"In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Churston Ferrers like this:
CHURSTON-FERRERS, a village and a parish in Totnes district, Devon. The village stands on the coast, near the Torquay and Dartmouth railway, 5 miles S of Torquay; has a railway station; and gives the title of Baron to the family of Yarde Buller. The parish includes also the hamlet of Galmpton; and its post town is Brixham, South Devon. Acres, 2, 777; of which 250 are water. Real property, £3, 498. Pop., 766. Houses, 145. The property is divided among a few. The manor belonged anciently to the Ferrers; passed to the Yardes and the Bullers; and belongs now to Lord Churston of Churston-Ferrers, who was raised to the peerage in 1858. ..."
ZEAL MONACHORUM"In the Domesday Book (1086) the present parish of Zeal Monachorum consisted of four manors, Zeal Monachorum and Burston (both known as Limet, because of their proximity to the River Limet or Yeo), Newton and Loosebeare.
There is some debate as to the origin of the name of the village. There is a local Saxon reference dated AD967 to land at Lesmanoac, and early maps refer to the settlement as Monkenfield, Munkton and Monks Nymet. The present name, written earlier as Sele and Zele, is said to derive from the fact that the manor of Zeal Monachorum had been given to the Abbey of Buckfast in 1018 by King Cnut (along with the manor of Down St Mary), hence a "cell of the monks" ("celle" in Old French and "cella" in Latin). The manor remained the property of Buckfast Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. The link with the Cistercian abbey is seen on the village sign at the top of Town Hill outside the church. The sale of the manor of Monckenzeale or Zealemonachorum is reported in documents of 1616.
In 1841 the Parish covered over 3,000 acres (12 km2) and had a population of about 600. The Lord of the Manor owned nearly 500 acres (2.0 km2), and other large estates included Beer, Sutton, the three Newtons, Burrow, Loosebeare, the Higher, Middle and Lower Burston, Barons Wood, Gillhouse, Foldhay, Higher Week, Serston, Nymphays, Waie and Tuckingmill. By 1901 the population had dropped to 316 and by the end of the 1st World War in which 19 members of the parish lost their lives, the population was only 271. It has fluctuated only slightly since then. The parish church dates from 1235 with a late-Saxon font and a yew tree reputed to be at least 1000 years old in the churchyard. The exterior of the tower dates from the early 16th century with a 13th century interior still extant. It was originally one story higher. Five of the present peal of six bells were cast in 1749 and the sixth was added in 1925. The Devon Association of Bellringers was founded at Zeal Monachorum in 1924 and the parish team has been active (and very successful in competition) since then, apart from a break from 1967 when the tower became unsafe. After strengthening and renovation, ringing began again in 1990. In 2005 a major restoration was undertaken, funded by a local appeal which raised over £30,000. The bells were rededicated on 18 August 2007. The church clock was also refurbished in 2007 with joint Devon County, Parish Council and Parochial Church Council funding.
There has also been an active Independent Congregational Chapel in the village since the late 19th century, with members of church and chapel attending each other's festive services.Regular community events are held in the village hall which is maintained and managed by a locally elected committee. The hall was originally a primary (public elementary) school which had 108 pupils in 1923 and many more during the 2nd World War when evacuees arrived, but it closed in 1954. The Church Hall stood in what is now the car park until it was demolished in 1958."