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Coordinates: 50°48′N 3°11′W / 50.80°N 3.19°W / 50.80; -3.19
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Honiton is located in Devon
Location within Devon
Population11,822 (2009)[1]
OS grid referenceST164004
Civil parish
  • Honiton
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townHONITON
Postcode districtEX14
Dialling code01404
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
FireDevon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
Websitewww.honiton.gov.uk Edit this at Wikidata
List of places
50°48′N 3°11′W / 50.80°N 3.19°W / 50.80; -3.19

Honiton (/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). Contrary to 19th-century theories, it is unlikely to have been known as a stopping-point by the Romans, who built a small fort for that purpose just to the west of the present town. Honiton's location is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Honetone, meaning Huna's tun or farmstead.[2]


Honiton later grew to become an important market town, known for 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 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 1747 and 1765 the town was badly damaged by fires.[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]


St Paul's Church in the early evening
St Paul's Church in the early evening

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 Town Museum
This shows lace bobbins on a lace making pillow on display at the Allhallows Museum in Honiton, England.

Allhallows Museum of Lace and Local Antiquities claims to hold one of the most comprehensive collections of Honiton lace in the world. It is located in a building, claimed to be the oldest still extant in Honiton, which formerly belonged to Allhallows School from the 16th Century until the 1930s.[10]


Honiton Hot Pennies Ceremony[edit]

Honiton was granted a royal charter in 1221 during the reign of King Henry III that allowed it to hold a market.[11] To celebrate, the town held the Honiton Fair, originally on Allhallows Eve and Allhallows Day (1 November), the date was changed in 1247 to the eve and feast of St Margaret (19/20 July). In order to encourage people to travel to the town from the surrounding area to attend a subsequent fair without fear of arrest for their debts, no arrests for outstanding debts were allowed while the fair took place.[12] At the beginning landed gentry took pleasure in throwing hot chestnuts from windows to local peasants and over time these gave way to hot pennies, a seemingly philanthropic gesture resulting in burns (until the peasants figured out to wear gloves or use a cloth to pick the pennies up).

The Hot Pennies ceremony still takes place annually in the High Street of the town. 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 "The glove is up. No man may be arrested until the glove is taken down". 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".[13][14][15]

Agricultural Show[edit]

Honiton is host to the annual Honiton Agricultural Show,[16] an event traditionally held on the first Thursday of August in fields near the town, dating back to 1890.[17]


Honiton has two primary schools, Honiton Primary School[18] and Littletown Primary School,[19] as well as a secondary school, Honiton Community College,[20] which includes a sixth form.


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC South West and ITV West Country. Television signals are received from the Stockland Hill and local relay transmitters. [21] [22]

Local radio stations are BBC Radio Devon on 103.4 FM, Heart West on 103.0 FM, and East Devon Radio, a community based radio station which broadcast to the town on 94.6 FM.[23]

The town is served by the local newspaper, Midweek Herald which is published on Wednesdays.[24]



Honiton is at the junction of the A35, the A30, A373 and A375 roads. The A30 now bypasses the town to the north. Until the bypass's construction in 1966, the town was blighted by traffic congestion. Though, according to many residents, it still is. The town is 10½ miles from Junction 28 of the M5.[25] Despite Honiton's relatively small size, as a primary route destination beyond the western end of the A303, Honiton is signed from as far as Amesbury, over 60 miles away.


Honiton railway station is on the West of England Main Line and is served by South Western Railway services to London Waterloo and Exeter St Davids.


Stagecoach provides regular bus links to Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary and onwards to Exeter, Stagecoach also operates limited service to Seaton, Devon. Dartline operates the town service and limited services between Taunton and additional services to Seaton.


Honiton is around 13 miles from Exeter Airport.

Twin towns[edit]

Honiton is twinned with Mézidon-Canon in France, and Gronau (Leine) in Germany.[26]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ward mid-year population estimates for England and Wales (experimental)". Office for National Statistics. p. 1. Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  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. ISBN 9780070210981. Archived from the original on 14 June 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  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. ^ a b Pevsner, N. (1952) South Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin; pp. 181–83
  8. ^ Kelly (1902). Kelly's directory. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  9. ^ Pevsner, N. (1952) South Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin; p. 183
  10. ^ Museums, Devon. "Allhallows Museum – Museums in HONITON". Devon Museums. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Honiton Hot Pennies Ceremony celebrates 800 years of royal charter". 27 July 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  12. ^ Honiton (2010). Honiton – A Glimpse Back, T Darrant. ASIN 0952813947.
  13. ^ "Hot Pennies Day". Honiton Council. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Honiton's hot pennies – how the tradition started". ITV. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  15. ^ "Honiton". Devon County Council. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Honiton Show". honitonshow.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  17. ^ Great Britain. Lands Tribunal (1954). A Selected List of Lands Tribunal Rating Appeals. Rating and Valuation Association. p. 60.
  18. ^ "Honiton Primary School". Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  19. ^ "Littletown Primary School". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Honiton Community College". Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Full Freeview on the Stockland Hill (Devon, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  22. ^ "Freeview Light on the Honiton (Devon, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  23. ^ "About Us - East Devon Radio". Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  24. ^ "Midweek Herald". British Papers. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  25. ^ Honiton, Devon, UK to Station Rd/A373 – Google Maps. Maps.google.co.uk (1 January 1970). Retrieved on 22 May 2012.
  26. ^ Honiton Twinning Association | Honiton Town Council Archived 28 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine. honiton.gov.uk. Retrieved on 16 April 2013.
  27. ^ Remarkable Women of Devon Gray, Todd. 2009 p. 144. Exeter: The Mint Press. ISBN 978-1-903356-59-3

External links[edit]