Visit to Topsham 5 April, 2017
On a glorious April morning three of us caught an early train to Topsham. We spent some time in making our way from Fore Street to the Strand via St Margaret’s churchyard, then, descending to water level, spent the rest of the morning supping coffee in the Pig & Pallet (where you are admitted by ‘oinking’), then having a look around the big antiques centre followed by lunch in the Lighter Inn.
We made our way to the car park in Holman Way where we met with our guide at 1.30pm. Two more members of the group joined us here. Our guide, Angus, first took us to the banks of the River Clyst where we met Caroline, a member of the family that have been landlords of the Bridge Inn for well over 100 years. She offered to give us a guided tour of the C17th /C18th pub. This gave us fascinating look at a very old inn that had previously been an alehouse. Real ale is served here not via pumps , but from individual barrels that are kept in a separate room for ale delivery.
We wandered through the town, looking at the various phases of building - there is an enormous Dutch influence on styles as Dutch bricks were brought back from Holland as ballast - finishing up in St Margaret’s church. Only the tower of this is medieval, the nave and the chancel were rebuilt in Victorian times. Some of the furnishings are old. The font is Norman and there are a number of C18th and early C19th memorials. A leper squint remains within the tower.
When we had completed our look around the town we went into Topsham Museum, which is housed in one of several houses belonging to C17th Dutch merchants on the Strand. This is a brilliantly organized town museum skillfully illustrating the history of the Topsham using pictures & artifacts.