Between 1908 and 1916, John Stabb, an ecclesiologist and photographer who lived in Torquay, published three volumes of Some Old Devon Churches and one of Devon Church Antiquities. A projected second volume of the latter, regarded by Stabb himself as a complement to the former, did not materialize because of his untimely death on August 2nd 1917, aged 52. Collectively, Stabb's four volumes present descriptions of 261 Devon churches and their antiquities.
STOKE CANON. St. Mary Magdalene. The church, which has been restored, does not call for much notice. It consists of chancel and nave, south porch, and west tower with six bells. Although the church in itself is not very interesting it contains a Norman font of exceptional merit. It is square in shape, the four sides of the bowl being enriched with carvings of very similar design, a circle with two bars across; then comes a cable moulding, the corners are supported by four figures holding the cable twist in their upraised hands. The four lower spaces are carved with figures varying slightly in design; on the east side [plate 220a] a standing figure, on the south [plate 220b] a figure holding something that appears to be a book, but the stone is so worn it is difficult to make out clearly. On the west side is a figure holding a staff. The organ has been erected so close to the north side of the font that a good view of the carving is impossible.
The registers date: baptisms, 1654; marriages, 1656; burials, 1655.