history can be traced back to the 9th century when the
Saxons set up manors around a tiny fishing village.
It remained a poor area, overshadowed by the richer Plympton
Priory, until the Normans took control of the manors
following their 1066 invasion. Soon after, a castle was
built and the village had prospered into a thriving
market town by 1194.
The town continued to be known as Plympton well into the
early 11th century, until 1211, when for the first time
it was referred to as Plym Mouth on an order for
goods being transported to Portsmouth.
Plymouth continued to grow but suffered a numerous
attempts at invasion from the French during the 14th
and 15th centuries.
The dawning of the 16th century brought a wind of change
to Plymouth as the port became a major base for huge
warships. Then in 1577 local hero Francis Drake set out on his voyage around the world, returning
three years later to much acclaim – and a knighthood.
During the next 60 years, Plymouth also witnessed two
other major events, the defeating of the Spanish Armada in 1588, in which Drake played a huge role, and the Pilgrim
Fathers’ departure to America in 1620.
Despite other major voyages from the likes of Sir Walter
Ralegh, Plymouth was above all else a commercial
port, with its naval tradition not emerging until
the 18th century.
Plymouth Dock, which was built in the late 17th
century after authorisation from William of Orange, was
not actually in Plymouth but in the neighbouring parish
of Stoke Damerel. By 1712 there were some 300 men employed
there and just 20 years later the working-class town of
Plymouth Dock, as it was called, had 3000 inhabitants.
The dockyard underwent a major expansion in the late 18th
and early 19th centuries when a number of important buildings
were erected in the area, including a naval hospital and barracks for the Royal Marines. But Plymouth’s importance as a naval base was only confirmed in
1812 when work started on the construction of the breakwater
in Plymouth Sound, which provided a safe haven
for ships sheltering from southerly storms.
In 1824 Plymouth Dock, which at the time was bigger than
Plymouth town, won its own identity as the town of Devonport.
Along with the neighbouring town of Stonehouse, Plymouth
and Devonport continued to thrive throughout the 19th
and into the 20th century. In 1914 the three towns amalgamated
before winning city status in 1928 – and
so the City of Plymouth was born.
During the World War II, the city suffered tremendous
damage in the Blitz. However out of the ashes came new
buildings and so the modern day Plymouth emerged. The
city is now one of the country’s major centres for