‘Plague’ or ‘Camp Fever’ was rife amongst the Civil War soldiers in 1643, when burials at Plympton St. Mary church were recorded. There were several Royalist troopers among the dead. The army under the command of Prince Maurice moved into Plympton sometime in October 1643 after which the Siege of Plymouth began in earnest. It appears that for a short time Prince Maurice made his headquarters at Chaddlewood.
Earlier, at the end of November 1642, Hopton moved on to Plympton, cutting the water supply from Drake’s Leat on the way.
‘And so the Cornish Army marched on to Plympton,where they dislodged Ruthen and his horse and dragoons whom they found there, and enforced them to retreat into Plymouth and so the Cornish Army was settled in quarters at Plympton and the parts thereabout’.
The Roundheads withdrew over the Plym River, but continued to hold its Western bank. According to their own account dated 1 December, 1642, they “stood upon the Laira for the space of three hours facing the enemy who attempted one charge to have driven us from our ambuscades, but durst not with all their forces give us a charge upon fair ground”.
Hopton did not intend an immediate attack upon Plymouth. At Plympton he was joined by the High Sheriff (Mr.Fortescue) and other gentlemen well affected to the King, and these had arranged for local musters to be held.
In April 1644 Captain Christopher Martyn, a Plympton man who held for a time the command of the Plymouth garrison, made a sortie from the town and beat up the Royalists in their quarters at New Bridge taking 200 prisoners. He also repulsed a counter-attack two days later and pursued the Royalist horsemen to Plympton Bridge near where the army was stationed. These reports confirm the old belief that while Plymouth was under siege the Royalists pitched their camp in the Plympton valley near Marsh Mills.
After the departure of Prince Maurice the troops left at Plympton and Plymstock came under the harsh command of Sir Richard Grenvill, the King’s General in the West.