"The 'Priest's House", was a familiar part of the village until in 1963 when it was demolished as unsafe.  It stood diagonally opposite the church, on a site acquired for the parish in 1452-3, and was later to serve successively as the Church House (a kind of village hall) and the Poor House.

The first picture shows Len Salter outside Church House.

Furse Cottage, a fine thatched house, stands at the heart of the village and is probably Stoke St. Mary’s oldest domestic building: it rose in the sixteenth century and was evidently enlarged in 1658 by Thomas Furse, a lime- burner.  He left his name carved over his door and was once heard to speak disloyal words of Oliver Cromwell.

Left to Right

Portman Estate Cottages

The Chapel

The Old Cottage

The Orchard


Mr and Mrs William Hardwell

Gardener for Miss Woodforde

Vine Cottage - Mr and Mrs Hardwell

St Mary's Church

The picture shows the Church as seen from the garden of Stoke House. The fire which destroyed the nave had taken place more than half a century before, and the rebuilt Church with its new south aisle appears just as it does today.

There are two rather superior-looking gentlemen in the foreground, one a particularly magisterial figure wearing a top hat, who, I would guess, is Theobald Walsh, J.P., the owner of Stoke House at that time.  He was clearly anxious to have himself immortalized by this new-fangled photography, and seems to have dressed in his best to give due honour to the occasion.

Photograph of Stoke St. Mary taken over one hundred years ago, which is perhaps the oldest remaining photographic record of the village in the 19th Century.

         The photograph was taken at a point some yards beyond the Chapel, and shows the main street looking remarkably similar to the scene we know today. But in place of the red brick "Half Moon" is a tall and elegant 18th Century building with a high-pitched roof, covered by climbing plants and with an elm tree standing at its door. It was in the ownership of the Brown family and became a pub by at least 1857,  and was destroyed by fire towards the end of the last Century.   Directly across the road is Dairy House Farm, looking just as it did until the recent alterations; a child is standing at the door, next to a small covered cart which seems to have a donkey at its head: this was perhaps used for collecting or delivering the milk.

Between Dairy House Farm and Fyrse Cottage is another house set back from the road, which has long since given way to modem buildings.   Fyrse Cottage itself has a sign hanging over its door, but I can make out no writing on it.  Standing in the foreground by the farm gate which is still to be seen opposite the cottages next to the Chapel is a stooping old woman dressed in a white morning cap and apron, the standard uniform of the country wife during much of the 18th and 19th centuries. She seems to be looking rather discontentedly at the state of the road, which is rutted and thick with mud.