Topsham, Devon


Topsham, Devon

:"for other locations of this name, see Topsham"

infobox UK place
country= England
official_name= Topsham
latitude= 50.6860
longitude= -3.4651
population= 5,023 (Ward - 2001 Census)
shire_district= Exeter
shire_county= Devon
region= South West England
constituency_westminster=
post_town=
postcode_district=
postcode_area=
dial_code=
os_grid_reference= SX966884

Topsham is a small town in Devon, England, on the east side of the River Exe estuary between Exeter and Exmouth. It is served by Topsham railway station.

The native Celtic settlement of Topsham became the port of the Roman city of Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter) in the first century AD, and continued to serve it until the Roman occupation southern Britain ceased about the year 400. In the 7th century the Saxon rule in East Devon saw the settlement grow into a considerable village.

Although village-sized, with a current population of around 5,023, it was designated a town by a 1300 royal charter. It is now officially a suburb of Exeter. Topsham's position, offering a sheltered harbour to seagoing trade has enabled it to thrive as a port, a centre for fishing and shipbuilding, and notably was the scene of a Parliamentarian naval assault during the civil war.

Formerly a major seaport, it is of current interest for its architecture, scenery and proximity to the nature reserves for wading and migrating birds on the Exe estuary, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

There are a large number of Dutch style houses in Topsham dating from the time when Topsham was an important cotton port. Many of Topsham's houses are built using Dutch bricks, which were brought over as ballast from Holland - to where the wool and cotton from South-West England had been exported.

Topsham Museum is located in one of a set of 17th century buildings looking out over the Exe Estuary. The lovely furnished period rooms of the house, themselves can be explored, together with displays of the local history of the town and memorabilia of Vivien Leigh, the film star. The museum is open from April to October, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

St Margaret's Church in Topsham, part of the Church of England, dates back to the 10th Century. Although reconstructed several times through the years, it remains in its original location as granted in 937 by King Athelstan, who gave "a parcel of land, i.e. a manse, which the vulgar called Toppesham, to the monastery Church of St Mary and St Peter in Exeter, for the cure of his soul, to have in eternal freedom so long as the Christian Church shall endure."

Topsham enjoys cult status with students of nearby Exeter University and Rolle College as the home of the "Topsham Ten", a pubcrawl of ten pubs in a little over a mile.

External links

* [http://www.exetercd.freeservers.com/Topsham.html Photographs of Topsham and nearby Exeter]
* [http://www.topsham.org Topsham town page]
* [http://www.exeter.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1698 The port of Topsham] Exeter City Council page
* [http://www.devonmuseums.net/topsham Topsham Museum page]
* [http://www.stmargaretstopsham.org.uk/ St Margaret's Church (Topsham) page]
* [http://www.topsham.com Topsham website]


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