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Topsham, Devon

Historical Description

Topsham, a small town and a parish in Devonshire. The town stands on the river Exe immediately above the influx of the Clist, with a station on the L. & S.W.R., 175 miles from London, and 4 SSE of Exeter. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Exeter. Topsham was the only port of Exeter prior to The opening of the ship canal in 1544, and had then a larger trade with Newfoundland than any other port of England; it suffered an attack by The Earl of Warwick on the occasion of the siege of Exeter in 1643, was the headquarters of Fairfax prior to his removal to Ottery in 1645, comprises one long street of irregular breadth and several smaller streets, and includes in the S a section called the Strand, consisting chiefly of genteel houses and commanding fine views. It carries on a coasting trade, and has a fair on the Thursday after 18 July. The parish includes Countess Weir ecclesiastical district. Acreage, 1588; population of civil parish, 2833; of ecclesiastical, 2447. There is a parish council of fifteen members. The manor belonged anciently to the Crown, and afterwards was held for a long period by the Earls of Devon. There are numerous good residences. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter; net value, £265 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter. The vicarage of Countess Weir is a separate benefice. The church is a spacious edifice of stone in the Decorated style, was entirely rebuilt between 1869 and 1877, and contains some good monuments. There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels. A vestry hall was erected in 1886, and the Victoria Pier and Promenade was constructed in 1887.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDevon 
Ecclesiastical parishTopsham St. Margaret 
Poor Law unionSt. Thomas 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in association with the South West Heritage Trust, Parochial Church Council, and Devon Family History Society have the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials online for Topsham

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Topsham from the following:


Online maps of Topsham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1564, with additions from the earlier visitation of 1531, is online.

The Visitations of the County of Devon, comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620, with additions by Lieutant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, published for the author by Henry S. Eland, Exeter 1895 is online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtEX3
Post TownExeter