By this time the main industry was making and processing of wool, and there was a tanning industry in the city. One of the oldest municipal buildings in the land, the Guildhall, was first built around this time. This is still used as the city's council chamber, and, until recently, the city's law court.
Exeter was an important port. Wool was exported and wine was imported. However in the late 13th century the countess of Devon, built a weir across the Exe, stopping ships from approaching the quay, and forcing them to dock at Topsham, where she could tax them. Later, a canal was dug around the weir so ships could once again sail to the town.
At the end of the 17th century the travel writer Celia Fiennes described Exeter as
A town very well built. The streets are well-paved, spacious streets and a vast trade is carried on. There is an incredible quantity of serges made in the town.
The old industry of wool manufacture continued to flourish and the port continued to import large quantities of wine. However the industrial revolution largely passed Exeter by, any by the 19th century the city dwindled to being a quiet market town.
In the Spring of 1942 the RAF bombed the historic German towns of Lubeck and Rostock. In revenge the Luftwaffe attacked historic British towns, including Exeter and they destroyed much of the town centre. The city centre was rebuilt in the 1950s around the same time the University was founded in 1955.
Today most of the workforce in Exeter is employed in service industries such as tourism, education and public administration. Several new shopping centres have been built such as Guildhall Shopping Centre, Harlequins Shopping Centre, and most recently the Princesshay Shopping Centre.
See LocalHistories.org for further details.