Whimple Heritage Centre
What is Whimple?
Whimple is a small, traditional village set in the beautiful East Devon countryside, about 25 minutes drive from the South Coast, from Exeter and also from Honiton.
The Fosse Way, the oldest of the Roman roads which extended from Exeter to Lincoln, passes just a mile south of the village and can sometimes be seen during dry periods as a crop mark on the landscape.
Whimple’s development as a village probably began around 700AD as the Anglo Saxons moved westward, possibly along the Fosse Way, looking for fertile farmland. The Saxons typically renamed places in their own language, Old English, however unusually Whimple retained its Brythonic Celtic name meaning white pool.
The first record we have of Whimple was in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is described as a medium sized village with 18 households.
Farming has been the lifeblood of the village for centuries. Flax was common at one time, followed by hops in the early 1800's when the quality was reported to be superior to those from Sussex and Kent. Whimple in the 19th century had a brick and tile works at Strete Ralegh, collecting raw materials locally from still visible pits. There was also a Tannery, referred to as a 'Tan Pit' on the Tithe Map of 1842, which ceased to function between 1850 and 1857.
More recently, Whimple was the home of the renowned Whiteway’s Cyder and Perry factory until it closed in 1989 and the land was sold to provide new housing in the 1990s. In its prime, Whimple had the largest apple orchards in the world and many of the old orchards can still be seen surrounding the village.
The village supports two pubs, both of which serve excellent food, a village shop and post office, a primary school, Village Hall, cricket club and railway station.