Europe

Fire damages what is thought to be England's oldest hotel

  • Firefighters continue to tackle the blaze at the badly damaged The Royal Clarence Hotel, in Exeter, England, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. A fire has severely damaged what is thought to be England's oldest hotel. The blaze in the southwestern city of Exeter raced through the historic Royal Clarence Hotel, which overlooks the city's medieval cathedral. Firefighters were still tackling the blaze on Saturday, a day after it broke out. The hotel, which had been operating under the name Abode Exeter, dates to 1769. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

    Firefighters continue to tackle the blaze at the badly damaged The Royal Clarence Hotel, in Exeter, England, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. A fire has severely damaged what is thought to be England's oldest hotel. The blaze in the southwestern city of Exeter raced through the historic Royal Clarence Hotel, which overlooks the city's medieval cathedral. Firefighters were still tackling the blaze on Saturday, a day after it broke out. The hotel, which had been operating under the name Abode Exeter, dates to 1769. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this image made available by DC Police Drones, showing an aerial view of action as Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service tackle a major fire at The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, England, Friday Oct. 28, 2016.  According to the fire brigade, the fire may have started at an art gallery in Exeter city centre but spread to the nearby hotel, which is widely thought to be the oldest hotel in England. (DC PoliceDrones / PA via AP)

    In this image made available by DC Police Drones, showing an aerial view of action as Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service tackle a major fire at The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, England, Friday Oct. 28, 2016. According to the fire brigade, the fire may have started at an art gallery in Exeter city centre but spread to the nearby hotel, which is widely thought to be the oldest hotel in England. (DC PoliceDrones / PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Firefighters continue to tackle the blaze at the badly damaged The Royal Clarence Hotel, in Exeter, England, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. A fire has severely damaged what is thought to be England's oldest hotel. The blaze in the southwestern city of Exeter raced through the historic Royal Clarence Hotel, which overlooks the city's medieval cathedral. Firefighters were still tackling the blaze on Saturday, a day after it broke out. The hotel, which had been operating under the name Abode Exeter, dates to 1769. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

    Firefighters continue to tackle the blaze at the badly damaged The Royal Clarence Hotel, in Exeter, England, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. A fire has severely damaged what is thought to be England's oldest hotel. The blaze in the southwestern city of Exeter raced through the historic Royal Clarence Hotel, which overlooks the city's medieval cathedral. Firefighters were still tackling the blaze on Saturday, a day after it broke out. The hotel, which had been operating under the name Abode Exeter, dates to 1769. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A fire has severely damaged what is thought to be England's oldest hotel.

The blaze in the southwestern city of Exeter raced through the historic Royal Clarence Hotel, which overlooks the city's medieval cathedral.

Firefighters were still tackling the blaze on Saturday, a day after it broke out. The hotel, which had been operating under the name Abode Exeter, dates to 1769.

University of Exeter historian Todd Gray told the BBC that the venue was the first in England to declare itself a hotel.

"Before that we had inns, but they took the new French word and applied it to their building," he said. "This was the place to stay."

Gray says the building was "hugely significant" for the city.