There is no record of Exeter College putting a crew on the river before 1823. The Exeter College Boat Club would appear to have been founded in 1823 or 1824 under the impetus of Henry Bulteel. Bulteel had been an undergraduate at Brasenose College, and stroked Brasenose to the headship in 1821 and 1822. Bulteel became a Fellow of Exeter College in 1823, and the Boat Club seems to have been formed at that time.
Exeter College Boat Club first took part in Summer Eights in 1824, with Bulteel stroking. That year they rowed in the famous “White Boat”, which had been built in the Plymouth dockyard, and brought to Oxford by Brasenose College boatman, Stephen Davis. Being a coastal boat, it was found to sit too high out of the water to be rowed effectively on the Isis. The boat was therefore cut down to reduce the height of the gunnels, and it was in this boat that the College won its first headship in 1824.
From 1827-30 there was no Exeter eight on the river. The colours of the club, adopted around 1837 were red and black, the colours of the college arms. It was presumably these colours which were used for racing kerchiefs, recorded in the Exeter College Boat Club Treasurer’s Book as being purchased in 1844. These were to be “kept peculiar to the racing crew” as opposed to other members of the College Boat Club.
In 1856 Exeter used the first keel-less boat on the river and in this they went head from 1857 until 1859. From twelfth place in 1879 they rose to fourth in 1881 and to Head in 1882. They kept the headship from 1882 to 1884 inclusive.
In 1882 Exeter won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.
If you are interested in finding out more about ECBC’s rich history please be sure to check out some of the links below:
- ECBC Hall of Fame – lists celebrating the success of past members of the club.
- Exeter College Clubs and Societies Archive Handlist – a list of all ECBC archived content held by the Exeter College Archives.
- Past Committees – a list of the past ECBC commitees dating back to 1998.
- ECBC Archive – a collection of photos and videos of ECBC events from over the years.
- ECBC Women’s Senior Crews (external) – recently discovered archive of the history of the Exeter Women’s Torpids and Summer Eights crews.
If you have anything you can contribute to our records we would be pleased to hear from you! Please contact us by post at ECBC, Exeter College, Turl Street, OX1 3DP or through the emails available on the Committee page.