Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Honiton

HONITON, a municipal borough and market-town of England, county of Devon, is pleasantly situated on a rising ground on the left bank of the Otter and on the London and South-Western Railway, 16 miles E.N.E. of Exeter. It consists of one wide street about a mile in length, crossed by a smaller one at right angles. Along the main street there runs a small stream of water. The only buildings of importance are the old parish church, on an eminence about half a mile from the town, built by Courtenay, bishop of Exeter, about 1482, and possessing a curiously carved screen; the church of St Paul’s (now the parish church) in the centre of the town, in the Norman style; the dispensary; the St Margaret’s charity, originally erected as a hospital for lepers, but now used as almshouses; the union workhouse, erected in 1836, with accommodation for 250 inmates; the grammar school, the national schools, and the British school opened in 1878. The town is famed for its lace manufacture; and there are also breweries, malting establishments, flour mills, tanneries, brick and tile works, and an iron foundry. The population of the municipal borough in 1871 was 3464.


Honiton is supposed to have originated in a Roman settlement at Hembury fort, about 3 miles from the town, where there are still traces of an extensive camp conjectured to be the Moridunum of Antoninus. The town first sent members to parliament in the reign of Edward I., but after the reign of Edward II. the privilege was suspended until 1640. In 1867 its representation was limited to one member, and in 1868 it was disfranchised. It was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1846.