A Topographical Dictionary of England
Samuel Lewis (1831)
Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)
STONEHOUSE (EAST), a parish in the suburbs of the borough of PLYMOUTH, county of DEVON, containing 6043 inhabitants. This place, originally called Hipperston, was, in the reign of Henry III., the property of Joel de Stonehouse, from whom it derives its present name; it was then situated more southerly, but, after subsequent improvements and extension to the northward, the ancient buildings were allowed to fall into decay. It now consists of several streets, which are mostly paved, and lighted with gas; the houses are handsome and commodious; and the inhabitants are well supplied with water by means of pipes leading from the reservoir of the Devonport Water Company, situated in the parish of Stoke-Damerall, and from a fine stream brought into the town under an act passed in the 35th of Elizabeth. A communication was made with Devonport by means of a stone bridge across Stonehouse creek, erected at the joint expense of the Earl of Mount-Edgecumbe and Sir John St. Aubyn; the tolls are let annually, at a public survey, and the income derived from them is very considerable. Higher up the creek, to the north, is a mill dam, affording a passage to Stoke. On the Devil's Point is the picturesque ruin of a blockhouse, erected in the time of Elizabeth; and over this old edifice is a modern battery, occupied by the Royal Marine Artillery. At a short distance is Eastern King's battery, commanding the mouth of the Hamoaze; there is also a fort for the protection of the creek. The three towns of Stonehouse, Plymouth, and Devonport, are brilliantly lighted from the gas-works in this parish: the gasometer presents a conspicuous object from the road from Plymouth to Devonport. The road to the ferry at New Passage passes through this place. At the quays in Stonehouse pool vessels unload their cargoes of wood and coal. In addition to the general business arising from the maritime relations of this town, and its naval and military establishments, are some large manufactories for varnish for the dock-yards, soap, and tallow. A customary market is held on Wednesday, in a neat and convenient building, in Edgecumbe-street; and there are fairs on the first Wednesday in May, and the second Wednesday in September. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who hold their sessions in the town hall at Devonport. A manorial court leet and baron is held annually. Among the most important public establishments is the Royal Naval Hospital, for the reception of wounded seamen and marines, opened in 1762; it is situated on an eminence near the creek, and comprises ten buildings, each containing six wards, each ward affording accommodation for about twenty patients, with a chapel, store-room, operating-room, small-pox ward, and dispensary; they form an extensive quadrangle, ornamented on three sides with a piazza, and the entire edifice, with its spacious lawn, is said to occupy an area of twenty four acres. In 1795, the government of this institution was vested in a post-captain; the other officers are, the first and second lieutenants, physician, surgeon, dispenser, chaplain, agent, and steward: the chapel is open to the public. The Royal Marine barracks, on the west shore of Mill bay, comprise a handsome range of buildings forming an oblong square, and are adapted for the accommodation of about one thousand men: the Long Room barracks, built chiefly of wood, will contain nine hundred. A new victualling establishment, now in progress of erection at Devil's Point, is designed upon a scale of great magnitude: among the more remarkable features of the work are, the removal of three hundred thousand cubic yards of limestone rock, and the erection of a granite sea-wall, one thousand five hundred feet in length, the foundation of which was laid by means of a diving bell. The water for the brewery is supplied, at the rate of three hundred and fifty tons per day, from the Plymouth Leat: it first runs into a reservoir capable of receiving two thousand tons, and is thence conveyed through iron pipes into a second basin, of six thousand tons. The Royal Military Hospital is situated on the opposite side of the creek, in the parish of Stoke-Damerall; its government is similar to that of the Naval Hospital. Stonehouse was formerly a chapelry in the parish of St. Andrew, Plymouth. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Totness, and diocese of Exeter, endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Vicar of St. Andrew's, Plymouth. The church, dedicated to St. George, was built in 1787, when the old chapel was taken down. A grant for a new church was made by the parliamentary commissioners, in 1828. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Roman Catholics. A National school is supported by voluntary contributions.