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Two Letters relating to the steeple of Hastingleigh church are archived at Canterbury Cathedral.
Reference numbers are DCb/LB/733 and DCb/LB/864.
They are in good condition and could indicate the date at which the church lost its steeple
in favour of a tower, topped with red brick instead of flint. The earlier letter states that the parish is
considering altering the church steeple, though the second letter indicates it was repaired!
Also worth noting is the list of names of the men who sign each of the letters. Only three of the men
sign both letters. Apart from Henry Pibus the rector, every one of the signatories was a serving churchwarden
or sidesman at Hastingleigh Church, between 1672 and 1696.
The first letter or note, dated 12 July 1684 is written in English, but with some very strange spellings. It translates as follows:
Master Laryken these four lines are to certify you
that our minister and parishoners are free and
willing to the altering of our church steeple
of Hastingleigh and here unto have set their hands
Henry Pibus, Rector of Hasingleigh
Thomas Coomes (Coombs)
John Pilcher his mark
Thomas Morlen ( probably Moorland)
The second letter or note, dated 19 April 1685 translates as follows:
We the inhabitants of the parish of Hastingleigh
do hereby notify that the steeple of the said parish is
repaired to our great cost. Witness our hands the nineteenth
day of April 1685
Henry Pibus, Rector
In 1580 a substantial earthquake in the Dover straights, now estimated at a 5.9 on the richter scale, was widly reported on.
The quake did damage as far away as Ely Cathedral. It could be that this quake either resulted in the collapse of Hastingleigh's steeple or
damaged it sufficiently that it tumbled down at a later date. As the letters are dated from 100 years after that massive quake,
It is speculative if that is what caused the problem at Hastingleigh. There are no other accounts yet found, as to why it was decided
to alter or necessary to alter the steeple. In any event, the result is a very distinctive tower with a brick work flourish on the top.