The 1300s saw the beginning of prosperity in East Anglia with the growth of sheep farming and the wool trade. Unfortunately, in the mid-century (1348 - 9) the Black Death plague was rampant and one wonders how it affected the village. It is thought that there is a plague pit near the church and that many more houses surrounded the church at that time, but were destroyed and the village moved lower down the valley to near the Queen's Head (now a private house) and Wistaria Cottage.
The increasing prosperity is shown by two major additions to the church, the first being the north porch (which was later blocked up around 1815 and is now the vestry). In those days the first part of the marriage service was conducted outside the church, as were some processions for religious festivals, and so porches were built to keep the waiting people warm and dry. Notice on the lefthand window two marks, possibly mason's marks and a scratch ship nearby on the wall . The ship is in some ways similar to those at Parham. Further information about these ships could be sought from the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. Before the churchyard was levelled it was possible to trace the line of the old path across the churchyard from the gate to the north porch. The feet that wore the step from the vestry to the church must have often trodden this path.
The other addition to the church was the tower. Largely built of flints it stands between 60 and 70 feet high, allowing one to enter (as we do today) through the ceremonial west door. Towers were not built in a day! A maximum of only seven to ten feet a year was possible, since any more would have meant certain collapse owing to the poor quality of the mortar. You can see the yearly additions in the masonry, and notice as well the gargoyles (ornamental water spouts) near the top.
Inside the tower the stairs and first stage, the ringing chamber, was built c. 1830. Formerly the bells would have been rung from the next stage up, which can be reached by a small stone staircase. There were originally five bells, the earliest dates from c. 1450 (details of the restoration of the bells in 1997-2000 can be found on the Bells page).
On the original belfry level there are signs that Hacheston once possessed a Sanctus window, a small window so that the bellringer might be able to see the altar and thus ring the bell at the correct moment during Mass. This is now blocked up, probably at the time when the hammer beam roof was inserted during the fifteenth century. It should be noted that the arch of the original west door was tall and narrow, the upper half being the door to the present gallery and the lower half forming the door by which we now enter.
Stocks were used from Anglo-Saxon times onwards, and were set up in every parish in 1376 by Edward III. They were never expressly abolished but disappeared during the early nineteenth century. On view in the church are our stocks, probably dating from the seventeenth century. They used to stand just at the edge of the churchyard.