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

"PLYMPTON, (or Plympton Earls, or Plympton St. Maurice), a parish and small market town locally in the hundred of Earls Plympton, but having separate jurisdiction, in the county of Devon, 5½ miles S. of Plymouth, 39 S.W. of Exeter, and about half a mile from its station on the South Devon railway. This place, which is noticed in Domesday Survey as a royal demesne under the title of Terra Regis, and became the head of an ancient barony shortly after the Norman conquest, is situated about a mile to the S.E. of the river Plym, from which it derives its name. It returned two members to parliament till disfranchised by the Reform Act, and was constituted one of the stannary towns in the reign of Edward III. The land is in an excellent state of cultivation, the soil being rich and fertile, on a subsoil of clay. A portion of the inhabitants are employed in mining and others in agriculture. The place, though small, consists of well-built houses, and is surrounded by orchards and gardens. It was incorporated under a charter granted by Baldwyn de Rivers, Earl of Devon, in 1241, the government being invested in a mayor, recorder, bailiff, and eight aldermen, who had the privilege of holding courts of quarter sessions for determining offences not capital. The jurisdiction extends over part of the adjoining parish of Plympton St. Mary. The guildhall was built in 1696, has a piazza in front, with granite pillars and circular arches. The post office is situated in the hamlet of Ridgeway, about a quarter of a mile from the town. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Exeter, value £100, in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The church, dedicated to St. Maurice, is an ancient structure with a tower containing six bells. The church was erected on the site of a chantry chapel appendant to Plympton St. Mary Priory, 1457. The parochial charities produce about £189 per annum. There is a grammar school, founded and endowed by Elizeus Hele, with an estate now producing about £200 per annum. The Independents have a place of worship. Sir Joshua Reynolds was a native of this parish, and was educated at the grammar school, of which his father was then master. On the N. side of the town are the ruins of the ancient castle once held by Rich. de Rivers or Redvers, afterwards Earl of Devon, to whom Henry I. gave the barony. The ruins occupy a quadrangular area surrounded with a fosse, and skirted on the E. by a steep conical mount, on the summit of which is a small fragment of the keep. Plympton House is now a lunatic asylum, with accommodation for 100 inmates. The principal residence is Whitehall, the seat of C. H. Buller, Esq. Paul Orry Trebey, Esq., is lord of the manor. A cattle market is held on the first Monday in every month, and fairs on 27th February, 5th April, 14th August, and 31st October.

"KITLEY, a seat in the parish of Plympton, hundred of Plympton, county Devon, 4 miles S.E. of Plymouth. It is situated near the Yealm, a branch of the river Plym. It came through the Pollexfens to the Bastard family. In the gallery is a collection of paintings by Reynolds."

Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003