From White's Devonshire Directory of 1850
EAST STONEHOUSE, commonly called Stonehouse, is a populous township and parish, forming the centre of the "three towns," lying between Devonport and Plymouth, and separated from the former by Sutton Pool and Stonehouse Creek and Lake; and from the latter by Mill Bay, and a boundary line running behind the Gas Works, across the middle of Union street, and up Twickenham place, Manor street, and Eldad road, to Mill pool, a little east of Mill Bridge, opposite Stoke. More than half of Union street is in Plymouth, and also one side of Twickenham place, Manor street, and Eldad road. Stonehouse, though to all appearance forming Part of Plymouth, is a separate township. It was added by the Reform Act of 1832 to the Parliamentary Borough of Devonport, but it is still in. the Hundred and Petty Sessional Division of Roborough, and forms an Union of itself, under the new poor law, as noticed at pages 633-'4. It was anciently called Hepeston or Hippeston, and in the reign of Henry III. had but one house, which was the seat of Joel de Stonehouse, then lord of the manor. Before this time, it obtained the name of East Stonehouse, in contradistinction to the hamlet of West Stonehouse, which stood on the opposite shore of the harbour, near Cremill and Mount Edgcumbe, until burnt by the French, some centuries ago. The manor passed from the Stonehouse family to the Durnfords, with whose heiress it passed to the Edgcumbes. The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is now lord of the manor, and owner of all the land, except what has been sold to Government for the Royal William Victualling Yard, &c. Most of the land is built upon and let at moderate rents, on leases, subject to perpetual renewal on the payment of small fines by every succeeding tenant. Stonehouse had become a considerable place when Risdon wrote, about 1620, and it increased rapidly in buildings and population during the first 30 years of the present century. Its number of inhabitants amounted in 1801, to 3407; in 1811, to 5174; in 1821, to 6043; in 1831, to 9571; and in 1841, to 9712; including 102 persons in the Workhouse, 437 in the Royal Marine Barracks, and 307 in the Royal Naval Hospital. In the latter year, it had 1069 inhabited houses, 42 unoccupied, and 8 building, when the census was taken; and its number of males was then 4145, and females, 5567. It owes its prosperity chiefly to its convenient situation for naval and military depots, and the large Government establishments connected with the victualling, sanatory, and medical service. During the late war there were maintained here several barracks, capable of containing more than 3000 men. The principal of those now occupied are the Royal Marine Barracks, which have room for about 700 men, and were built about 1783. They are near the head of Mill Bay, opposite the Great Western Docks, now in course of formation, as noticed at page 643. From these docks the town extends southward along that bold and strongly fortified neck of land, which juts into Plymouth Sound and Hamoaze harbour, between Mill Bay and Sutton Pool, and is terminated on the south-west by that extensive and elegant establishment the Royal William Victualling Yard, already described at page 647, and by the forts and batteries of Devil's Point and Western King, (see page 641;) and on the south-east by the forts, &c., of Eastern King, where there is a large new battery. The spacious harbours of Mill Bay, Sutton Pool, and Hamoaze, are noticed at page 643, and the Royal Naval Hospital, at pages 647-'8. Stonehouse participates largely in the trade and commerce of the Port of Plymouth, (see page 648,) and, its streets are generally spacious and well built, running in straight lines, crossing each other at right angles, and having many handsome houses and well stocked shops, and several commodious inns and hotels. The Prince George and Brunswick Hotels are large and well conducted establishments and in Edgcumbe street is a convenient Market place, which is well supplied on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but many of the inhabitants frequent the neighbouring markets of Plymouth and Devonport. Here are two annual fairs on the first Wednesday in May and the second Wednesday in September. Stonehouse Bridge, which crosses the creek between Stonehouse Pool and Lake, forms a direct communication between this town and Devonport, and was built about 1773, by the lords of the two manors, whose successors, the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe and the St. Aubyn family, have equal shares of the tolls, which now yield about £2500 per annum. Foot passengers pay a half-penny, horses, 1d., and carriages, 2d. to 3d. each. Before the erection of this bridge the passage was by a ferry boat. It is matter of surprise that the inhabitants of the three towns have not taken means for the abolition of tolls on this bridge, so as to make it free, like the Mill Bridge, (nearly half a mile above,) which was rebuilt about 20 years ago. A large and handsome TOWN-HALL, with accommodations for the County Court, and weekly Petty Sessions, and apartments for the "Stonehouse Literary and Scientific Institution," was erected in 1849-'50, at the cost of £3700, raised in £1 shares. It is in the Italian style, and contains, besides the court room, the police station, and the apartments of the Institute, a handsome Ball Room, 85 feet by 45. The Institute was established many years ago, and has a good library, and a well supplied reading room, and the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is its patron and president. Here is also a Mechanics' Institute, and various Societies for the instruction and relief of the poor. The Royal Western Yacht Club has its house near Millbay, and has among its numerous members Prince Albert and many other royal personages. The Queen is its patroness, and the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is its commodore. The town is well lighted with gas from the works, noticed at page 652, and has a plentiful supply of waler from the works noticed with Devonport.
CHURCHES AND CHAPELS.- East Stonehouse was formerly a chapelry, in the parish of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, but was constituted a separate parish by act of Parliament. ST. GEORGE'S, the parish. church, was built by subscription in 1789, on the site of the ancient chapel. It is a plain stone fabric, with a disproportioned tower, but the interior is neatly fitted up, and has about 700 sittings. The living is a perpetual curacy, valued at £197 per annum, in the patronage of the Vicar of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, and incumbency of the Rev W.H. Nantes, B.A. ST. PAUL'S CHURCH, at the end of Durnford street, was built by subscription and grants in 1830-'1 at the cost of about £2700, and is an elegant structure in the lancet pointed style, with 1100 sittings, the greater part of which are free. The benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the incumbent of St. George's, and is now held by the Rev. R.W. Needham. Part of the eastern side of town has been formed into the new ecclesiastical district of St. Peter's. (See page 657.) There is an episcopal chapel at the Royal Naval Hospital, of which the Rev. W.R. Payne is chaplain. The Roman Catholic Chapel, in St. Mary's street, was opened in 1807. There is a Baptist Chapel, in Union street; a Wesleyan Chapel, in Edgcumbe street; and Independent Chapels, at Emma place and Union place. Here is a large National School, which was established many years ago, and has since been considerably enlarged. It is now in three departments, attended by about 200 boys, l80 girls, and 200 infants. The poor parishioners have 30s. a year from Rawlin's and Lanyon's Charities, (see Maker and Plymouth,) and they participate in the benefits of the Dispensary at Devonport.
STONEHOUSE PARISH WORKHOUSE, was erected in 1801, when the old one was taken down. It has room for 130 paupers, and the parish forms an union and registration district under the new poor law; and in 1838, expended £3005. 14s. in maintaining its in and out door poor. Mr. Richard Rodd is the union clerk and superintendent registrar; Mr. J. Capron is the relieving officer, and registrar of births and deaths; and Messrs. Charles Chapple and Thomas Tapp, jun., are the registrars of marriages; Mr. Joseph and Mrs. Piercy are master and matron of the Workhouse.
Brian Randell, 7 Mar 1999