Its Farms and Families

The Bonds were originally lords of the manor of Lulton (half mile due west of the church) which came in to their possession in 1431 (It had formed part of the extensive property of the Abbey of Bec, in Normandy, but a statute of that time forbade foreign religious houses to hold land in England). In 1691 the Lawrences of Creech Grange, became extinct, and their manor passed to the Bonds. Lutton is now deserted, as it is part of the Lulworth battle training area, and though Creech Grange is no longer the home of the Bonds, they still live in the area in the parishes of Steeple and Corfe Castle.

The link between Steeple and the Lawrence family holds a particular interest for American visitors, as their coat of arms is repeatedly found in the church, quartered with that of the Washingtons, with whom they intermarried in the 14th century, Both families came from the Duchy of Lancaster; but in 1540 the Lawrences moved to Steeple, while a descendant of the Washingtons, John, settled in Virginia, and became the great grandfather of George Washington, the first President of the United States. There is an interesting suggestion that the Washington shield (in the second and third quarters of the armorial tablet: see illustration) may have inspired the design for the stars and stripes of the United States, This is possible, though the Washington bars are horizontal, whereas those in the Union Flag are vertical.

Steeple Manor House, a few hundred yards north of the church, was until 1657 the property of the Lawrence family; but in that year it was sold to the Clavells.
It has changed hands several times since. The Clavells also procured Blackmanston (quarter of a mile south east of the church) from the Bonds about the same time.

The original Rectory of Steeple, a two-storey cottage by the main road, is now a farmhouse. It was sold when a newer rectory beside the church was built in the 19th century; but this was also sold to private owners when Steeple ceased to have its own resident curate.