The Parish Church of Deal, St. Leonard’s, has been a place of worship for 800 years. During medieval times it was surrounded by the cottages of the village of Addelam. This was long before the town of Lower or New Deal was built.
The earliest architectural evidence for the building of the church is about 1180.
The Vestry of St. Leonard’s assembled here to elect the men to carry forward and obtain the grant of the Charter.
Following the restoration of Charles 11, it became a custom to mark the death of an armigerous family, to paint his or her coat of arms on a board or canvas, usually in the shape of a lozenge. There are sixteen hatchments, dating from 1673 to 1865, displayed around the walls of the church they include members of the of Pomeroy, Serocold, Gerard, Baker, Scriven, Harvey and Drake families.
The chest stands in the chapel with a date of 1661 carved into it. It had three locks fitted to it one for the Rector, the other two for the churchwardens.
The registers are complete, and available online, from 1559 when in the reign of Elizabeth 1 every parish was required to keep records of baptisms, marriages and burials.
The pilots were hired to guide shipping through the sometimes dangerous coastal routes. The Cinque Ports Pilots held high status and all pilots had to be Freemen and churchgoers. Church services were compulsory but as Pilotage could be required at any time, the pilots paid for their own galleries with a separate entrance so that they could leave without disturbing the congregation.
Pilot’s Gallery was built in 1705 when attending church services was compulsory. Pilotage could be required at any time so the pilots paid for their own galleries usually with a separate entrance so they could leave without disturbing the congregation.
The church, with its churchyard, surrounding it is situated on a mound. The earliest surviving headstones here date from about 1700. Across the road along Church Path is the entrance to another burial ground for those parishioners who died between 1797 and 1855. Most of the surviving headstones in this yard have now been placed along the enclosing walls.
St. Leonard’s Church Seating Plan dated 1618