Our passion for fish has always been here but the idea for our new shop was born in lockdown when Tom and Amelia wanted to continue to provide for the community and support our local fisherman. We are opening in times when sustainability and local produce are even more prevalent in our hearts. Please come and see us for a fresh catch, a multitude of condiments, and, of course, Salt.
SALT has long time been a prime commodity to Topsham and the World. It was primarily used for health reasons and later became the best way to preserve food, especially Fish.
When the Roman Legionnaires arrive in Topsham part of their wage was paid in salt money and this being the origin of the present meaning of ‘salary’. The Romans used salt to preserve their vegetables later known as ‘salad’. The origin of the word ‘soldier’ is salt.
Payment of British soldiers’ salary in salt was still happening in the British Army during the American War of 1812.
Topsham’s Salt Refinery adjacent to Topsham Bridge was last sold, as an operating business, at an auction in the Salutation in 1836 along with 2 acres, a Quay and 2 neat dwellings.
Over the course of time salt was frequently taxed and sometimes minimum quantities were legislated (e.g. the preservation of fish was regulated by His Majesty’s Excise to a minimum of 30lb of salt per barrel of mackerel or herring) and frequent trade barriers were a controlling factor.
England and the Exe produced as much salt as they could with salt refineries operating at Kenton, Cofton, Turffe and Topsham Bridge.
Salt was also imported with the favoured type coming from the Biscay coasts of France. The Newfoundland cod trade demanded large amounts of salt and in 1737 Topsham imported 6380 bushels compared with Plymouth’s 5235 bushels. If the Newfoundland Bankers ran out of salt they had to finish their season and frequently sailed to Portugal to sell their salt cod and buy some salt. The Western Mediterranean was educated to eat fish and as still today are vociferous consumers of fish.
The British market needs to expand its home demand for local fish as they do not know what they are missing.
When times are hard, salt is more important than gold!