The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History

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Updated:  21 January 2013 

Plympton Castle was constructed by the 1st Earl of Devon, Richard de Redvers, in the reign of King Henry I.  It was part of the King's demesne, according g to the Domesday Book of 1066.  The site had previously been a Roman fort.

Plympton Castle, Plymouth.

During the reign of King Stephen, Baldwin de Redvers fortified the Castle against the King in support of the Empress Maud, but was forced to surrender without any further action taking place.  The Castle was razed to the ground in retribution.

Whether or not it was rebuilt is unclear but it was being besieged in the time of King Henry III.  However, by the 17th century it was being described as 'a miserable remains of a castle' although even as late as 1606 the post of Constable of Plympton Castle was regarded as an appointment of the Royal household and attracted an annual salary of 4 11s 1d.  Plympton Castle served as the headquarters for Prince Maurice during the Siege of Plymouth in 1643 but it was recaptured for the Parliamentarians the following year.

Built of rubble masonry, the walls were eight feet thick and about thirty feet high, the whole covering some fifty feet in diameter.   It was battlemented but did not have a roof, the residence and barracks being provided in the courtyard. 

By the 1850s the Castle was the property of the Earls of Morley but was much neglected.

The remains of the Castle and its grounds became the property of Plympton Saint Mary Rural District Council on Friday September 29th 1922.  The following day there was a formal ceremony, with pageantry and old-time festivities.

SEE ALSO Plymouth Castle




  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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