A beautiful village nestling along deep lanes in an amphitheater of hills with several thatched houses, Stoke Abbot has escaped the attention of guidebooks probably because it is not near any main road. The predominant traffic is farm vehicles. Straggling roads have spread haphazardly out from the Norman church and cottages of mellow Ham Hill limestone with mullioned windows which catch and hold the quiet sun.
The history of Stoke Abbot has not however been without incident. On Friday 30th April 1858 a cottage in Anchor Lane was observed to be on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished, but in the kitchen the body of 23 year old Sara Guppy was found with her throat cut. James Seale, a relative of the occupier, was quickly arrested, tried, and found guilty of the murder. On the 10th August he was hanged in what turned out to be the last public hanging in Dorset.
The church of St. Mary is of a great variety of dates. Originally Norman, parts of the nave still remain from the 12th century, and a small window of that date survives in the north wall. The restoration of 1878 however predominates with most of the nave, the roof and north aisle from that date. The internal furnishings include a Jacobean pulpit and a fine 12th century font with arches enclosing heads, and patterns all over.
It was a former rector, William Crowe, who loved this place so much that he wrote a poem about Lewesdon Hill, one of the heights above the village, and the highest in the county, from the tree-clad slopes he mused:
'Above the noisy stir
of yonder field
William Wordsworth, who lived at nearby Racedown Farm, thought it was an admirable poem.