From Kelly's 1873 Directory of Devon

Transcribed by

Mike Brown, Dartmoor Press

Plympton St. Maurice (otherwise Plympton Earls), is a small market town and parish, half a mile from the Plympton station of the South Devon railway, 39 miles south-west from Exeter, 5½ east of Plymouth, and 210 from London, in the Southern division of the county, Plympton hundred and rural deanery, union of Plympton St. Mary, county court district of East Stonehouse, archdeaconry of Totnes, and Exeter diocese, and derives its name from the river Plym, the estuary of which is now 2 miles distant, but was in ancient times much nearer. Plympton was one of the ancient stannary towns: its castle was the seat of the Earls of Devon in the beginning of the 13th century: in Domesday Book it is spoken of as terra regis, or part of the king's demense. The remains of the old castle are on the north side of the town. The borough returned two members to Parliament up to the passing of the Reform Bill: among them are found the names of Sir Christopher Wren and Lord Castlereagh. The church, anciently a chantry chapel appendant to Plympton St. Mary, and dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, was rebuilt in 1440, and re-dedicated to St. Maurice in the reign of Henry VIII: it is an ancient building, in the Perpendicular style, having chancel, nave, aisles, and porch, with tower containing 6 bells. The register dates from the year 1547. The living is a rectory, yearly value about £104, without a residence, in the gift of the Dean and Canons of Windsor, and held by the Rev. Maitland Kelly, B.A., of Charsley's Hall, Oxford. There are chapels for Independents, Wesleyans and Calvinists. The Grammar school, founded in 1664, was restored in 1870, at a cost of £2,000; there are exhibitions for 6 foundation scholarships for the most meritorious boys of Plympton and neighbourhood; the holders of the scholarships pay reduced school fees: the income is about £238. A portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was educated in this school, was recently presented to it by the late Miss Jones. There are several small charities, amounting to about £18 yearly. Mining is carried on in this neighbourhood. The ancient Town Hall, having been sold by the old corporation, has become the property of a limited liability company, and is now used for lectures: it formerly contained a portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds, painted by himself. Here is a private Asylum, once the residence of the Treby family: it is a spacious building, licensed for 36 patients of the higher and middle classes; Dr. Joseph Aldridge is the proprietor and physician. A cattle market is held the first Monday in each month. Here was born and educated Sir Joshua Reynolds. Miss Treby is lady of the manor, and resides at Goodamoor House, Plympton St. Mary. The soil is exceedingly rich; the subsoil is principally clay. The parish contains only 203 acres; gross estimated rental, £3,116; rateable value, £2,525; the population in 1871 was 1,084.

Brian Randell, 24 Mar 1999