Thursday, 29 August 2013


Andrew Brice was an eighteenth century newspaperman at Exeter. There is a very good article about him among the Exeter Memories.   This snippet,  I suppose from his major work,  the Grand Gazeteer or Topographical Dictionary (1759)  and quoted by Powhele, tells us that  Exmouth is situated  at the mouth of the Exe,  "about ten miles from Exeter.  Here,  over the bar, hath the Exe its influx into the sea and here dwell the pilots who take charge of bringing ships over the bar,  as far up as Topsham.

No doubt this is obvious but only when I read this did I consider that when we  read of  eighteenth and nineteenth century 'Topsham pilots' we are probably reading about boats and men based at Exmouth.

And, as we have already noted, a 'Topsham pilot'  could also be a cormorant.