STOKE ST MARY HISTORICAL RECORDS

In the “History and Antiquities of the County of Someret”  by  the Reverend John Collinson in 1791, “collected from authentick records and the actual survey made by the late Edmund Rack,” Stoke St Mary is described thus:-


This small parish lies 3 miles nearly South from Taunton, in a very pleasant situation, under the western ridge of a considerable Hill clothed with a fine wood.


There are two hamlets, viz.


1. Stoke Hill containing six houses


2. Broughton, one mile and a half south-west from the church, in which are three houses.


This place was anciently written Stocha and it was one of those which did all the customary services to the Manor of Taunton, which are recited in the account of that extensive lordship, except that of sending men to the army with the vassals of the Bishop of Winchester. Why it was exempt from this service does not appear; perhaps the place was nearly in a manner depopulated at that period, and the loss of a few men might have materially felt in the cultivation of the lands of the village.


It would be tedious and unnecessary to resurvey the Wintonian history of Taunton in the account of several villages, which did anciently and do now compose that manner, because most of the circumstances which respect one are equally applicable to all.  It may however be observed that the Bishops of Winchester had a charter of free–warren, and all other manerial privileges within their territories, which, with very little alienation, have descended through the several prelates of that see from a very early date before the Norman invasion to the present day, in the same extended right of possession.


The benefices of this parish and Thurlbury are a united rectory in the gift of Henry William Portman Esquire. The Rev Charles Russell is the present incumbent.


The church is a small structure of one pace, with a tower at the west end containing three bells. On the floor is this inscription:


"Here lies the body of Mary the wife of William Doble, gentlemen who died October 25, 1673, aged 41.  Also of William Doble, gentlemen who died May 9, 1687, aged 63.  Also of Philip Doble their son who died July 14, 1708, aged 54" Arms sable a doe passant between three bells argent.


Stoke house is the seat of William Doble Burrige Esquire