Tenterden steeple was the cause of Goodwin Sands. The reason alleged is not obvious; an apparent non-sequitur. Mr. More, being sent with a commission into Kent to ascertain the cause of the Goodwin Sands, called together the oldest inhabitants to ask their opinion. A very old man said, “I believe Tenterden steeple is the cause.” This reason seemed ridiculous enough, but the fact is, the Bishop of Rochester applied the revenues for keeping clear the Sandwich haven to the building of Tenterden steeple. (See Goodwin Sands.)
Some say the stone collected for strengthening the wall was used for building the church tower.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894