Whimple is a village in East Devon, South West England, approximately nine miles due east of the city of Exeter, and three miles from the nearest small town, Ottery St Mary. It was listed in the Domesday Book as 'Winpla' which according to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names was originally the name of the stream that runs through the village, a Celtic name meaning 'white pool or stream'. The village is centred around the largely 19th century village square and rebuilt Norman church (which W. G. Hoskins described as having little of interest 'except a few carved bench ends'). Through the square runs a small stream which is one of many local tributaries of the River Clyst, which in turn feeds into the Exe.

Whimple is large enough to support two pubs and a Church of England primary school, and was mainly notable during the 20th century as being the home of Whiteway's cyder and pear products. Although the factory lands were sold off for housing in the 1990s, the village is still surrounded by orchards of cider apples and in its heyday boasted the largest cyder apple orchards in the world. It is now home to the unrelated O'Hanlon's brewery.

The centre of the village is about one mile north of the old A30 road, or 1.5 miles from the new dual carriageway. Whimple railway station is on the West of England Main Line from London Waterloo to Exeter.


Whimple is famous for it's long tradition of wassailing which it celebrates every year on Old Twelvey Night - 17 January.

The Whimple Wassail is an orchard-visiting wassail ceremony and was first mentioned by the victorian author and folklorist; the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould in his book Devon Characters and Strange Events (published 1908).

Later in 1931 the Whimple Wassail was given further mention in the Devon & Exeter Gazette describing how the Wassail was hosted at Rull Farm, Whimple by a Mr & Mrs Reynolds.

The ceremony stopped during World War II but was revived by the Whimple History Society in 1980 and has grown into a very popular tradition attracting visitors from all over the country.


Roy Hattersley once wrote a piece describing village life Whimple in The Guardian, which consistently misspelled it as 'Wimple'.

The Whimple Wassail song and processional tune were recorded by local folk musician Jim Causley, a native of Whimple, on his album Fruits of the Earth, a collection of traditional Devonshire and Westcountry songs, released in 2005 on WildGoose Records.

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