Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 29, 2021
Webpage updated: September 29, 2021




Plympton Castle.
From a postcard.

His Majesty King Henry I (1068, reigned 1100-1135) awarded Richard de Vernon seigneur de Redvers, or Richard de Redvers (?-1107), one of his most loyal supporters, the Honour of Plympton, in Devon, as well as land elsewhere in the Country, making him one of the wealthiest men in England.  Upon the site of a former Roman fort he built Plympton Castle, around which grew up the town of Plympton Earle.

During the reign of King Stephen (c1097, reigned 1135-1154), Richard's eldest son, Baldwin de Redvers (?-1155), fortified the Castle against the King in support of King Henry's daughter, Matilda, Countess of Anjou but was forced to surrender without any further action taking place.  The Castle was razed to the ground in retribution.

Whether or not it was rebuilt is unclear but it was being besieged in the time of King Henry III (1207, reigned 1216-1272).  However, by the 17th century it was being described as 'a miserable remains of a castle' although even as late as 1606 the post of Constable of Plympton Castle was regarded as an appointment of the Royal household and attracted an annual salary of 4 11s 1d.  Plympton Castle served as the headquarters for Prince Maurice during the Siege of Plymouth in 1643 but it was recaptured for the Parliamentarians the following year.

Built as a 'motte and bailey' of rubble masonry, the walls were eight feet thick and about thirty feet high, the whole covering some fifty feet in diameter.   It was battlemented but did not have a roof, the timber residence and barracks being provided in the courtyard. 

By the 1850s the Castle was the property of the Earls of Morley but was much neglected.

The remains of the Castle and its grounds became the property of Plympton Saint Mary Rural District Council on Friday September 29th 1922.  The following day there was a formal ceremony, with pageantry and old-time festivities.