Probably built as a pair c1650, Nos. 211 and 212 survived until the beginning of the 20th century. In appearance at least the property was similar to No. 241, High Street (destroyed in 1942) which I've also provisionally dated to c1660.
Between 1650 and 1700 there was a gradual development in Exeter towards a much lighter style of timber-framed construction. This new style tended to be characterised by the use of more slender pieces of wood, especially when compared to the massive framing used in such houses as the old Chevalier Inn on Fore Street (also destroyed in 1942) which dated to between c1610 and 1630.
As fashion changed, and after the city had been pounded during the English Civil War in the 1640s, there was less desire for the exuberant display of carved timber and multiple oriel windows once seen in such houses as Nos. 19 and 20 in North Street.
The lighter method of construction, both quicker and more economical, also probably had its origins in two other factors. One was the amount of devastation wrought on the city outside the East Gate and the South Gate. New housing was needed and much of the Eastgate and Southgate areas were completely rebuilt in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War (a large number of these rebuilt houses survived at Southgate until they were demolished in the 1960s). The other factor was a sharp increase in Exeter's population as, by 1700, Exeter was the fourth or fifth largest city in Britain.
The postcard view right shows Nos. 211 and 212 highlighted in red c1900. The portico of the Guildhall is to the left.
Another characteristic of post-Civil War timber-framed construction in Exeter was a drastic reduction in the oversailing jettied stories which are such a typical feature of the archetypal timber-framed house (and still represented at Exeter in such rare examples as the much-mauled No. 226 in the High Street or Nos. 41 and 42, also in the High Street). Between 1650 and 1700 these jettied floors were either reduced to a few inches or, more commonly, completely replaced with a totally flat facade.
Unfortunately, apart from my rambling supposition, I don't know much more about Nos. 211 and 212. It was located on the north side of the High Street, next to the medieval church of Allhallows. The very rare postcard above c1900 shows Nos. 211 and 212 to the right of the church. The entrance into Goldsmith Street is to the far left. Note the children balancing on the railings by the east window who provide the scene with a sense of scale. According to Peter Thomas in his book 'Aspects of Exeter', in the first two decades of the 19th century a hosier called Thomas Brown had his premises on the upper floor of the house next to the church and these premises were reached via a narrow passageway called Excise Passage.
Allhallows was demolished in 1906 to widen the entrance from the High Street into Goldsmith Street and, within a few years, Nos. 211 and 212 went the same way. They were replaced with another four-storey building. It was constructed of brick with dressed stone window surrounds, the third floor having timber-framed black and white decoration with an oriel window in the gable end overlooking the High Street. It is shown in the image left c1972. (The two buildings painted blue were Nos. 206 and 207, High Street. They were both demolished in 1979 and the original facades substituted with modified concrete replicas.)
The attractive Tudor Revival building lasted until 1979 when it too was demolished along with most of Goldsmith Street as part of the new Marks and Spencer redevelopment scheme. It was replaced with a very plain, shed-like structure with a single gable and drab, featureless walls interspersed with regimented rows of windows, below. People will have to decide for themselves if it is an improvement on the Edwardian building it replaced. According to the city council's conservation report for the High Street, Nos. 211 and 212 attempts "to complement the older buildings opposite". In truth there are many buildings in Exeter that are uglier than this but very few that are more insipid: