In 1781 when Edmund Rack wrote his “General History of the County of Somerset” he described Stoke St Mary as follows:-

Stoke St Mary is a small parish three miles east of Taunton and 12 miles south-west of Bridgwater, being bounded on the east by Thorn Falcon and West Hatch, south by Thurlbear, west by Wilton and Taunton.

The hamlet of Broughton, three houses, being 1½miles south-west of the church, belongs this parish. Also the hamlet of Stoke Hill, about six houses. The rest of the houses compose a stragling street near the church. The whole number being about 25 and of inhabitants 140. One gentleman’s seat, Stoke House, the seat of William Burridge, Esq., an ancient house with good gardens.

The situation is very pleasant, being under the west ridge of a considerable hill cloathed with a fine wood. A spring here forms a pretty brook which empties itself into the Tone and contains some trout.

The manor belongs to the Bishop of Winchester.

The livings of this parish and Thurlbear are a united rectory in the gift of Henry William Portman, Esq. The Revd Mr Russel of Winbourn in Dorsetshire is the present incumbent. The Revd Mr Newcomen is curate.

Here are about 120 acres of woods in which are many oak timbers. The lands rather more arable than pasture. The former worth 15s, the latter 30s per acre.

A revel is annually held the Sunday after the 8th of September.

Price of labour 1s a day and drink.

Great tythes taken in kind.

The Church

The church is a small Gothic edifice, in length 66 ft, in width 18 ft, consisting of a nave, chancel, belfry and porch, tyled. At the west end is a square embattled tower [blank] ft high, white washd without and containing three bells.

The nave roof 21 ft, the chancel roof 18 ft high, both being coved and ceiled plain. A kind of screen with open bannisters seperates the chancel from the nave, and over it are the royal arms and sundry texts of Scripture. The pulpit a mean one of old wainscot, beaded and painted stone colour. The communion table a good one, being of oak, 6 ft long and near three wide. The singers’ gallery is fronted with panneld wainscot and under it is a very old clumsey stone font lind with lead.

Here are three doors, nine windows and four pews painted stone colour, the rest of the seats very good oak backd benches. The chancel walls very damp and green, and the church rather dirty. The floor very good.

Here are no monuments, and only one inscription in the floor.

[Inscriptions to

a) Mary, wife of William Doble, gent, d. 25 October,1673, aged 41.

b) William Doble, gent, d. 9 May, 1687, aged 63.

c) Phillip, son of a) and b), d. 14 July, 1708, aged 54.]

In the church yard nothing worth notice.