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Honiton

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Honiton is a market town and civil parish in East Devon, situated close to the River Otter, 17 miles (27 km) north east of Exeter in the county of Devon. Honiton has a population estimated at 11,822 (based on mid-year estimates for the two Honiton Wards in 2009).
The town grew along the line of the Fosse Way, the ancient Roman road linking Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) to Lincoln (Lindum) on which it was an important stopping point. The location is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Honetone, meaning Huna’s tun or farmstead.
Honiton later grew to become an important market town, known for lace making that was introduced by Flemish immigrants in the Elizabethan era. In the 17th century thousands of people produced lace by hand in their homes, and in the 19th century Queen Victoria had her wedding dress made of Honiton lace, though the dress itself was made in the fishing village of Beer. The town also became known for its pottery.
In 1747 and 1765 the town were badly damaged by fires. Georgian houses were then built to replace some of those that had been destroyed.
The buildings of High Street are almost all Georgian, dating from after the two fires of 1747 and 1765. Of particular interest are Marwood House, 1619, and the Manor House, which was originally a coaching inn (the added porch is 19th-century). Honiton Garage dates from about 1700 and the Market Hall (which originally had arcades on the ground floor and an assembly room above) has a modest early-19th-century stone front.
St Michael's Parish Church, which was rebuilt in 1911 after a fire, is situated on a small hill above the town. The old church was large and perfectly rectangular: it was built in the Perpendicular style, with two aisles, two transepts (which did not project), and the chancel and two chancel chapels equal to it in length. The west tower and the outer walls are all that remains of the old building. The cost of the original building was paid by Bishop Courtenay of Exeter, lord of the manor of Honiton (west part) and by John and Joan Takell (east part).
The mid-19th-century St Paul’s Church was designed by Charles Fowler and is situated in the centre of the town. Its erection in 1835 required an act of Parliament and the demolition of half of the adjacent Allhallows Chapel. It was built in 1837–38 in a style incorporating elements of Romanesque architecture. There are pinnacles on the tower and the arcades inside have tall columns; above the nave is a clerestory which resembles those in early Christian basilicas.
Allhallows Museum of Lace and Local Antiquities claims to hold one of the most comprehensive collections of Honiton lace in the world. It is located in a building, claimed to be the oldest still extant in Honiton, which formerly belonged to Allhallows School from the 16th Century until the 1930s.
The Hot Pennies ceremony takes place annually on the first Tuesday after 19 July in the High Street of the town, and dates back to the reign of King Stephen. The ceremony has its roots in the practice of landed gentry taking pleasure in throwing hot pennies from windows to local peasants, a seemingly philanthropic 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.
At noon, the Town Crier, accompanied by the Mayor and other local dignitaries, raises a garlanded pole with gloved hand at the top, and proclaims that “no man may be arrested so long as this glove is up”. Warm pennies are then thrown from a number of balconies in the High Street to crowds of local people. The pole is then kept on display for the following “fair week”. The children of Honiton Community College are allowed off campus for the duration of the Hot Pennies Ceremony itself.
Honiton is host to the annual Honiton Agricultural Show, an event traditionally held on the first Thursday of August in fields near the town, dating back to 1890. Honiton has two primary schools, Honiton Primary School and Littletown Primary School, as well as a secondary school, Honiton Community College, which includes a sixth form.
Honiton is at the junction of the A35, the A30 and the A373 roads. The A30 now bypasses the town to the north. Until the bypass’s construction in 1966, the town was blighted by traffic congestion. The town is 10.5 miles (17 km) from Junction 28 of the M5. Honiton railway station is on the West of England Main Line that runs from London Waterloo to Exeter. Honiton is around 13 miles (21 km) from Exeter Airport. Honiton is twinned with Mézidon-Canon in France, and Gronau (Leine) in Germany.
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Thornbury

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Thornbury is a market town and civil parish in South Gloucestershire district of the county of Gloucestershire, England, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Bristol. It had a population of 12,063 at the 2011 Census. Thornbury is a Britain in Bloom award-winning town, with its own competition, Thornbury in Bloom. Nearby villages include Morton and Thornbury Park. The civil parish includes the hamlet of Milbury Heath.
There is evidence of human activity in the Thornbury area in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, but evidence of the Roman presence is limited to the Thornbury hoard, of 11,460 Roman coins dating from AD 260–348, found in 2004 during the digging for a fishpond. The earliest documentary evidence of a village at “Thornbyrig” dates from the end of the 9th century. Domesday Book noted a manor of “Turneberie” belonging to William the Conqueror's consort, Matilda of Flanders, with 104 residents. St Mary's Church, begun in the 12th century with later additions, is the oldest surviving building. The town charter was granted in 1252 by Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and lord of the manor of Thornbury. The charter's 750th anniversary in 2002 was celebrated with a “750” flowerbed planted in Grovesend Road. The town grew around the site of its cattle market. Thornbury lost its status as a borough in 19th-century local government reforms, but in 1974 the parish council exercised its new right to designate itself a town council. The ancient parish covered a large area extending to the River Severn, and included the detached area of Rangeworthy until 1866, when this became a separate civil parish. In 1894 the western part was detached to form the civil parish of Oldbury-on-Severn and the eastern part to create that of Falfield. Thornbury Township, Pennsylvania, USA, founded in 1687, was named after Thornbury, Gloucestershire, by George Pearce, whose wife Ann came from there. In 1765 Dr John Fewster of Thornbury presented a paper to the Medical Society of London entitled “Cow pox and its ability to prevent smallpox”. Fewster was a big influence on his friend and colleague Edward Jenner, the pioneer of vaccination. Thornbury was once the terminus of a Midland Railway (later LMS) branch line from Yate on the Bristol to Gloucester main line, with intermediate stations at Iron Acton and Tytherington. It lost its passenger services in June 1944 but lived on as a goods route, also serving quarries at Tytherington. The site of Thornbury railway station and the line have been redeveloped into a supermarket, a housing estate, a bypass road and a long footpath. Further relics of the line can be seen at Tytherington Quarry to the east of the town. There are plans to reopen the line to Yate via Tytherington and Iron Acton and possibly restore services to Gloucester and Bristol. Thornbury had a market held in the high street and the market hall. It closed in the late 1990s, being partly replaced by a smaller market in a car park near the United Reformed Church. The older site has been redeveloped as a community centre called “Turnberrie’s”; the older community centre, at 'the Chantry' in Castle Street remains in active use. The old market hall is now a clothes shop. Thornbury's coat of arms combines the arms of four families important to its history: Attwells, Howard, Clare and Stafford. John Attwells bequeathed £499.99 for the establishment of a free school that merged with the grammar school in 1879. The Attwells arms was later adopted as the badge for the grammar school. The other three families held the manor at Thornbury over several centuries, with the Latin motto Decus Sabrinae Vallis (Jewel of the Severn Vale).
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