Plympton St Maurice, Devon Family History Guide

Plympton St Maurice is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Devon.

Alternative names: Plympton Earle, Plympton Earls, Plympton Morris

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1616
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1610

Nonconformists include:

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

PLYMPTON, EARL’S (St. Maurice), an incorporated market-town, and a parish, having separate jurisdiction, in the union of Plympton St. Mary, locally in the hundred of Plympton, Ermington and Plympton, and S. divisions of Devon, 39 miles (S. W.) from Exeter, and 210 (W. S. W.) from London; containing 933 inhabitants. This place, which derives its name from its situation near the river Plym, is noticed in Domesday book as a royal demesne, under the title of Terra Regis. It was the head of a barony, the lords of which were invested with the power of inflicting capital punishment; and had an important castle, which, soon after the Conquest, was held by Redvers or Rivers, whom Henry I., about the year 1100, created Earl of Devon, and to whom he also gave the barony. The castle and barony remained in the possession of his son Baldwin, who, embracing the party of the Empress Matilda against Stephen, was obliged to leave the kingdom; during his absence Plympton was surrendered to the king by some knights who had charge of it, but it was afterwards restored to his son, and remained for a considerable time in his family. In the reign of Henry III., Baldwin de Rivers, a descendant of the former earl of that name, made the place a free borough by charter in 1241, and invested the inhabitants with many privileges, among which were a market and a fair. In the reign of Edward III. it was constituted one of the stannary towns.

The town is small, but consists of well-built houses of respectable appearance. It is beautifully situated in a valley, about a mile to the south-east of the river Plym; and, with the orchards and trees by which it is surrounded, the castle hill and the tower of the church, forms a strikingly picturesque feature in the landscape, as seen from the London road. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on February 25th, August 12th, and October 28th. The government, under the charter of Earl Baldwin, confirmed by Edward III. and succeeding sovereigns, is vested in a mayor, recorder, bailiff, and eight aldermen, who form the common-council. The mayor, recorder, and senior alderman are justices of the peace for the borough, which includes part of the parish of Plympton St. Mary; and the corporation hold quarterly courts of session for determining on offences not capital. The borough first sent representatives to parliament in the 23rd of Edward I., from which time, till the passing of the Reform act, it continued to return two members. The guildhall, which bears the date 1696, is a neat substantial edifice, having a piazza with granite pillars and circular arches. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £100; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The church, originally a chantry chapel appendant to Plympton St. Mary, was founded by John Brackley, in 1547, and contains some interesting monuments. There is a place of worship for Independent Calvinists. The grammar school was founded, and endowed with an estate now producing nearly £200 per annum, by Elizeus Hele; and a spacious school-house, in the old English style, supported on a piazza, was erected by Sir John Maynard, one of the founder’s trustees, in 1664. Sir Joshua Reynolds was born in the house, in 1723, and received the rudiments of his education under his father, who was master of the school. On the north side of the town are some remains of the ancient castle, occupying a quadrangular area surrounded with a fosse, and skirted on the east by a steep conical mount, on the summit of which is a small fragment of the keep.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Records


England, Devon Bishop’s Transcripts, 1558-1887

England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-1912

England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912

England, Devon, Plymouth Prison Records, 1821-1919

Exeter Marriage Licenses 1523-1631

Exeter Burial Records

Devon Cemetery Photos

South Hams Memorial Inscriptions

Appledore Burials 1844-1970

Devon Calendars of Prisoners

Devon Convicts Transported to Australia 1782-1821

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911


United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


  • County: Devon
  • Civil Registration District: Plympton St Mary
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop (Consistory) of the Archdeaconry of Totnes
  • Diocese: Exeter
  • Rural Deanery: Plympton
  • Poor Law Union: Plympton St Mary
  • Hundred: Plympton
  • Province: Canterbury