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Updated:  15 April 2011 

Location of Whimple Street

Whimple Street ran from the Old Guildhall at the top of High Street north-westwards to Saint Andrew's Cross, outside Saint Andrew's Church, at the junction of Bedford Street with Old Town Street.  

Origin of the name, Whimple Street

As Wimple Street (sic) it was 'famous for the sale of whimples or women's hoods', claimed Whitfeld  [1].  The earliest record is as Wympelstrete in April 1493  [2].


History of Whimple Street

Later references include Wympilstrete in 1518 and Whimplestrete in 1577  [3].

It is included in the list of streets attached to the Town Rental of 1706, where it is referred to as where the fish market is held  [4], and it is shown on Benjamin Donn's plan of Plymouth of 1765  [5].

In fact the building shown in the centre of the roadway on Donn's Plan is the "Fish Shambles" or "Fish Cage", which was erected in 1692  [6].



This possibly accounts for the reference in the lease and release of Mr John Pike's two messuages as being 'in Whimple Street alias Market Street'.  However, this may merely indicate that the properties were at the point where Whimple Street met Market Street.  [7]

Whimple Street was rather oddly numbered.  It started at the Old Guildhall Tavern at top of the High Street, ran along the south-western side to Saint Andrew Street, recommenced on opposite, on the corner of Old Town Street, and ran back along the north-eastern side as far as Kinterbury Street.  Then it went across Looe Street and included numbers 40 and 41 on the eastern side of High Street, at the top of Bull Hill.

Today only a small part of Whimple Street still exists and Gribbles the tailors are still there.  The ground floor of the Victoria Chambers, on the corner of Saint Andrew Street, right opposite Saint Andrew's Church, is a restaurant.

Some Views of Whimple Street

Whimple Street, Plymouth, looking east towards the Old Guildhall.


Whimple Street, Plymouth, looking east towards the Old Guildhall.



Occupants of Whimple Street


[1]  Whitfeld. Henry Francis, "Plymouth and Devonport: In Times of War and Peace", E Chapple, Plymouth, and Hiorns & Miller, Devonport, Second Edition, 1900.

[2]  Entry re 'a shoppa in Wympelstrete' in Simon Carswyll's Book, Worth, R N, FGS, "Calendar of the Plymouth Municipal Records", 1893, page 68.

[3]  Gover, J E B, Mawer, A, and Stenton, F M, "The Place-Names of Devon: Part One", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1969, page 234.

[4]  "Town Rental for Mayoral Year beginning 1706" listed in section H: Rentals, Surveys, and Records of Property, of Worth, R N, FGS, "Calendar of the Plymouth Municipal Records", 1893.

[5]  Donn, Benjamin, "A Map of the County of Devon 1765", facsimile, Devon and Cornwall Record Society and the University of Exeter, Exeter, 1965.

[6]  Jewitt, Llewellyn, FSA, "A History of Plymouth", Simpkin, Marshall & Company, London, and W H Luke, Plymouth, 1873.  SEE ALSO Richard Cowl's "Map of Plymouth", Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, Plymouth, accession number 157 or PH/435/1.

[7]  Lease and release of Mr John Pike, goldsmith, dated October 1724, Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, Plymouth, Accession number 47/2a-b, and also Mr Pike's will dated January 1719, Accession number 47/1.

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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