Countess Wear Paper Mill

Countess Wear Paper Mill
Topsham Museum

When: 30 March 2019 to 31 October 2019
Where: Topsham Museum
Time: 1400 - 1700
Cost: None
Suitable for: Any age


The main exhibition this year is the Countess Wear Paper Mill, which produced paper for newsprint and bank notes from around 1650 until 1885.  John Dunsford has done much of the research for this exhibition, assisted by Mark Dant.  Do come along and learn where the mill was, how it prospered and why it declined.  We are exhibiting the model made by an apprentice at the mill in the 1800s.

In the nineteenth century, paper making was well established at Countess Wear; the earliest reference to a mill on St James' Weir leat was in 1563 when John Trew considered the leat as a possible route for the canal, an idea abandoned, partly because of the expense of compensating the mill owner. The leat had been in existence since the establishing by the Cluniac Priory on the land of Isca College, of a grist mill. The use of the site as a paper mill dates from before 1750. It was destroyed by fire twice, and two of the owners committed suicide during the nineteenth century.  In 1842, Thomas Whitaker merged two of the arches of Countess Wear bridge for Robert Davy, allowing his barges of coal access to the paper mill. The paper mill continued production until 1885 when it closed and the site was dismantled.

Elsewhere in the Museum:

In the tea room, there are photographs showing Countess Wear scenes, to support the main Paper Mill exhibition.

The plinth in the Sail Loft will be used for children’s activities during the school holidays, while in term-time until July, the Trefoil Guild are mounting a display to celebrate their story.

Sections of the ‘Topsham in the 1920s’ audio tapes which featured in this year’s Topsham Times, are being compiled to form an audio-visual show on one of the Museum’s screens.



We hope you will visit our new exhibitions!  We look forward to welcoming you to Topsham Museum. 

Exhibition Gallery

Exhibitions & Projects

  • Crediton Station: A Brief Encounter

    Crediton Station: A Brief Encounter

    Crediton Area History And Museum Society

    10 April 2019 to 26 October 2019

    View details

  • Countess Wear Paper Mill

    Countess Wear Paper Mill

    Topsham Museum

    30 March 2019 to 31 October 2019

    View details

  • Views of Old Countess Wear

    Views of Old Countess Wear

    Topsham Museum

    31 March 2019 to 31 October 2019

    View details

  • Fairground Art

    Fairground Art

    Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre

    16 February 2019 to 02 November 2019

    View details

  • Teignmouth Then and Now

    Teignmouth Then and Now

    Teign Heritage Centre Home to Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum

    01 October 2019 to 02 November 2019

    View details

  • Birds without Borders

    Birds without Borders

    Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

    20 July 2019 to 03 November 2019

    View details

  • Martha, Mesmeric subject An installation by Amy Goodwin

    Martha, Mesmeric subject An installation by Amy Goodwin

    22 June 2019 to 03 November 2019

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  • Rachael Allain: Epipelagic Drifters

    Rachael Allain: Epipelagic Drifters

    Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

    16 November 2019 to 26 November 2019

    View details

  • ECFC A to Z of Players

    ECFC A to Z of Players

    Exeter City Football Club Museum

    01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019

    View details

  • History of St James Park Project

    History of St James Park Project

    Exeter City Football Club Museum

    01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019

    View details

  • ECFC Museum Project

    ECFC Museum Project

    Exeter City Football Club Museum

    01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019

    View details

  • The Lost Words

    The Lost Words

    Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

    19 October 2019 to 12 January 2020

    View details

  • Sea Gardens

    Sea Gardens

    Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

    16 November 2019 to 26 January 2020

    View details

  • A lightdark sea garden: seaweed pressings and prints by Jo Crook

    A lightdark sea garden: seaweed pressings and prints by Jo Crook

    Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

    20 October 2019 to 27 January 2020

    View details

  • D Day 75: The Story of Operation Overlord in South Devon

    D Day 75: The Story of Operation Overlord in South Devon

    Torquay Museum

    28 September 2019 to 31 January 2020

    View details

  • Exeter's Fine Art Collection: A Sense of Place

    Exeter's Fine Art Collection: A Sense of Place

    Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

    18 June 2019 to 15 March 2020

    View details