Long before the American flag was thought of, the Stars and Stripes were carved into the church wall. As at Affpuddle, the arms of Lawrence quartering Washington are identical with the design on George Washington's signet ring.
Steeple is on the south side of the Purbeck Hills, west of Corfe Castle, and the country house which became the Lawrence's Dorset seat is Creech Grange, on the other side of the great escarpment.
The stars and stripes correctly called bars and mullets, heraldically joined the crusader cross of the Lawrence family when Edmund Lawrence married Agnes de Wessington, in 1390. In 1540 the Lawrence's came to Steeple, whilst a descendant of the Washington's settled in Virginia and became the great grandfather of George Washington, the first President of the USA.
The coat of arms appears above the north door at Steeple church, on a stone shield in the south porch, and is repeated four times inside the building, on the barrel-vaulted roof panels.
A rector in 1682 aptly named Samuel Bolde, declared in a sermon that 'everybody had a right to their own beliefs'. It angered King James II so much that Bolde was imprisoned.
The church has a unique barrel organ, the tune being picked out by pins and staples on a drum which when revolving strikes reeds of different tuning.
The Manor House was amongst several homes viewed as a possible place for retirement for Sir Anthony Eden in the 1950s but the idea was probably dropped because of the persistent noise of gunfire from the Lulworth ranges.