TOPSHAM is a market-town and parish 3½ miles (S. E.) from Exeter,and is situated just above the influx of the river Clyst into the Exe, and about 6 miles from the sea.
Although village-sized, it was designated a town by a 1300 royal charter.
In 1850 it was remarked that “Topsham is so celebrated for the salubrity of its air that it is reported to have lost only one person when the plague was raging at Exeter and in the vicinity, in the reign of Charles II.; and during the desolation produced in the neighbourhood by the cholera, in 1832, it entirely escaped the contagion”.
St Margaret's Anglican Church in Topsham, dates back to the 10th century.
Topsham's was a thriving port, a centre for both fishing and shipbuilding. There are many 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.
Countess Wear is a modern parish (1844).
Topsham History Society is a source of great information about the town and its history
Exeter Memories contains a Topsham short history
Topsham Museum Society manages the local museum
The Topsham Society exists to protect the town and its environment
Topsham Museum is housed in one of a group of late 17th century buildings overlooking the Exe and tells the story of the town
Family History Information
Earliest Baptism registers 1600
Earliest marriage registers 1600
Earliest Burial registers 1600
Devon RO Holdings for Topsham Bap 1600-1993 Marr 1600-2014 Bur 1600-1965
Countess Wear (Topsham): Bap 1844-1956 M 1845-1970
Topsham Nonconformist (including Gulliford Chapel, Lympstone)Baptisms 1744-1883 Marriages 1771-1887 Burials 1771-1887
Topsham Independent/Congregational Marriages 1936-1948
Wesleyan Chapel: Registers for c1809-37 - see Axminster, Exeter Mint (PRO RG 4/512, 1207, 1208)
Society of Friends: Registers for 1642-1708 (Z), 1665-1706 (M), 1658-1708 (B) in PRO RG 6/1374
Registration District: St Thomas
Entered into the IGI: Baptisms 1610-1875, Marriages 1600-1875; Independent Chapel Christenings 1809-1837; Presbyterian Chapel 1744-1755, 1771-1837.
The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering: Marriages 1754-1837, Burials 1813-1837
Wills and Probate: Peculiar of the Dean & Chapter of Exeter
Hundred: East Budleigh
Where to find parish register transcripts and copies
The best and most obvious place to view the Topsham parish registers is the Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter where all the originals, microfilms and fiche are kept. It is not always possible to visit Exeter and so copies or indexes are the next best thing. Below are some sites where you can find these with the date ranges.
Please note - Find my Past is a subscription site and Family Search is free
Topsham Baptisms 1600-1914 Find My Past
Topsham Banns 1783-1915 Find My Past
Topsham Marriages 1600-1915 Find My Past
Topsham Burials 1600-1915 Find My Past
Bishops Transcripts 1838-1887 Family Search
Transcripts of the Parish Registers 1600-1837 by the Devon & Cornwall Record Society are held at the Devon Archives and Local Studies Centre
St Margarets, Topsham: Bap 1740-1839 Free Reg
St Margarets, Topsham Marr 1600-1839 Free Reg
St Margarets, Topsham Bur 1600-1839 Free Reg
Independent Cong Chapel at Topsham: Bap 1800-1839 Free Reg
Unity /Presyb/Unitarian Chapel Topsham: Bap 1740-1839 Free Reg
Roy Parkhouse provides an index to Topsham Burials, 1714-1837 (archived copy) Warning slow to load
Information available via this site for Topsham
Here is a summary of resources I have available to share with you or links to other sites of interest. Some are transcriptions or extracts and will be on this site; some, for reasons of copyright are in my possession and I or another person will do lookups where you see the email button.
1851 LDS CD - Rom Look - ups available email keith searle
1881 LDS CD - Rom Lookups available keith searle or from LDS web site
I do not have any transcripts of Topsham parish registers but would welcome any holdings that you may have.
Devon Heritage has a number of records -
Private Sydney Anstey of Topsham writes home from the 2nd Boer War
By Joyce Dennys
Steamers of the Devonshire Coast
The disused Budleigh Salterton Railway Station - Link
The War Memorial 1914 to 1918
The War Memorial 1939 to 1945
Not yet available
Topsham Tithe Map 1839
Not yet available
Books about Topsham
None listed yet