Sites & cities that bear the name of Plympton


Today in : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
First trace of activity : 904 C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 19th century C.E
Recorded names : Plymentum , Plintona, Plympton St Maurice

Description : Plympton now forms a suburb of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England but is in origin 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 and was the seat of Plympton Priory the most significant local landholder for many centuries. Plympton is an amalgamation of several villages, including St Mary's, St Maurice, Colebrook, Woodford, Newnham, Langage and Chaddlewood. Nearby is the Iron Age hill fort of Boringdon Camp. Plympton is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as being held by the king (William the Conqueror), with 27 villagers, 12 smallholders and 6 slaves. In the early 12th century Plympton was the site of an important priory founded by William Warelwast. 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 (died 1107) was granted the feudal barony of Plympton, based at Plympton Castle, by King Henry I (1100–1135), of whom he was a most trusted supporter. The de Redvers 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. Before the Reform Act 1832 the town was one of the rotten boroughs, and sent two MPs to the unreformed House of Commons. The town was the birthplace and early residence of the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) who became the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts. He was mayor of Plympton in 1773. His father was headmaster of Plympton Grammar School which is a 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.

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