Allhallows Museum, Honiton
The history of Honiton can be found in the Allhallows Museum, the oldest secular building in Honiton. Built sometime before 1327 the museum was initially a roadside chapel for travellers. All Hallows or All Saints being appropriate for the many travellers passing through on their way to other parts of the country.
Starting in the Murch Gallery with early archaelogical finds of hippopotamus and elephant bones that were found when the foundations for the Honiton by-pass were dug. The museum exhibits progress through the early history of the town and has exhibits of tools and items from every day life in times past.
Next learn about the history of the Allhallows School, originally sited around the museum. In 1930 the school outgrew the premises and moved to its present situation at Rousden and in 1946 the building was purchased by the townspeople and opened as the Honiton and Allhallows Public Museum.
A huge collection of Honiton lace is on show in Nichol Gallery. Lace making was a huge industry in East Devon during the 17th and 18th Centuries and many pieces of high quality, hand made lace are on display covering a period of about 400 years. These include Dr Sprigg’s collection of European lace and include many early needle laces. The lace collection is continued in the Norman Gallery – these are arranged in chronological order.
You can also enjoy a selection of Honiton pottery, made famous by designer Charles Collard during the late 19th and early 20th century, before he left to start his own pottery in Poole.
Something that I especially enjoy looking at is the beautiful Victorian dolls house. It was made about 1840 and has six beautifully furnished rooms filled with period furniture. A drawing room and music room has the original wallpaper and hand worked carpets.
Another section is devoted to Joseph P Kennedy Jr, elder brother of John F Kennedy. Joe Kennedy was in the United States Air Force and was based at nearby Dunkeswell during World War II. It was from Dunkeswell that the plane carrying Kennedy and a co-pilot took off on 12th August 1944.
In July 1944, he had volunteered for a special mission piloting a modified version of the PB4Y Liberator intended to counter the German V-2 rocket attacks on England. The plane was to be loaded with high explosives, flown across the English Channel, where the pilot and co-pilot would parachute out, and the plane would then crash into a German V-2 base. Before Kennedy jumped, the plane was engulfed in a massive explosion. Kennedy's body was never recovered, and he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
Open from Easter until the end of October, you’ll find Allhallows Museum well worth a visit.
To learn more about the museum history visit the Allhallows Museum website
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