The Rest of the Story

The cupola and steeple appear to be similar in height to the church itself, certainly the steeple is proportionately larger than most small country churches of that vintage. I am told that there was a problem within a year of the building of the church. The steeple began to lean. It was at that early point that timbers were added in the area of the deacons' bench, beneath the steeple, and this is continued in the balcony. This provides extra support for the steeple. The two turn-buckles that span the sanctuary just below the roof were added at the same time.

This would seem reminiscent of the early gothic churches in the Middle Ages. It was not uncommon to have to add additional support for the weight of the bell tower. In the early gothic churches there occurred some catastrophic collapses because of the weight of the roof creating an outward thrust to the walls- the walls wanted "to buckle from the weight". The medieval master builder solved the problem by adding flying buttresses to the exterior, with the stone bridges from the buttress to the external wall providing just enough counter thrust to hold the wall upright, like a giant book end.

Even thought the American Gothic Revival has rudimentary buttresses, they seem to be more decorative than functional, and the builders of Greenwich found an equally effective solution; the turnbuckles. Another link to the gothic past.