Looking down on part of the town from the castle
|Population||29,899 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|Fire||Devon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
Plympton is a suburb of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England. An ancient stannary town, it was an important trading centre for locally mined tin, and a seaport before the River Plym silted up and trade moved down river to Plymouth.
Plympton is an amalgamation of several villages, including St Mary's, St Maurice, Colebrook, Woodford, Newnham, Langage and Chaddlewood.
Although the name of the town appears to be derived from its location on the River Plym (compare, for instance, Otterton or Yealmpton), this is not considered to be the case. As J. Brooking Rowe pointed out in 1906, the town is not and never was sited on the river. The earliest surviving documentary reference to the place is as Plymentun in Anglo-Saxon charter S380 dated to around 900 AD, and this name may be derived from the Old English adjective plymen, meaning "growing with plum-trees". So Plympton would have the meaning "Plum-tree farm". Alternatively, Cornish derivations also give ploumenn meaning 'plum' and plo(b)m meaning 'lead' - possibly related to Latin plombum album ( 'British lead') or tin. The local civic association, however, suggests an alternative derivation from the Celtic Pen-lyn-dun ("fort at the head of a creek").
By the early 13th century, the River Plym was named from a back-formation from this name and nearby Plymstock. This later led to the naming of the fishing port created at the river's mouth (Plymouth, originally named Sutton) when the river estuary silted up too much for the monks to sail up river to Plympton any longer.
Plympton is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as follows:
"The King holds Plympton. TRE it paid geld for two and a half hides. There is land for 20 ploughs. In demesne are two ploughs and six slaves and 5 villans and 12 bordars with 12 ploughs. There are 6 acres (24,000 m2) of meadow and 20 acres (81,000 m2) of pasture, woodland one league long and a half broad. It renders £13 10s by weight. Beside this land the canons of the same manor hold 2 hides. There is land for 6 ploughs. There 12 v have 4 ploughs. It is worth 35 shillings.
Note: Domesday book measurements are informed best guess only. This is due to the outdated measurements not being truly translatable to those in modern use. They are, as stated in the source, a transliteration rather than original.
Plympton was the site of an important priory founded by William Warelwast in the early 12th century. The members were Augustinian canons and the priory soon became the second richest monastic house in Devon (after Tavistock). The gatehouse of the priory is still in existence. In 1872 it was recorded that the gatehouse, kitchen and refectory were still in good condition.
Richard de Redvers (d.1107) was granted the feudal barony of Plympton, with caput at Plympton Castle, by King Henry I (1100-1135), of which king he was a most trusted supporter. His family later became Earls of Devon. Their lands, including Plympton, and titles were later inherited by the Courtenay family, feudal barons of Okehampton. The ancient Stannary town remains dominated by its now ruined Norman motte-and-bailey castle and it still retains a cohesive medieval street pattern. A number of historic buildings in the local vernacular style of green Devon slate, limestone and lime-washed walls, with Dartmoor granite detailing, attest to all periods of its history.
The town was the birthplace and early residence of the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds was Mayor of Plympton, as well as first president of the Royal Academy of Art. His father was headmaster of Plympton Grammar School which itself is an attractive historic building in the centre of the town. Former pupils were Benjamin Haydon and Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, PRA, who were respectively first director of the National Gallery and first president of the Royal Photographic Society. Many of Reynold's paintings were purchased by his friends the Parker family of local Saltram House, now owned by the National Trust, and are still on public display there.
The present parish encompasses the historic former parishes:
Railway facilities were originally provided at Plympton--for goods traffic only--by the horse-drawn Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway, but their branch was closed and sold to the South Devon Railway to allow them to build a line from Exeter to Plymouth. A station was opened in the town on 15 June 1848. From 1 June 1904 it was the eastern terminus for enhanced Plymouth area suburban services but it was closed from 3 March 1959.
The churches are St Maurice (or rather the Church of St Thomas at Plympton St Maurice) of Norman origin. The only remarkable feature is the tower which was rebuilt in the middle of the 15th century.
St Mary's church was dedicated in 1311 and was originally a parish chapel attached to Plympton Priory and is a church of more importance.It has two aisles on each side of the nave,the outer aisles being shorter than the inner ones.The lofty tower is of granite ashlar and visible from afar.The south porch is ornamented with carving and has a lierne vault. The outer north aisle is the earliest part of the church and the rest is mainly of the 15th century, the south aisle being the latest part.There are interesting monuments to the family of Strode, including a tomb-chest for Richard Strode (d.1464),the effigy being clad in armour.The monument of William Strode (d. 1637)and his family shows husband,two wives and ten children.There is also a monument of W.Seymour (d. 1801) in Coade stone and of Viscount Boringdon, the 11-year-old heir to the Earl of Morley of Saltram House who died in Paris in 1817,by François-Nicolas Delaistre.
Between about 1990 and 2010 Plympton has seen considerable growth as the suburban population of Plymouth has doubled. To help manage this rapid growth more efficiently, Plympton has been separated into a series of separate districts: Yealmpstone, Plympton-St Maurice, Colebrook, Underwood, Woodford and Chaddlewood.
Plympton has two state secondary schools serving pupils from ages 11-18. Both Plympton Academy and Hele's School attract students from the Plympton area and surrounding areas of Laira, Ivybridge and Dartmoor.
Construction of this housing estate Sherford, adjacent to Plympton, began in 2015. It is expected to reach 5,500 dwellings, together with retail and other buildings, over 20 years.
Many confuse Sherford to be a town but it is in fact a housing estate as it does not yet have a through road.
The Plym Valley Railway is a preserved railway based at the reconstructed Marsh Mills station on Coypool Road. This was formerly part of the GWR Plymouth to Launceston branch line. The volunteer-run PVR is actively rebuilding the line between Marsh Mills and Plymbridge. Steam and diesel heritage trains run on numerous Sundays throughout the year.
Plymouth City Council has stated it would like to see a rail station reopened on the London main line running through the middle of Plympton, which would provide quick and frequent trains into Plymouth. But there are major obstacles to providing such a service on a primarily inter-regional rail route, shown when Ivybridge - on the same line - got a new station in 1994. Plymouth city council support the reopening of the station to deal with bad traffic congestion in Eastern Plymouth. As of June 2017, a feasibility study is currently underway.