Topsham Devon Family History Guide

Topsham is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Devon.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1600
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1606

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Presbyterian, Protestant Dissenters, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, Unitarian, and Wesleyan Methodist. 

Adjacent Parishes

  • Exeter St Leonard
  • Heavitree
  • Exminster
  • Woodbury with Exton
  • Wear
  • Clyst St George
  • Clyst St Mary

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

TOPSHAM, a small town, a parish, and a sub-district, in St. Thomas district, Devon. The town stands on the river Exe, immediately above the influx of the Clist, and on the Exeter and Exmouth railway, 4 miles SSE of Exeter; was the only port of Exeter prior to the opening of the ship canal in 1544; had then a larger trade with Newfoundland than any other port of England; suffered an attack by the Earl of Warwick, on 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; includes, in the S, a section called the Strand, consisting chiefly of genteel houses, and commanding very fine views; carries on ship-building, chain-making, rope-making, and a considerable coasting trade; and has a head post-office, a r. station with telegraph, two chief inns, a fine parish church, Independent and Wesleyan chapels, a national school, charities £151, and a fair on the Thursday after 18 July. Pop. in 1861, 2,772. Houses, 539. The parish includes Countess-Weir chapelry, and comprises 1,570 acres of land and 170 of water. Real property, £11,085; of which £85 are in gasworks. Pop. in 1851, 3,377; in 1861, 3,503. Houses, 682. The manor belonged anciently to the Crown, and afterwards was held, for a long period, by the Earls of Devon. Weir House is the seat of Sir J. T. B. Duckworth, Bart.; and there are numerous good residences. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Exeter. Value, £290. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of E. The p. curacy of Countess-Weir is a separate benefice. The sub-district contains five parishes. Acres, 6,207. Pop., 4,777. Houses, 945.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

FamilySearch - Free

Birth Marriage and Death Records

England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887

England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-1912

England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

England Marriages, 1538–1973 

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Grave Indexes

BillionGraves Index

Find A Grave Index

Migration and Naturalisation Records

Migration Records at FamilySearch

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries

Census Records

England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales National Register, 1939

Probate and Court Records

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

Military Records

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920


Vision of Britain historical maps


County: Devon
Civil Registration District: St Thomas
Probate Court: Court of the Peculiars of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter
Diocese: Exeter
Rural Deanery: Pre-1848 - None, Post-1847 - Aylesbeare
Poor Law Union: St Thomas
Hundred: Wonford
Province: Canterbury