Topsham is a unique town on the Exe estuary, Devon, just three miles from Exeter in England's West country. Loved by its locals, and savoured by those who visit. Topsham offers breathtaking river walks, independent shops, antiques and galleries, restaurants and pubs, or just a beautiful space to stop on your bike ride and watch the boats go by with a pint.

Come for a day, a week or a lifetime.

Scroll down and see what's happening in our vibrant, creative and bustling town in Devon.


Topsham Heritage Year: January

TOPSHAM 700 years

The ancient town of Topsham will be celebrating the new Millennium & 700 years of history in the year 2000. Though a town by Charter, it is now part of the City of Exeter. Topsham was granted its Charter on the 22nd August 1300 by Edward I.

Topsham became the principal port for Exeter at about the same time, as a result of two events. First in 1284 Countess Isabella de Fortibus built a weir across the River Exe leaving a thirty foot gap for shipping to reach Exeter. Then during Edward II's reign Isabella's successor Hugh Courtenay, Lord of the Manor of Topsham, filled in the gap, thus Topsham became the Port of Exeter.

For the last 1000 years or more Topsham has had close links with the sea and although it has lost its shipbuilding industry and goods are no longer landed at its quay, former links with its maritime heritage are still visible.

Topsham's architecture is strongly influenced by its Dutch trading partners. Many of its houses are built of Dutch bricks brought over as ballast from Holland to where the wool from the South West had been exported.

The Topsham Heritage Year 2000 Project aimed to re-establish its links with the former parts of the ancient town and the communities world wide who have historic links with Topsham.

Programme of events

January: the 21st century

This event is to encourage young people to think about their own image in order to bring a wider understanding and appreciation of visual impairment issues. Each school will develop their own projects to compliment their respective curricular objectives, from recycling of materials to textiles and design.

Date: Thursday 27th January
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Venue: The West of England School

Participants: This event to include children from The West of England School and Topsham schools.

Description: An expression of artistry, imagination and creativity to take the form of a fashion experience for young people. Elizabeth Thurgood has agreed to commentate and show costumes at this venue. Young people from the schools to model these historical garments. Present and future themes to be addressed during the autumn term.

Sandra Barrett to organise dance for West of England School pupils (4 - 6 pupils) based on futuristic theme with pupils from Topsham and Exeter schools (4 - 6 pupils). Lorraine Beresford, Dance Teacher has agreed to coach the youngsters. Five dance lessons will be part of extra curricular activity after school in January for those pupils who are interested. Times and dates to be arranged.

Rehearsals for fashion show can only take place at school venues and final rehearsal could be an hour before performance at West of England School (6.00pm), so that youngsters are familiar with staging and walking etc.

Date: Saturday 29th January
Time: Afternoon
Venue: Matthews Hall

Participants: The younger children i.e. playgroups and younger children in schools

Description: Elizabeth Thurgood will loan costumes for this performance. Margot Fletcher, Hope House Montessori School will have a display of multicultural costumes modelled by her pupils.

Themes for costumes to be integral to school project work, where possible. Youngsters of all ages to show their creations for our new century on a catwalk. Understanding the future by reviewing the past to be an important aspect of this event. Local historian, Elizabeth Thurgood to be invited to each school to give a living history experience of the development of costume. Please view chart below which outlines five groups for historian input with dates and times for schools involved:

Elizabeth Thurgood outlined the programme of her living history experience for the schools and the preliminary work and development schools might like to follow. Historical period to be covered through costume and living history: Medieval - Tudor - Georgian - Victorian

Start with a T shape from Medieval times and develop the costume. Material was only 10 - 27 inches in width and button holes were not around, so fastenings like pins and broaches were used. The T shirt evolution outlined from Medieval - Tudor - Georgian - Victorian. Class distinction was evident by the costume you were allowed to wear. Peasants could never wear purple in Medieval or Tudor times. Class differentiation addressed through showing two different costumes for each period.

Pupils will be able to dress up in costumes and experience the difference and development of costume whilst experiencing and learning about the history of this period. Clothes - materials - T shirt design - fastenings could be developed as themes and taken further by schools is they so wish. This element could enhance Design Technology/History/English etc. Some year groups may already be focusing on a specific period in history and therefore the living history experience provided by Elizabeth Thurgood could allow further enrichment to the National Curriculum.



Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More