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St.Michael and All Angels Steeple

Steeple is a very tiny, but lovely little hamlet nestling under the Purbeck hills.  There has been a church here since the 12c and much of the original survives in the nave.  There is a 13c window in the north wall and a simple circular font. A north transept and porch were added in the 17c.  The tower is essentially 16c, but has Norman origins

The church owes a great deal to two families.  The first were the Lawrence family, who married into the Washington family and are generally credited with the responsibility for incorporating their arms into the American flag, thus creating a lasting interest for American visitors.  (Please note there is also a Washington connection to be found in Affpuddle church.) They lived at Creech Grange from 1540 until 1691.  When they died out the estate was sold to the Bond family, who held it until the 20c.  Several were parsons, of whom Prebendary Nathaniel Bond (1852-1889) was responsible for rebuilding the chancel.

The organ was originally given to Tyneham church as a thanksgiving for the recovery of a son of William and Mary Bond who had been badly wounded during the Siege of Ladysmith, South Africa (1899).  In the north transept there is a fully restored barrel organ.  In 1858 Nathaniel Bond purchased a barrel organ for the church at the considerable cost of 100 guineas, probably because there was difficulty finding an organist or perhaps because church bands were somewhat frowned upon by some Victorians.  It certainly remained playable until 1910, and maybe until 1943, when it was dismantled and some of the pipes found their way into the Church Knowle organ, where they remain to this day.  In 1990 the PCC took the courageous decision to restore the instrument and it was re-dedicated in 1994.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

 

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