Plympton consists of two parishes, Plympton St Mary and Plympton St Maurice. This site relates mainly to the parish of Plympton St Mary. If you want to know more about Plympton St Maurice (Plympton Erle) please use this link Plympton St Maurice

Plympton St Mary has a fine parish Church built in 1311 on the site of the Plympton Priory. The priory whose earliest reference is in a Saxon Charter of 904 in which King Edward the Elder gave land to the Bishop of Sherborne in exchange for a monastery at Plympton. The Priory, a priory of black canons, was founded in 1121 by Bishop Warlewast when the collegiate church, recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086, was disbanded. The Plympton Priory was dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, and each year a Service of Compline takes place at the Priory site on the Sunday nearest to the 29th June (St Peter and Paul Day). Plympton Priory was one of the most opulent monasteries in the County thanks to its benefactors Baldwin de Rivers, Earl of Devon, Walter de Valletort, and others. It was the third most important Augustinian Priory in England.

In 1539 the priory was dissolved and surrendered to Henry VIII and Sir Philip Campernowne was granted the Priory site, who then sold a number of the demolished buildings to William Strode of Newnham. There remains little of the monastic buildings, but what is still there is kept in good condition by a small band of workers from the Civic Society. Bishop Warlewast, his nephew, and some of the Courtenay family, were buried in the priory-church. The Priory site can be accessed through a gateway to the South of St Mary’s top churchyard.

Much of the stone from the Priory was used to build nearby properties. The Norman doorway to the Priory can be seen at Place on the Roseland Peninsular, and pillars from the Priory form part of the cellar in Langdon Court, Wembury. The door shown below is now in a property nearby and is the same door as shown in the engraving above.

Donn’s map of 1765 shows the following Codbrook (Colebrook), Burringdon (Boringdon), Newnham, Elfordleigh, Ridgeway, Chattlewood (Chaddlewood) and Underwood. All these areas still remain.

The manor of Boringdon, belonged to the Mayhew family whose heiress, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, brought it to the Parkers of North Molton. In consequence of this match, they made their residence at Boringdon. Boringdon is now a Hotel. The manor of Colebrook, belonged to the Parker family (later to become the Earls of Morley), it came into the family following marriage into the Mayhew family.

Newnham, the seat of the Strode's, belonged, in the reign of Edward I to Simon de Plympton, whose grandson, of the same name, took the name of Newenham. It came to the Strode's through marriage and the present Newnham Park House was built in the 1700’s, and adjoined the manor of Loughter, which was in the ownership of the Le Abbe family, it passed by marriage to the Courtney family, and subsequently to the Strode family. Loughter Mill was once a thriving flour mill, the house remains as a private dwelling.

Several of the Strode family have been, from time to time, representatives of the borough of Plympton. Richard Strode, who was one of the members of Parliament for Plympton in the year 1512, was prosecuted for crimes against the Stannary Laws in the Tinner’s Court at Crockerne Tor and heavily fined, he refused to pay so was thrown into the Stannary Jail at Lydford where he was kept for three weeks. Richard Strode’s treatment gave way to the establishment of some of the most important privileges of parliament.

Chaddlewood belonged to the ancient family of Snelling, then by marriage to the Martyn family. It was later divided up and part was owned by the Trevanions. It then passed to Elford Sparke and then in 1789 to William Symons alderman of Plymouth. Chaddlewood House is now apartments.

Plympton was a very important town its authority growing in the Tin Mining era, and its marker post bears the words “Plympton Ancient Stannary Town”. There is a saying in the area “Plympton was a Borough Town when Plymouth was a fuzzy down”, this being based on fact.

In its early days Plympton was certainly a very important town and the fertile countryside of Plympton had no fewer than thirteen lesser Domesday manors. They were Baccamoor, Battisford, Bickford Town, Challonsleigh, Elfordleigh, Hemerdon, Holland, Langage, Loughtor Mills, Torridge, Woodford, Walford (lost), and Yealmpstone. Sparkwell appears by 1167, Saltram by 1249, Boringdon by 1279, Newnham by 1292, some of which have been mentioned above.

Plympton St Mary Rural District Council was created by the Local Government Act of 1894 and had within its control the parishes of Brixton, Cornwood, Ermington, Harford, Hemerdon, Holbeton, Ivybridge, Lee Mill, Newton & Noss, Plymstock, Shaugh Prior, Sparkwell and Yealmpton, but all, with the exception of Plymstock, passed to the control of South Hams authority when Plympton was taken into the control of Plymouth City Council.

“Caring for Plympton's Past, Present and Future”

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