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The Keysoe Miracle

Inscription on the west tower February 2016
Inscription on the west tower of the church February 2016

Set in the west face of the tower of Saint Mary’s church is a plaque which, in rather difficult language, tells of a miracle. A man named William Dickins, then aged 32, was pointing the steeple when he fell from the ridge of the middle window in the spire near the south-west pinnacle. He struck the battlements, breaking his leg, then fell to the ground whilst calling out to his brother Daniel and to his Lord. He survived this fall and went on to live another 41 years.

The plaque reads: “In Memory of the Mighty hand of the Great God and Our savour Jesus Christ, Who Preserved the Life of Wilm Dickins Aprl 17th 1718 when he was Pointing the Steepol and Fell From the Rige of the Middel Window in the Spiar Over the South West Pinackel he Dropt Upon the batelments and their Broack his Leg and foot and Drive Down 2 Long Copein Stone and so Fell to the Ground with his Neck Upon one Standard of his Chear When the Other End took the Ground Which was the Nearest of Killing him. Yet when he See he was Faling Crid out to his Brother Lord Daniel Wots the Matter Lord Have Mercy Upon me Christ Have Mercy Upon me Lord Jesus Christ Help me But Now Almoust to the Ground. Died Novr 29th 1759 Aged 73 Years”.

The irony is that William Dickins was a Baptist. He was a member of the meeting at Brook End. This was made clear by a letter in the Whitbread archive, which includes a copy of the text and the explanation: “The person who in the year 1780 took this Inscription from the Stone... asked the Parish Clerk's Wife then present, whether she had hear'd who wrote the Inscription: she answered, The Stone was made at Bedford, they [meaning the Dickins brothers] were Meetingers, and Poeted for themselves". [W1/2078]. Despite being a Baptist, William Dickins was buried in the churchyard, close to the tower that nearly killed him.

The south-west pinnacle February 2016
The south-west pinnacle February 2016