HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV21788
Name:Honiton Borough


Honiton is thought to be an example of a medieval 'new' town. It gained official borough status in 1193.


Grid Reference:ST 16 00
Map Sheet:ST10SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHoniton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishHONITON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST10SE/1/1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BURGH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Beresford, M. W. + Finberg, H. P. R., 1973, English Medieval Boroughs. A Handlist, 92 (Monograph). SDV6626.

Honiton. Borough founded in 1193 by William de Vernon, fifth Earl of Devon. Represented as a borough in 1238 by twelve jurors.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 118, 123, 132 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

Honiton is considered to be a medieval 'new' town. Such towns were created by Lords of the Manor who hoped to profit from the revenue of burgage rents and market dues and were typically located along main thoroughfares and at river crossings. The towns regular layout suggests that it was planned within a short period of time but suggestions that it represents a migration from an earlier settlement around St. Michael's Church cannot at present be supported. If such a migration had occurred, it would have been before 1217 for by that time Honiton had gained official borough status as one of three urban communities founded in Devon by Vernon, Early of Devon.
Honiton appears in a list of boroughs of 1238 and from thereon features regularly in 14th century tax assessments. Such was its early growth that in 1286 it brought more revenue to the Lord of the Manor than the manor itself. The grant of a market and fair is first recorded in that year. In 1312 the manor passed into the hands of the Courtenays who retained possession through to the 19th century.
Honiton owes its development as a prosperous settlement to its strategic position on the main London to Exeter route. It also developed its own industrial activities. It was one of the smaller centres of the woollen industry and from the 17th century its name has been associated with lace-making.
A fire in 1765 destroyed many of the buildings along the High Street with the result that the town has a fine series of 18th century houses. The major archaeological significance, however, of Honiton lies in its town plan the regularity of which still attests to the plantation of a complete urban unit in the 13th century.

Dixon, T. + Weddell, P. J., 1995, Archaeological and Historical Appraisal of the Town of Honiton, East Devon, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV338066.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV338066Report - Assessment: Dixon, T. + Weddell, P. J.. 1995. Archaeological and Historical Appraisal of the Town of Honiton, East Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 95.49. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 118, 123, 132.
SDV6626Monograph: Beresford, M. W. + Finberg, H. P. R.. 1973. English Medieval Boroughs. A Handlist. English Medieval Boroughs. A Handlist. A5 Hardback. 92. [Mapped feature: #11607 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV108743Part of: Honiton (Monument)
MDV105823Related to: Burgage Plots High Street, Honiton (Monument)
MDV17552Related to: Honiton Domesday Settlement (Monument)
MDV14179Related to: Honiton Early Medieval Settlement (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Dec 17 2014 3:09PM