STOKENHAM, a parish and a small pleasant village, 5 miles E. of Kingsbridge, is in Kingsbridge Union and county court district, Stanborough and Coleridge petty sessional division, Coleridge hundred, Southern division of the county, Totnes archdeaconry, and Woodleigh rural deanery. It had 1628 inhabitants (809 males, 819 females) in 1871, living in 865 houses ; the area is 6011 acres, including .340 acres of water. The parish includes the six villages of Chillington, Beeson, Beesands, Hallsands, Kellaton, (or Kellinyton), and Torcross, extending for 4 miles along the picturesque shores of Start Bay. Several of these villages are fishing places, noted for fine crabs, which are in high repute in London. The parish extends southward to Start Point, where there is a lighthouse, in which has recently been placed a revolving light and a fog-horn, which are worked by steam. The parish also includes the hamlets of Bickerton, Dunstone Cornborough, and many scattered houses. Torcross, adjoining Slapton Ley, is a pretty little bathing place,and has a good hotel, containing a billiard room, and having bathing machines. An annual regatta is held here.
The parish is generally fertile, and it extends westward in a picturesque vale to Frogmore, where there is a creek from Kingsbridge estuary. Sir Lydston Newman, Bart., of Mamhead, is lord of the manor of Stokenham, and has a neat marine residence, called Stokely House, which has been lately added to. The manor has been held by the Fitzjohns, Fitzherberts, Courtenays, Hastings, and Carys, and was sold by the latter to the Newmans. Miss Burnell is lady of the manor of Kellaton, and A. F. Holdsworth, Esq., J.P., owns Stokenham Priory estate, and has a picturesquely situated mansion near the bay called Widdicombe, rebuilt about 1725. Coleridge, a handsome mansion, in the Elizabethan style, is the seat of John Allen, Esq., J.P., who owns the estate which gives name to this hundred. The Nicholls, Edmunds, Pitts, Randall, Cole, and other families have estates in the parish, mostly freehold.
The Church (St. Michael and All Angels) is a large and substantial structure in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north and south transepts, two parcloses, and tower, containing six bells. It has been recently thoroughly restored, at a cost of £1800, which was defrayed by voluntary subscriptions. A good organ, built by Brycesom Morton and Co., has been erected at a cost of £300, raised by a bazaar and subscription. The living is a vicarage, valued in K.B, at £48 7s. 8^d., and in 1831 at £625, with the curacies of Chivelstone and Sherford annexed to it, is in the patronage of the Crown, and incumbency of the Rev. John Charles Carwithen, M.A., domestic chaplain to Lord Fortescue. There is a vicarage house, which has been added to and almost entirely rebuilt; the glebe is only 2acres 21perches. The tithes were commuted in 1843, the vicarial for £360 5s., and the rectorial for £309 14s. 11d. per annum. Of the latter, £171 belongs to A. F. Holdsworth, Esq., and the rest belongs to 41 other impropriators, in sums varying from £16 to 2d. The rectory was appropriated by the Earl of Salisbury to Bisham Priory, in Bucks. The hundred court was anciently held here, and there are some remains of an old building called the Prison, near the church and the site of the ancient manor house.
There was anciently a market and a fair at Stokenham, but they were removed to Dodbrooke after a long dispute between the lords of the two manors. The old Independent Chapel here was built by Presbyterians about 1715, and at Torcross is a small Independent Chapel. As noticed with Exeter, this parish has from Jeffery's charity £4 a year for a Nonconformist minister, and has three full suits for three poor men. The School Board was formed on August 22, 1874, and now consists of the Rev. J. C. Carwithen (chairman), Mr. L. Pitts (vice), and Messrs W. Hurrell, F. Helmer, and W. B. Edwards. John H. Square, Esq., of Kingsbridge, is clerk. The old Parish School has been transferred to the Board on payment of 5s. a year to the trustees of the old Stokenham National School, who have the use of it on Saturdays and Sundays, and any other days when it is not used by the board. There has also just been erected at Huccombe a handsome Board School, at a cost of £700, and opened at Midsummer, 1877.
Post, Money Order, Telegraph, Government Annuity, and Insurance Office and Savings Bank
at Mr Nathaniel Jeffery's, Torcross. Letters are received at 8.40 a.m., and despatched at 4.40 p.m. week days, and 9.30 a.m. Sundays, via Kingsbridge, Money Order, Insurance, and Annuity business is transacted from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m., and on Saturday until 8 pm. The Telegraph Office is open from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. week days, and from 8 till 10 a.m. on Sunday. There is also a Post Office at Mr. Thomas Issell's, Stokenham village. Letters are received at 8.15 a.m., and despatched at 4.50 p.m. week days, and 9.40 a.m. Sundays, via Kingsbridge. Torcross is the nearest Money Order Office.