The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
Following the Norman invasion and the installation of William the Conqueror as King, the manor of Plympton was given to the King's cousin, Richard de Redvers, who was created the first Earl of Devon. He immediately took possession of the Saxon-built earthworks and upon it erected a rounded bailey surrounded by a moat. Within the bailey were timber huts to house the men (and probably a few women) of the garrison.
Richard's eldest son, Baldwin, then quarrelled with King Stephen (1135-1154) and while defending his castle at Exeter his own men at Plympton decided they could not defend the castle against any attack so handed it over to the King. Thus Baldwin lost his castle and estate in Devon. Both were restored to him by King Henry II a couple of years before his death on June 4th 1155.
Fore Street, Ridgeway, Plympton Saint
Sometime soon after 1172, during the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189), a church was built adjoining the Castle and dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury, who had just been canonised. At that time, so it is said, the waters of the river Plym ran up as far as the present Barbican Road, where boats could discharge and load cargo.
As Plympton Erle, as it became known, was on the main road from Exeter to Plymouth, a small town grew up in the shadow of the Castle. In 1216 William, the youngest son of Baldwin and who had inherited the title as 6th Earl, granted Plympton its first charter of incorporation, some two centuries before Plymouth got its charter. The Town was already sending two members to Parliament by 1295.
It was around 1538/39, during the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547), that the dedication of the Church was changed to Saint Maurice.
When Mr Edward Courtenay, the 18th Earl of Devon, died in 1566 without issue, the estate was divided between four aunts or their representatives.
In 1602 Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) granted the Town a Royal Charter which stated that 'the borough town of Earls Plympton should remain forever a free borough town with a corporation consisting of Mayor, Bailiff and Burgesses. As it turned out, "forever" lasted for only 365 years. The first Guildhall was erected soon after and was rebuilt in 1696.
Also at that time the Grammar School was built 1664. The building still stands.
The Reform Act of 1832 brought about the disenfranchisement of the Borough. This was bad news for the Town and within a year the Corporation were praying 'to have their charter withdrawn as they had now rather be without it than with it'. At the Mayor Choosing Day on Monday September 23rd 1833 Mr Arscott was unanimously elected as the next Mayor of Plympton from Monday September 30th and was expected to remain in post until October 6th 1834 as the last Mayor the Town would have. As a result he would be the longest-serving Mayor as it was expected that the Town would be joined to the Hundred of Plympton Saint Mary in future. The Corporation claimed that their revenue was now only £14 but its expenditure was £90. The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe usually paid the difference but that could no longer be guaranteed now the Borough had no Members of Parliament. 
Mr J Brooking Rowe reveals that the Earl actually resigned as Recorder of the Borough on September 13th 1833and he resigned as Alderman five days later. The Corporation could no longer afford to pay a chief rent of £24 2s 2d owed annually to the Earl of Morley and the Town Clerk was ordered to sell all the goods and chattels of the Corporation with the exception of the paintings in the Guildhall and the lease of the tithes of Plympton Saint Maurice. In fact a portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds was sold, along with the Mayor's Field, and thanks to the fact that Lord Morley was legally unable to pursue his claim for the chief rental the Corporation managed to soldier on until 1859. 
The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 brought about the formation of Poor Law Unions. Soon afterwards, in 1835, Plympton House, formerly the residence of the Treby family, was opened as a lunatic asylum. Plympton Workhouse was erected in 1836, following the formation of the Plympton St Mary Poor Law Union on October 10th that year.
When the census was taken on Sunday March 31st 1851 the Parish of Plympton St Maurice had a population of 833. Of this, 347 were males and 436 females and the figure also included 28 males and 22 females in the Plympton House Lunatic Asylum. The population of the Parish had decreased by 96 since 1841. There were 137 inhabited and two uninhabited properties plus one under construction.
The population of the Parish of Plympton Saint Mary had a population of 2,815, of which 1,312 were men and 1,363 were women. Included in that total figure were 72 men and 68 women in the Plympton Union Workhouse. The population of Plympton St Mary had increased by 37 since 1841. The Parish had 475 inhabited houses, 28 uninhabited ones and five under construction.
In 1859 the Corporation of Plympton Erle appointed what was to turn out to be its last Mayor, Mr Walter Hele Molesworth. When that time came again the following year the Corporation was without funds so it allowed the Borough Charter to lapse. The full glory of the Mayor and Corporation processing in its official robes was not to be seen in the Town for another eighty years. 
At the time of the census in 1871 Plympton Saint Maurice had a population of 463 males and 621 females living in 177 properties. The figure included 23 lunatics held in the Plympton House Lunatic Asylum.
Plympton St Mary Rural Sanitary District was created in 1875 as the result of the Public Health Acts 1873 and 1875.
In 1878 the Town was described as consisting of four small streets, with a few respectable dwellings in the suburbs.
Plympton St Mary Rural District Council was created by the Local Government Act 1894. Plympton got its one and only cinema, the Cinedrome, in 1913.
When the motor bus services started to run in the 1920s this gave the impetus for growth, which was especially noted by the members of the Plympton Saint Mary Rural District Council. Housing expanded greatly during the 1930s.
As from Saturday June 13th 1936 Plympton came under Plymouth for the purposes of the General Post Office. 
The last Mayor of Plympton, Mr Walter Hele Molesworth, had been appointed in 1859 but the following year the Borough Charter was allowed to discontinue as the Corporation had no funds. During 1939 the then chairman of the Plympton Saint Maurice Parish Council, successors to the Corporation, decided that the parish council were to parade in all its glory, with brand new scarlet robes and black tri-corn hats. The date chosen was Sunday September 24th 1939 -- they were not to know that War would be declared on the 3rd -- when a special thanksgiving service was to be held at Plympton Saint Maurice Church. 
Led by the Halberd-Bearer, Mr O J Bowden, in the old uniform of the Town Crier, a navy blue cloak embroidered with a golden bell and a gold-trimmed tri-corn beaver hat, the procession walked from the Plympton Guildhall to the Church of Saint Maurice. The chairman of the Parish Council, Mr C H Crews, was dressed in scarlet robe, banded with fur and and black velvet, while his hat had a golden cockade. The vice-chairman, Mr H W Hale, had a similar uniform but with a silver cockade. The Parish Clerk, Mr J Gwyther, wore a black robe and the three macebearers, Messrs F Hurrell, F Roberts and H E Roberts, had grey robes and black tri-corn hats banded with scarlet. Two Councillors did not attend the service, Mr A E Keast and Mr H Phillips, and one, Mr H J Dunkley, chose not to wear his robes. Among the Councillors in their plain scarlet robes were two lady members, Miss P Brooking and Mrs E M McArthur. 
Also present, in their official robes, were the Mayor and Mayoress of Plymouth, Mr & Mrs G S Scoble, the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, Mr & Mrs H G Mason, the Town Clerk, Mr C Campbell, and his wife, as well as representatives from Plympton Saint Mary Rural District Council and the Devon Constabulary. The thanksgiving service was conducted by the vicar of Saint Maurice Church, the Reverend H B Bennett. After the service the visitors were entertained to tea in one of the newly preserved rooms of the Plympton Guildhall. 
Plympton Station was closed in March 1959.
On April 1st 1967 part of Plympton Saint Mary Rural District Council was absorbed into the City of Plymouth. What remained of the Plympton Saint Mary RDC was transferred in to South Hams District Council in 1974, as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.
Below is a quick index to webpages in PLYMOUTH DATA referring to items within Plympton Saint Maurice and Plympton Saint Mary.
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