[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]

"TOPSHAM, a parish, seaport, and market town in the hundred of Wonford, county Devon, 4 miles S.E. of Exeter, and 5 N. of Exmouth. It is a station on the Exmouth branch of the Great Western railway. It is situated on the left bank of the river Exe at its junction with the small river Clyst, here crossed by a bridge, and on the direct road from Exeter to Exmouth. It was anciently called Apsham, or Apsom, and was for many years the port of Exeter, which city purchased the mano perial rights of the Courtenays in 1778. Since the formation of the ship canal vessels can ascend to Exeter, and the shipping trade is now transferred to that city and to Exmouth. A good general business is still done in shipbuilding, ropemaking, the coasting trade, and shipping assurance clubs, which have lately been established. The quays, building yards, and bonding warehouses are principally the property of the town council of Exeter, and of Messrs. Holmans and Davys. The town consists chiefly of one street, extending about a mile along the bank of the Exe, and terminating in the strand at the lower end of the town. The streets. are paved and lighted with gas. The parish includes, besides the town of its own name, the chapelry of Countess Weir. The soil is fertile, resting on a subsoil of red gravel and sandstone. The principal residences are Wear House, the seat of Sir J. T. B. Duckworth, Bart., M.P., Grove Field House, the Retreat, and Newport House. The living is a perpetual curacy,* value £325, in the diocese of Exeter, and in the patronage of the dean and chapter. The church, dedicated to St. Margaret, is on a cliff near the centre of the town, and was enlarged in 1794; in the interior are two monuments, by Chantrey, of the Duckworths. The Independents, Reformed Wesleyans, Wesleyans, and Unitarians have chapels, and the two last schools attached. There are National schools, partly endowed, and also a good museum of local antiquities and fossils belonging to F. W. L. Ross, Esq., of Broadway House, Fore Street, open to the public on Mondays. The charities produce about £250 per annum. Saturday is market day. A fair for pedlery is held on the Thursday preceding the 19th of July."

"COUNTESSWEIR, a chapelry in the parish of Topsham, in the county of Devon. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Exeter, value £100, in the patronage of the Incumbent of Topsham."

"NUTWELL COURT, a seat in the parish of Topsham, hundred of Wonford, county Devon, 5 miles S.E. of Exeter. It is situated on the river Ex, near its confluence with the Clyst, and belongs to Sir T. T. Drake, Bart., through Lord Heathfield."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003