History & Heritage of Honiton

Much of Honiton’s history is tied up with its lace making heritage. Honiton at lace at one time was the world standard in lace making, so much so that Queen Victoria chose it for her wedding dress!

Today, Honiton continues to be associated with lace and is famous for being a centre of antiques. Despite being one of the older parishes in Devon, you will find that most of the buildings in the town centre are relatively modern, largely in part due to a fire which raged in the 18th century and led to much of the centre being rebuilt.

Learn about lace

The best place to learn about Honiton’s lace making heritage is at All Hallows Museum. It’s the oldest building in Honiton and dates back to 13th century and now displays the most extensive collection of Honiton Lace in the world. The museum also features exhibits made up of artefacts that have been uncovered in the area, including the Honiton Hippo – the fossilised remains of seventeen hippos that were discovered during the construction of the town’s bypass.

Devon's antique capital 

Though Honiton historically has been associated with the lace industry, it is today best known for being Devon's antique capital. The town regularly welcomes collectors to explore the antiquities on offer. Everywhere you look in the town centre, you'll find antique shops full of everything from furniture to toys and just about everything else you can think of. 

As well as All Hallows Museum, there are a number of other galleries, museums and historic sites in and around the town to explore, including several iron age forts. On the outskirts of the town is the WW2 Nissen Hut and Upottery Airfield Heritage Centre which contains unique records of the part locals played during the D Day landings and the day after. 

Honiton's Canadian connection

As you might expect from being one of Devon's oldest parishes, there are a number of fascinating medieval churches to be found in and around the town. One fascinating church is Wolford Chapel, which is part of the Simcoe Estate near Honiton. It is the final resting place of John Graves Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada and flies the Canadian flag. In fact, it is part of the territory of Ontario, making it a Canadian church in the middle of the English countryside. The chapel is a Grade II listed building and is owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust. 

 

Explore more in Honiton

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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?

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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

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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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