For the locality in South Australia, see Honiton, South Australia.

 Honiton shown within Devon
Population 11,822 (2009)[1]
OS grid referenceST164004
Civil parishHoniton
DistrictEast Devon
Shire countyDevon
RegionSouth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town HONITON
Postcode district EX14
Dialling code 01404
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK ParliamentTiverton and Honiton
List of places

Coordinates: 50°48′N 3°11′W / 50.80°N 3.19°W / 50.80; -3.19

Honiton (/ˈhʌnitən/ or /ˈhɒnitən/) is a market town and civil parish in East Devon, situated close to the River Otter, 17 miles (27 km) north east of Exeter in the county of Devon. Honiton has a population estimated at 11,822[1] (based on mid-year estimates for the two Honiton Wards in 2009).


The town grew along the line of the Fosse Way, the ancient Roman road linking Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) to Lincoln (Lindum) on which it was an important stopping point. The location is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Honetone, meaning Huna's tun or farmstead.[2] It became an important market town, known for its lace making that was introduced by Flemish immigrants in the Elizabethan era. In the 17th century thousands of people produced lace by hand in their homes, and later in the 19th century Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace, though the dress itself was made in the fishing village of Beer.[3] The town also became known for its pottery.[4]

In 1765 the town was largely destroyed by fire.[5] Georgian houses were then built to replace some of those that had been destroyed.[6]


The buildings of High Street are almost all Georgian, dating from after the two fires of 1747 and 1765. Of particular interest are Marwood House, 1619, and the Manor House, which was originally a coaching inn (the added porch is 19th-century). Honiton Garage dates from about 1700 and the Market Hall (which originally had arcades on the ground floor and an assembly room above) has a modest early-19th-century stone front.[7]

Honiton Town Museum

St Michael's Parish Church, which was rebuilt in 1911 after a fire, is situated on a small hill above the town. The old church was large and perfectly rectangular: it was built in the Perpendicular style, with two aisles, two transepts (which did not project), and the chancel and two chancel chapels equal to it in length. The west tower and the outer walls are all that remains of the old building. The cost of the original building was paid by Bishop Courtenay of Exeter, lord of the manor of Honiton (west part) and by John and Joan Takell (east part).[7]

The mid-19th-century St Paul's Church was designed by Charles Fowler and is situated in the centre of the town. Its erection in 1835 required an act of Parliament[8] and the demolition of half of the adjacent Allhallows Chapel. It was built in 1837–38 in a style incorporating elements of Romanesque architecture. There are pinnacles on the tower and the arcades inside have tall columns; above the nave is a clerestory which resembles those in early Christian basilicas.[9]


Honiton is host to the annual Honiton Agricultural Show, a traditional event dating back to 1890.[10]

The Hot Pennies ceremony takes place annually on the first Tuesday after 19 July in the High Street of the town, and dates back to the reign of King Stephen. The ceremony has its roots in the practice of landed gentry taking pleasure in throwing hot pennies from windows to local peasants, a seemingly philanthropic gesture resulting in burns. The custom also had the purpose of encouraging people to travel to the town from the surrounding area to attend a subsequent fair.[11]

At noon, the Town Crier accompanied by the Mayor and other local dignitaries, raises a garlanded pole with gloved hand at the top, and proclaims that "no man may be arrested so long as this glove is up". Warm pennies are then thrown from a number of balconies in the High Street to crowds of local people. The pole is then kept on display for the following "fair week". The children of Honiton Community College are allowed off campus for the duration of the Hot Pennies Ceremony itself.[12][13][14]


Honiton has two primary schools, Honiton Primary School[15] and Littletown Primary School,[16] and a secondary school, Honiton Community College,[17] which includes a sixth form.


Honiton is at the junction of the A35, the A30 and the A373 roads. The A30 now bypasses the town to the north. Until the bypass's construction in 1966, the town was blighted by traffic congestion. The town is 10.5 miles (17 km) from Junction 28 of the M5.[18] Honiton railway station is on the West of England Main Line that runs from London Waterloo to Exeter.

Twin towns

Honiton is twinned with Mézidon-Canon in France, and Gronau-Leine in Germany.[19]

Notable residents


  1. 1 2 "Ward mid-year population estimates for England and Wales (experimental)". Office for National Statistics. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
  2. Poulton-Smith, Anthony (15 April 2010). South Devon Place Names. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-4456-3098-4.
  3. Moore, N.H. (1937). The Lace Book. Рипол Классик. p. 311. ISBN 978-5-87721-817-8.
  4. Heptinstall, Simon (2008). Devon. Crimson Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-85458-426-7.
  5. Fisher, Lois H. (March 1980). A literary gazetteer of England. McGraw-Hill. p. 273.
  6. AA traveler's color guide to Britain. Automobile Association, Random House Value Publishing. 13 November 1985. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-517-49298-7.
  7. 1 2 Pevsner, N. (1952) South Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin; pp. 181–83
  8. Kelly (1902). Kelly's directory.
  9. Pevsner, N. (1952) South Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin; p. 183
  10. Great Britain. Lands Tribunal (1954). A Selected List of Lands Tribunal Rating Appeals. Rating and Valuation Association. p. 60.
  11. Honiton (2010). Honiton – A Glimpse Back, T Darrant.
  12. "Hot Pennies Day". Honiton Council. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  13. "Honiton's hot pennies - how the tradition started". ITV. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  14. "Honiton". Devon County Council. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  15. Honiton Primary School
  16. Littletown Primary School
  17. Honiton Community College
  18. Honiton, Devon, UK to Station Rd/A373 – Google Maps. Maps.google.co.uk (1 January 1970). Retrieved on 22 May 2012.
  19. Honiton Twinning Association | Honiton Town Council. honiton.gov.uk. Retrieved on 16 April 2013.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/27/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.