[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]

"PLYMPTON ST. MARY, a parish and post town in the hundred of Plympton, county Devon, 5 miles from Plymouth, half a mile N.W. of Plympton Earls, and 1 N.W. of the South Devon railway. The parish, which is extensive, includes the hamlets of Underwood, Ridgeway, Colebrook, Hemerdon, Sparkwill, and Lee Mill Bridge. The village is situated on the river Plym, from which it derives its name, and is chiefly agricultural. The soil is rich and productive, with a subsoil of clay. Copper, lead, and tin mines exist, but are not at present worked. Good slates and ravine stone are extensively quarried at Cann quarry, on the river Plym, and transported by means of a canal and rail-road, communicating with the Plymouth and Dartmoor railway to London and Brighton. The parish is intersected by the London road through Exeter to Plymouth, and the river Plym flows at one extremity, the Erin at the other, and the Tory through its centre. The impropriate tithes, which now yield about £2,000 per annum, were given by Edward VI. to the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Exeter, value £150, in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The church, dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, and which stands within the cemetery of the priory, is an ancient structure with a tower containing six bells. In the chancel are three sedilia and a piscina of early date, and in the N. and S. aisles are ancient effigies and tombs of the Strodes of Newnham, the Courtenays, and others, also several tablets. The parochial charities produce about £39 per annum, of which £36 was left for a lepers' hospital, founded in Edward III.'s time, but now appropriated to the relief of the lunatics. There is a National school for both sexes. There are places of worship for Dissenters. In the neighbourhood of the churchyard are traces of a college for Black canons, founded by the Saxon kings, but refounded in 1121 for canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, by Bishop Warlewast. The priory continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenues were estimated at £912 12s. 8d., and the site afterwards given to the Champernownes. There are numerous gentlemen's seats in this parish, as Saltram House, Newnham Park, Chaddlewood House, Hemerdon House, Goodemoor House, and Blackland House. The Poorlaw Union of Plympton St. Mary comprises 19 parishes or places. The union poorhouse until recently occupied the site of the ancient hospital for lepers, now called the Maudlyn lands. Lord Morley is lord of the manor."

"SALTRAM, the seat of the Earl of Morley, in the parish of Plympton St. Mary, county Devon, 3 miles N.E. of Plymouth. It is situated at Lairs bridge on the Catwater, and has a collection of paintings by the old masters."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003