Victoria Empress Queen to perpetuate the beneficient work of William Miles Esqre. of this city on behalf of the animal creation by his widow 1897
This stone was laid by Louisa Anne Miles the 21st of April 1898. T. A. Andrews Architect. J. Easton & Son Builder

(north elevation) The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. Proverbs XIV-27

A drinking fountain on the north side of the clock tower has the inscription:

Presented to this city by William Miles Esq of Dix’s Fields Exeter July 1877

WILLIAM MILES loved animals, especially horses, and would have seen them toiling through Exeter as cab horses and in other forms of horse-drawn traffic. He had a drinking fountain placed at the junction of Queen Street and New North Road, strategically at the top of the hill on the route from St David’s Station to the city centre. He was also a renowned expert on horses’ welfare and author of The horse’s foot and how to keep it sound, published in 1856, and a treatise on horse-shoeing, which became standard works of reference, as well as other books.

He was left a widower and at the age of 70 married Louisa Grylls, then aged 50. After his death at the age of 81, she erected the clock tower as a memorial to her husband, incorporating his drinking fountain in its base. She also paid for the 145 ft spire on St. Leonard’s Church in her husband’s memory. Louisa Miles died in 1907 aged 89. JM