Originally from the south east of England, the Reverend William Isaac Coppard. MA, took up his appointment at St Mary’s Church, Plympton, in 1817. It was his first and last appointment. A young man of thirty-one when he arrived here, he stayed forty eight years, watching more than one generation grow up. A very popular figure locally, he married a Plympton girl and lived in Dark Street Lane.
In the later years of his incumbency St Mary’s underwent a major restoration, however among the local community Coppard was principally remembered for his unflinching work during the Cholera Epidemic of 1832. At its height in the summer of that year in Underwood alone 200 out of the 300 people living there were affected and some 30 of them died. William Coppard’s diary paints a very dark and vivid picture of the lives of some if his parishoners – one family of husband, wife and five children sharing just two beds in one squalid room measuring no more than 16 by 14 feet.
A far cry indeed from the modern developments around Plympton today, developments which in recent years have seen Coppard Meadows, behind the Unicorn, added to the local place names.