The earliest known recording of the village name, in 1086, is “Stoches”, later written as “Stokes”. Rosa Alselin or Hanselin, who had inherited the lands her grandfather Ralph had been given after the Norman Conquest, married Thomas Bardolf in the 12th century. It is believed that this couple had the Bardolph Manor House built, in the field behind what is now Stanhope Crescent. Excavation in the 1950s and 1960s revealed the foundations of a large hall with a large open hearth, and smaller finds of pottery, knives and coins from the 12th to the 15th centuries. The Manor House appears to have been abandoned in the early 15th century.
In the late 19th century land in the parish was mainly owned by the Earl of Carnarvon and the Earl Manvers and most of the inhabitants were tenant farmers. When it was decided that Stoke Bardolph would be the site of the sewage works and farm, Nottingham Corporation first leased, then bought all the land in the village as well as at Bulcote to form the Stoke Bardolph Estate. In addition to the sewage treatment works, the Corporation farmed cattle and extensive arable crops, employing a large workforce. Although the farm and sewage works still exist, they have been modernised and are now owned by Severn Trent Water. The village no longer consists of estate workers in tied cottages but of privately-owned houses, occupied mainly by commuters.
The church, dedicated to St Luke, dates from 1844; built of plain brick, it was altered and extended in 1910. In 1883 Nottingham Corporation contributed towards the cost of building a school opposite the church to accommodate workers’ children. The school played an important part in village life until in 1983 it was closed and sold for residential use. The Corporation also converted one of the farm buildings to provide a village hall, later extended by Severn Trent as its social club.
There are no shops nor a post office in Stoke Bardolph. The Ferry Boat Inn has been a popular public house for at least 200 years, although considerably altered during that time. The ferry to Shelford, which crossed the river Trent at this point, dated back for about 700 years until it ceased operating some forty years ago. The locks and weir were built in 1923 and the attractions of the lock, the river wildlife and the Ferry Boat pub make the village a popular place for visitors, especially in the summer.