Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: August 17, 2019
Webpage updated: August 17, 2019

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It will no doubt surprise many Plymothians to learn that Pennycomequick was originally a part of the Ancient Parish of Stoke Damerel and not a part of old Plymouth.

The farm from which it took its name is shown on the Tithe Map and early Ordnance Survey maps as being opposite what is today an apartment block in what is now known as Central Park Avenue but was previously Cemetery Road. The buildings were originally in the shape of an inverted "V" but the building immediately adjacent to the roadway lasted until the 1930s.

There are two claims as to the origin of the name.  The most spurious is that is comes from a local saying that the toll house was so busy, being on the main road from Plymouth to Saltash, that the 'pennies came quick'.  That story has been encouraged no doubt by the fact that on the early Ordnance Survey maps the name of the farm is spelt as "Penny-Come-Quick".  However, the name predates the coming of the toll road or the toll houses.

The Trustees of the Saltash Turnpike gave notice that they intended to apply to Parliament for permission to erect a Toll-Gate 'at the bottom of Penny-Come-Quick-Hill'. As this was considered to be 'highly injurious to the Interests of this Town and Neighbourhood' the Mayor of Plymouth, Thomas Cleather, called a meeting at the Mayoralty-House on Monday February 8th 1802 at 12 Noon 'to take the Subject into Consideration'. 

In fact, the name was in use in the middle of the 17th century.  Thus the more reasonable derivation is from the Celtic/Cornish "Pen y cum gwik", which translates as 'At the head of the valley of the creek'.  It does indeed stand at the head of Stonehouse Creek and the farm was only yards to the north of the stream that fed the Creek.

Pennycomequick before the roundabout, December 1949.
City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.

Pennycomequick with the roundabout, March 1953.
The boundary with Plymouth is roughly in alignment with the Zebra Crossing in the foreground.
All the  traffic visible would have been in Devonport prior to 1914.
City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.