The Welly Trail Edward TUPMAN


Welcome to the Exmouth RNLI Yellow Welly Trail.

If you have a leaflet, enjoy the trail.

If not, click on

 where you will find all the information you need to enable you to join in!

Sponsored by: 

World of Country Life

West Down Lane, Sandy Bay, Exmouth EX85BY

With thanks to  

Exmouth Tourist Information Centre

45A The Strand

Exmouth EX81AL





Coxswain 1859 – 1880

Coxswain of two Lifeboats:

The Victoria

The Victoria 2



Born in Exmouth, 1832.  Died 1917

Married to Mary Liverton 1833-1881

9 Children

Lived in Hartley Cottage, Beacon Place

Registered owner of a 14 foot rowing boat ‘Mertie’



 Trinity House Pilot 

Exmouth is one of the original Lifeboat Towns, with a lifeboat as early as 1803.  However, there are no records of the crew. During a violent storm in 1814, the Lifeboat house was completely washed away.  The fate of the Lifeboat is not known, but Exmouth was left without a rescue service for a long time.

In 1857, the RNLI received a letter requesting a lifeboat for Exmouth 

“The entrance to this port is very dangerous, being surrounded with sandbanks and hidden  rocks, and some dreadful wrecks have occurred here”

The following year, Lady Rolle paid £375 towards the cost of Exmouth’s first RNLI Boathouse, boat and carriage. An extra £60 to lease the land was raised by donations from the public.  The official  opening was on 3rd September 1859.


Exmouth’s first RNLI Lifeboat was ‘Victoria’, number 81 in the RNLI fleet. 

The boats saved last year the lives of 110 of our fellow creatures from a watery grave”

Victoria was a self-righting rowing boat with a sail.  Rowed by 6 oarsmen. 

They wore life jackets which were canvas with blocks of cork attached.

To launch and retrieve, local people would pull the lifeboat across the beach using ropes.

The crew exercised every three months to test the seaworthy quality of the boat.  

On 5th January 1867, the crew were called to the aid of a brigantine, ‘Julia’ of Exeter, wrecked on Pole Sands during a gale. Despite their utmost exertions, the gale and the flood tide were too powerful and the crew were unable to reach ‘Julia’ before she broke up 30 minutes later.

‘Victoria’ with 6 oars lacked the power to cope with Exmouth’s strong currents,  so was replaced by ‘Victoria 2’ which was bigger, with 10 oars and was also a gift from Lady Rolle.

A model of this boat and picture of her launch is in the RNLI 200 display in Exmouth Museum. For opening times, please see their website

On 29th March 1878, the ‘Victoria 2’ on it’s carriage, was pulled by a team of horses to Budleigh Salterton to rescue the skipper of a Portsmouth fishing boat, ‘Lady of The Lake’ who had earlier refused to leave his ship when his crew were taken ashore.

A Chronometer belonging to Coxswain Tupman is in Exmouth Lifeboat Station.  You will see it if you take a tour. These are free and available every weekend and school holiday, see

With thanks to Nigel and Louise Tupman, Edward’s great, great grandchildren for their help. 

Write the letter A from TUPMAN in space 1 of your answer box.


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We have made every effort to ensure all the information about the Coxswains is accurate. However, we are always happy to be corrected or updated and, if you can add to our knowledge base, please email us at

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