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The History of Kent

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History of Staple

Staple comes from the Old English word ‘stapol’ meaning a ‘post, pillar’; therefore, a ‘post’, and due to the positioning of the church, adjacent to the old parish boundary, it suggests a boundary-marker.

Staple parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint James the Great. Built in the 14th century its origins date back to the Saxon period. Joanna Hille cast and hung a bell in the 15th century; John Hatch then cast a tenor in 1623, with two trebles added by John Hodson in 1680. Edward Hasted describes the church in his topographical survey of 1800 as consisting of ‘two isles and two chancels, having a tower steeple at the west end, in which are four bells. The church is remarkably long and low. The south isle and chancel are upon the same level, nor is there any separation between them. On the sides of the chancel are rails, very low, about two feet from the wall, very unusual.’ George Edmund Street completed restoration work in 1868, creating a pervading atmosphere.

In the mid 1550's, John Bland, Vicar of
Staple, and a fervent believer in the protestant faith came to the attention of Queen Mary, who ordered him to be burnt at the stake in Martyr's Field, Canterbury in July 1555.

Lady Lynch of Groves donated a second hand clock, with only the hour hand, to the
Staple church in 1789. It fell into disrepair before World War II, and after appeals for funds, clock expert Bernars Hawkins and his son restored it to working order, free of charge. The clock received a new dial in 1961. Ken Smith designed and manufactured an electrified winding mechanism, which the (then) Bishop of Dover, the Rev. Richard Llewelyn dedicated in July 1993.

Staple railway station opened on the East Kent Light Railway’s line in October 1916. Unfortunately, passenger numbers did not reach expectations due to the stations distance from the village, and it closed to this source of traffic in November 1948. Further reductions in freight traffic resulted in complete closure of the station in March 1951, and termination of the line in December 1987.