Honiton boasts a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries. Situated in the picturesque Otter Valley, this town has played a significant role in the cultural, economic, and social tapestry of Devon.

The origins of Honiton can be traced back to prehistoric times, evidenced by the presence of ancient hill forts and burial mounds in the surrounding countryside. However, the town as it is known today began to take shape during the medieval period. Its name is believed to derive from the Old English word "Hony-tūn," meaning a farmstead where honey was produced. This suggests that beekeeping and honey production were important activities in the area.

During the 13th and 14th centuries, Honiton flourished as a market town, benefiting from its strategic location along the busy Exeter to London road. The weekly market, granted by royal charter in 1257, became a focal point for trade, attracting merchants, farmers, and craftsmen from the region. 

Honiton's prosperity grew further with the development of its textile industry, particularly renowned for its production of exquisite lace and intricate Honiton lace became highly sought after worldwide, earning acclaim for its fine craftsmanship and delicate designs. The town's association with lace-making reached its zenith during the 19th century when Queen Victoria chose a Honiton lace veil for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, sparking a surge in demand for this exquisite handcrafted lace. The industry thrived, providing employment for many locals and gaining international recognition for its superior quality.

In the modern era, Honiton embraces its heritage while adapting to contemporary times. The lace-making tradition, although diminished, remains an integral part of the town's identity, celebrated through museums, festivals, and local artisanal workshops. The weekly market still thrives, offering a vibrant array of goods, reflecting both tradition and modernity.

Honiton's history is a tapestry woven with threads of industry, craftsmanship, conflict, and resilience. Its story is confined within the boundaries of Devon and extends to a global stage through its renowned lace. As the town evolves, it preserves its legacy, ensuring that the echoes of its past reverberate through the streets, inviting visitors to explore and appreciate its rich historical tapestry.

Where to enjoy nature in East Devon

  • 3 minute read

February is here already which means that it will be spring in no time! If you want to see the seasons change while exploring Honiton and the wider East Devon area, here are some suggestions to help you spy the first inklings of spring, the changing plantlife and even the new birds, lambs and…

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Victorian pottery found in Honiton sold for over £9,000

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A piece of pottery donated to a charity shop in Honiton has sold at auction for just under £10,000 – reaching a total of £9,800. The piece was described as an antique spoon warmer, which was popular during the Victorian era to keep serving spoons warm. It was discovered that the pottery was created…

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How much do you know about Honiton’s Lace making history?

  • 2 minute read

Honiton is famous for its lace, so much so that it was used to create Queen Victoria’s wedding gown. Were you aware of just how special Honiton lace is? Here’s everything you need to know. Honiton lace is a type of lace known as bobbin lace, which is made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread…

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Honiton Hippo collage unveiled at Honiton station

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A collaborative collage created by Honiton Primary pupils at Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) has been unveiled at Honiton Station. The artwork was officially unveiled at Honiton Station by the Mayor of Honiton, Councillor Helen Hurford. In a project led by the Friends of Honiton Station, attractive new…

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A History of Honiton

  • 2 minute read

Honiton boasts a rich and fascinating history that spans centuries. Situated in the picturesque Otter Valley, this town has played a significant role in the cultural, economic, and social tapestry of Devon. The origins of Honiton can be traced back to prehistoric times, evidenced by the presence of…

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Bring your Dogs to Honiton

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Honiton has earned its reputation as a dog-friendly haven. Known for its historic market square, thriving local businesses, and picturesque surroundings, Honiton offers a warm welcome not only to its human visitors but also to their four-legged companions. From scenic walks to pet-friendly…

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