Keysoe is village in the country-side of northern Bedfordshire, England. Ahh, such a tranquil setting of peaceful village harmony. But, all is not as one might think.
“According to local legend, a builder named William Dickens was working on the steeple in 1718 when he slipped and fell. It is said that he was miraculously saved by reciting a prayer in mid-air.“
Willam Dickens must have been prayed mightily as the rest of the story may attest.
The Year Book, of Daily Recreation & Information: Concerning Remarkable Men, Manners, Times, Seasons, Solemnities, Merry-makings, Antiquities & Novelties, Forming a Complete History of the Year; & a Perpetual Key to the Almanac. page 703
“November 29, 1759, died at Keysoe, a village about nine miles from Bedford, aged seventy three, William Dickins, whose life was distinguished by the following remarkable incident:-
Dickins was a bricklayer and mason .On the 17th of April, 1718, he was engaged in pointing the steeple of the church, and fell from the middle window of the spire (a height of 132 feet) over the south west pinnacle. In his fall he struck the battlements with such force that his leg and foot were dreadfully fractured and part of the stone work precipitated with him to the ground; he sustained so little injury in other respects that in the course of a few months from the period of his fall he was sufficiently recovered to be capable of re-ascending the steeple to finish his work, which he accomplished, and lived for forty years afterwards in the full enjoyment of all his faculties. The chair in which he sat while engaged in pointing the steeple was securely suspended by a strong rope of four strands, yet it parted as was supposed through the rocking of the spire occasioned by the striking of the church clock, but upon examining the rope it appeared that three of the four strands of which it was composed had been purposely cut through with a knife or some sharp instrument. Dickins had been in company with a person of the same business the evening before his disaster: and on the strength of the old proverb, ” two of a trade seldom agree,” suspicion arose that Dickins’s rival had privily cut the rope.
He had been an unsuccessful candidate for the task which the parish authorities had assigned to Dickins in preference. That this suspicion was just never was satisfactorily proved but an awful fact remains on record: the man who was presumed to have worked this secret revenge having shortly afterwards finished erecting a stack of chimneys ascended to the top of them to give( as is usual on such occasions) an exulting shout on the completion of this part of his building, when the work not being sufficiently dry gave way, and falling with him he was dashed to pieces. There is still to be seen in Keysoe church-yard an old stone, which formerly contained an inscription commemorative of the above remarkable circumstances but now entirely obliterated by the ravages of time that destroyeth all things.”