Leigham Manor is
steeped in history - From the Doomsday Book to modern day
executive development the Estate has seen a variety of uses.
The Estate stretched
from the Laira and the edge of the Saltram Estate, along the west
bank of the tidal stretch of the River Plym up past what is now
the Riverside campsite, along the non tidal stretch of the River
as far as Plym Bridge. The Estate covered the whole area of what
is now Mainstone and the housing Estate of Leigham over to the
Forder Valley and beyond. The southern border of the Estate was
roughly along what is now the Parkway and took in the whole of the
area now covered in various out of town superstores and small
factory units on the site of what used to be the Tecalemit group
The Manor House
itself was requisitioned during World War II and for a short time
thereafter served a number of uses (on the home page you will see
a photo of a Church group having a holiday camp at the Manor House
in 1947). By the end of the 20th Century it had fallen into ruin
and had been knocked to be replaced by a luxury development of
some 41 executive family homes.
In 1830 the Manor
was home to Thomas Edward Gosling Esq.
On the Estate was
Lower Leigham farm. In 1870 it was inhabited by Benjamin
Buckland or Butland, Farmer and Mrs Ann Buckland, or Butland Any more information on
this part of the history would be much appreciated.
Thanks to Plymouth
Data for the following rather interesting suggestion regarding the
origins of the name Leigham.
LEIGHAM -- Legham 1242;
Leyham 1318; Lygham 1365. This name comprises
two elements, "leah" and "ham". The first probably meant 'an
open place in a wood where the grass could grow', says Ekwall, but
it could also refer to 'meadow' or 'pasture-land'. The second
element is the Old English for 'village, estate, manor or
homestead' but is commonly thought to refer to the first named.
If Ekwall's assertion that "ham" is older than "tun" as a
place-name is correct then maybe Leigham is older than Sutton and
could refer to the place that Sutton was south of, given that
Weston is to its west as well.
Leigham was in the
Parish of Plympton St. Mary but is now in the Parish of Estover,
which itself was carved out of the Leigham Estate in the 1960's
An interesting timeline has been supplied in
.xls format and can be found by following this link:
(many thanks to A. Morris). You will need an excel reader to open
it, often part of Microsoft Office.
information comes from Dr Ron and Mrs Elaine (nee Bunker)
Emmerson. Elaine Bunker's family owned the Manor at the time of
the photograph on the home page in 1947.
was owned by the Bunker family, as were several other properties
by the River Plym at Marsh Mills, now part of
was set in 30 acres with prime pasture and fishing rights. It also
had two adjoining small cottages that were used for a gardener and
a caretaker, and a lodge at the entrance to the drive from Forder
Valley Road. The drive was lined with beautiful rhododendrons and
azaleas and there was also a tennis court. It was given for the
use of the South England Conference for its Youth Camp in 1947.
Several romances started at
that summer ending in marriage. One was that of Dr and Mrs A
Jackson (Mrs Jackson - formerly Hilary Mason). The Bunker families
were all members of the
church. The Admiralty rented
as a hospital during the war years, and it was run by naval
lodge was let to an Adventist family called Whiting during this
period. After the war
was sold to an engineering firm, Tecalemit, who had built a
factory in the valley. They converted
into flats for their executives. We understand it was later sold
to a developer when Tecalemit moved to Estover, another part of
The other properties were compulsorily purchased by the
City Council of the time after the war, with the intention of big
industrial development and riverside walks etc in the area.
featured in the above photo, has recently made contact from
Australia and has the following reminiscences of the Adventist
camps that took place in 1947 at the Manor:
"Firstly the Junior camp.
Strangely I remember being taught how to clean shoes there! And I
clean them the way I did then. That is a strange memory.
do remember that we thought that the Manor had a ghost (It was all
school kid stuff of course) and we went through a phase of putting
over our heads and wandering around the rooms and the stairways.
great fun and we all seemed to play the game of scaring and being
also remember a guy who had a box of comics under his bed. Comics
for me were a rare "treat" and every moment of spare time I laid
on my bed reading these comics, which, I may add, the owner
guarded with his life.
was very much "in love" with the beautiful Minchin twins who never
gave me a second glance! I met them again in later life and they
were as beautiful as ever but well and truly spoken for!
loved playing in and by the river though parts of it were out of
and those were the parts that we went for mostly. It was so
rural and enticing that it lead us to play very imaginative games
pirates and smugglers. The games were all too short as the
counsellors were soon on our trail.
played the usual "apple pie bed" tricks on fellow campers and the
counsellors. That's about it for the junior camp.
The senior camp I also enjoyed as was pretty well the "mascot".
recalled that there was one man in my room that was the stereotype
musician. Long hair, pre occupied, poured over music scripts and
incessantly about music. The strange thing is that I do not
playing for us at any of the worships or concerts. The other
memory I have
him was that he broke wind with veracity at night and we all
threw things at him. He did not seem to care!
recall that a lot of up market jokes were played at the senior
more sophisticated. The one that has stayed in my mind was when
they hid the "wake up" bell. By the time it was found we were all
up and were there to witness the finding of it. It was on the
fountain "pipe" in the middle of the pond. The man in charge ( Mr
Tew senior) rolled up his trousers and waded through the pond to
retrieve it to the cheers and a clapping of the campers.
remember that the seniors camp was full of great singing. They all
seemed to sing in parts and harmonised beautifully. The special
solos, duets, quartet's were quite mesmerising to me, and later I
grew up (!) to sing bass in whatever group would put up with me.
The seniors went on a boat trip to Looe or Falmouth or somewhere.
It was on the Sir Francis Drake, a day tripper boat of some decent
size but its
details I do not remember. I just loved that trip. The campers
much as an adult and allowed me to join in with what they were
treasure that trip as one of the great memories of my childhood.
One thing that is very interesting about that camp... the "large"
those people in that picture who are now in Australia, a couple of
whom live very close to us and who we met quite regularly."