evidence shows that Plympton became a borough before
1155. A number of charters granted over a period
of 600 years exist. By 1602 Plympton was entitled
to elect a mayor and other officers of the borough
and to hold annual fairs and a weekly market. For
537 years from 1295, Plympton returned two members
to Parliament. The representatives were drawn from
families of local standing - such as the Strodes,
Heles, Drakes and Trebys and others such as Sir
Christopher Wren who was elected in 1685 and Viscount
Castelreagh, Minister of War and Foreign Secretary
during the Napoleonic Wars, who was a member for
Plympton in 1807. Prior to the Reform Act of 1832
the voters of Plympton received many favours from
local patrons such as the Trebys, and later, the
Earls of Mount Edgcumbe. With the introduction of
the Reform Act, Plympton lost its right to elect
two M.Ps. and became absorbed into a county constituency.
Consequently, the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe lost interest
and withdrew his financial support. After 700 years,
Plympton could no longer afford to be a borough
and the last mayor was elected in 1859. Plympton
St. Maurice parish council was established in 1894,
but in 1967, by Act of Parliament, administration
passed to the hands of Plymouth. It was in 1968
that Plymouth City Council designated Plympton St.
Maurice as a Conservation Area, and the local Civic
Association dates from that time. Plympton's former
civic status reflected its economic importance.
tidal creek extended from the Plym estuary close
to Plympton Priory which adjoined Plympton St. Mary
church. It is unlikely that boats of any size penetrated
far upstream, although excavations at the junction
of Underwood and Dark Street Lane have revealed
what might be part of a stone quay and oak mooring
posts. The fact that a strip of land belonging to
the Borough extended westwards along Underwood to
the Plym estuary by Saltram, suggests that this
is where most ships moored. In the twelfth century,
ships carried slate from Plympton to Southampton,
and an old document describes how in 1272 ships
were bringing hemp from Bridport to be made into
rope yarn. In Elizabethan times the Mayor of Plympton,
John Martin, traded with France and Spain in his
vessel "John of Plympton", taking out wool and tin
and bringing back wine. The industries of mediaeval
Plympton included rope-making, coopering, brewing,
cider-making, tanning, wool combing and hat making.
Most cottagers would have had their own looms.
© MILLS, Audrey F, 1981: Plympton St.
Maurice Guide, First Edition, Plympton St.
Maurice Civic Association