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Stokenham

Stokenham is located within South Hams local authority area. Historically it formed part of Coleridge Hundred. It falls within Woodleigh Deanery for ecclesiastical purposes. The Deaneries are used to arrange the typescript Church Notes of B.F.Cresswell which are held in the Westcountry Studies Library. The population was 1301 in 1801 1403 in 1901 . Figures for other years are available on the local studies website. In 1641/2 393 adult males signed the Protestation returns.

A parish history file is held in Kingsbridge Library. You can look for other material on the community by using the place search on the main local studies database. Further historical information is also available on the Genuki website.

Maps: The image below is of the Stokenham area on Donn's one inch to the mile survey of 1765.

Stokenham area on Donn's map of Devon (sto7thumb.jpg)

On the County Series Ordnance Survey mapping the area is to be found on 1:2,500 sheet 137/2,3 Six inch (1:10560) sheet 137NW,NE
The National Grid reference for the centre of the area is SX807429. On the post 1945 National Grid Ordnance Survey mapping the sheets are: 1:10,000 (six inch to a mile: sheet SX84SW, 1:25,000 mapping: sheet Outdoor Leisure 20, Landranger (1:50,000) mapping: sheet 202. Geological sheet 355 also covers the area.

Illustrations: The image below is of Stokenham as included in the Library's illustrations collection. Other images can be searched for on the local studies catalogue.

The Start - South Devon (SC2716)

Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:

STOKENHAM is called Stoke in Hamme in the 13th century, to distinguish it from other Stokes. The scenery of the parish, both inland and coastal, is most beautiful and unspoilt. It includes some miles of the Start Bay coastline and the striking headland of the Start, where there is a lighthouse erected in 1836, a period piece internally. Start means "tail" from the shape of the headland (O.E. steort).

Torcross takes its name from the tor or great rock which terminates the S. end of the long raised beach. The whereabouts of the cross is not known: possibly one stood on the summit of the rock as a mark for shipping. The hamlet probably originated as a small fishing settlement, like Beesands and Hallsands to the S. All were noted for their fine crabs in the 19th century which were esteemed in the London market. Torcross is described in 1850 as "a pretty little bathing place, with several lodging houses for visitors." It is much the same today. Beesands was bombed in 1943 when several people were killed and much damage done. Hallsands has suffered greatly from the sea. The storm of January 1917 especially did great damage and much of the hamlet had to be rebuilt in a safer place. The ruins of the older houses by the sea may be seen.

The parish church (St. Michael and All Angels) seems to have been dedicated originally to St. Humbert the Confessor (d. 1188). (Cal. Inq., viii, 348 (No. 476) It is a fine, bold 15th or early 16th century building in local slate, with a good tower of a common S. Devon type. The rood-screen (15th century) occupies the full width of the church.

The village and its hamlets contain much good building in local slate and reed-thatch. Widdicombe House was rebuilt c. 1725 and enlarged c. 1820. Slapton Ley extends into Stokenham and is notable for its fishing and its rare wild birds.