Famous for Lace Making, East Devon
Honiton has a population of 11,900 (approx). The town and civil parish is located in East Devon, close to the River Otter. Historically the town grew along the line of the Fosse Way, the Roman road that ran from Lincoln all the way to Exeter and during the Elizabethan era Honiton became an important market town. This status was due to the town’s lace making that had been introduced by Flemish immigrants. In the 17th century thousands of people produced lace by hand at their homes, and in the 19th century, Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace.
In the mid 18th century the town was destroyed by fire, and many fine Georgian houses were built to replace those destroyed by the fire.
Honiton more than doubled in size between the 1960’s and 2005, most development taking place south of the Exeter to Waterloo rail line. It is within easy commuting distance to the University city of Exeter.
The annual Hot Pennies Ceremony takes place 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 philantrophic 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.
Honiton has two primary schools and a secondary school, Honiton Community College.
The town has many independent retailers as well as Tesco’s, Homebase and Argos just outside the town centre.
Honiton is twinned with Mezidon-Canon in France, and Gronau-Leine in Germany.