Honiton is a town in
Devon, situated close to the River
Otter, 17 miles northeast of Exeter in the
county of Devon.
town's name is pronounced in two ways (hʌnɪtɘn or hɒnitɘn), each
pronunciation having its adherents.
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
The location is mentioned in the Domesday Book
, meaning a
farmstead of a man called Huna. It became an important market town
known for its lace
making that was
introduced by Flemish
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. The town also became
known for its Honiton pottery
In the mid 18th century the town was largely destroyed by fire.
houses were then
built to replace some of those that had been destroyed.
more than doubled in size between the 1960s and 2005 with most
development taking place south of the Exeter to Waterloo railway
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
13th Century. 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
At noon, the Town Cryer
and other local dignitaries, raises
a garlanded pole with gloved hand at the top, and ploclaims 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.
The size of Honiton in 2005 was approximately 3.2 km².
development will be limited as Honiton borders the East Devon AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty) to the south and the Blackdown Hills AONB to the north and east.
AONBs have the
same level of protection as National Parks of England
which restricts new developments.
There are still indications of its history as a centre for lace
making, such as places called "Lace Walk" and the "Honiton Lace
Shop". Now a Chinese style restaurant, the shop’s role has been
filled by the Allhallows Museum of Lace and Local Antiquities
was once Allhallows Chapel, and built in the 13th century it is reputed to be the oldest
building in Honiton and also once housed Allhallows
St Michael's Parish Church, which was rebuilt in 1911 after a fire,
is situated on a small hill above the town.
The mid 19th Century St Paul's Church was designed by Charles Fowler
and is situated in the centre
of the town. Its erection required the demolition of half of the
adjacent Allhallows Chapel.
Honiton is host to the annual Honiton Agricultural
, a traditional event dating back to 1890.
has two primary schools ( Honiton
Primary School and Littletown Primary School) and Honiton
Community College which includes a sixth form.
Shops and leisure facilities
In Honiton there is a sports centre with swimming pool, and just
outside the town centre there are shops such as Homebase, Argos and
Tesco. Honiton has a good number of independent retailers including
a bookshop, fishing tackle shop Otter Country
, jeweller, clothing boutiques, cycle shop, butcher,
delicatessen and a fishmonger. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, an
outdoor market is held on the High Street. Honiton is also popular
with antique hunters, boasting over 20 antique shops.
The local football team is Honiton
(nicknamed 'rubbish'). It also has an active youth
football section, HTYFC
situated on the High Street has been a town institution
for many years and offers a relaxed meeting place for friends to
enjoy a drink together or participate in the Club's many
The local rugby team is Honiton Rugby
The town is at the junction of the busy A35
and the A376 roads. The A30 now
bypasses the town to the north. Until the bypass's construction in
1966, the town was blighted by traffic congestion.
For Community Transport information contact TRIP Community
Transport on 01404 46529
railway station is on the West
of England Main Line that runs from London Waterloo to Exeter.