The temple have three Buddha images floating against the tide Ban Sam Phra Thuan, meaning the village of the three Buddha images floating against the tide. The name gradually became Sampathuan, as found today in the Wat Sampathuan Nok is located in Bang Kaew Subdistrict, Mueang Chachoengsao District, Chachoengsao, about 86.3 kilometres away from Bangkok. It takes about one hour and ten minutes to get from Bangkok to the temple. It has a stuccowork depicting the story of people of Chachoengsao.
The person who came up with an idea of the stuccowork was Phra Buddhi Rangsi Muniwong (Hor), then abbot who had Ubosot, the main hall, built in 1936. The construction lasted until 1953. It was suspended during World War II because the prices of construction materials were too high. The stuccowork is found on the south side of the main hall, depicting the landscape of Chachoengsao City, the village where the temple was built and lifestyle of the residents living on the banks of the Bang Pakong River. The lifestyle displayed on the stuccowork includes locals’ settlement, clothing, transport, tools and everyday lives. Sianki Sae-ngo together with his four children, as his assistants, was a sculptor who, without any blueprints, made the stuccowork by listening to the stories that Phra Buddhi Rangsi Muniwong told. Ingtawan Phaeluk-in wrote about the history of the temple in her research report entitled “Reflections on the lifestyle of the people of Chachoengsao during 150 years of the Rattanakosin Period: a case study of Wat Sampathuan’s stuccowork”. Here’s the summary of the report:
In 1770, after the fall of Ayutthaya, Yoo and In asked villagers to build Wat Sampathuan Nai, formerly known as Wat Suan Prik, together. The two men became monks and the temple’s abbots.
After that, In decided to found a new temple called Wat Sampathuan Nok, also known as Wat Suan Prik Nok on the right bank of the Bang Pakong River. It is said that the reason why it is called Wat Sampathuan is that there were once three Buddha image brothers including Luang Phor Sothorn, Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem and Luang Phor Toh Wat Bang Phli Yai miraculously floated along the river from the north, or the northern region known as Lanna, to the south. They were found in the Bang Pakong River near the village of Ban Suan Prik. They then miraculously floated against the tide. Villagers tried to bring them up from the river but they failed. The three Buddha images sank and disappeared. As a consequence, the locals called the area where they found name of the temple and a village.