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Thurlestone lies on the coast of Bigbury Bay, about 4.5 miles from Kinsbridge. Off shore can be seen the the arch-shaped stone called Thurlestone Rock which gave Thurlestone its name, the Saxon name being Torlestone ("pierced stone"). The first mention of this stone was in a Saxon charter of 845. Its church, All Saints, is built of dark grey local slate, with a chancel dating back to the early 13th century; the remainder of the church was built during the 15th and 16th century.

The canon on the village green bears this inscription "This cannon was raised by local divers from the 300 ton barque Chanteloupe, wrecked on Thurlestone rock in the great storm of September 24th 1772. The ship, laden with sugar, coffee and rum, was homeward bound for London from grenada in the Windward Islands. Of the 13 crew and 7 passengers aboard, only the second mate was saved by Mr John Hannaford of Thurlestone. The rest are buried in Thurlestone Churchyard."

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