Sandwich, Kent

Sandwich, an ancient Cinque Port in Kent is known as the most complete medieval town in England and contains the highest number of listed buildings vs population in the UK.

Some lesser known facts about Sandwich:

* Once a major port, it’s now two miles from the sea due to the disappearance of the Wantsum Channel.

* In 43 AD Emperor Claudius brought the first recorded elephant to England at Sandwich. Another elephant was also landed here in 1255 and was delivered as a gift to Henry III from the French King. It was taken on foot to Henry’s menagerie in the Tower of London. I bet that caused a stir along the way!

* In 1457, the town was attacked by 4,000 Frenchmen. The Mayor of Sandwich, John Drury, was killed along with many citizens. In memory of this event, the Mayor of Sandwich still wears a black robe rather than the traditional coloured ones.

* The Curfew Bell is still rung at St Peter’s Church daily at 8 pm. This was originally named the ‘pigbell’ as it signalled the time animals could be put onto the street and that people should put out their fires.

* The ‘sandwich’ was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich in the 18th century. Legend has it that he ordered his valet to bring him meat in-between two pieces of bread, and others began to order “the same as Sandwich”.

* Tom Paine, author of ‘Rights of Man’ lived here in 1759 and the cottage still stands. Tom coined the phrase ”United States of America” and many of his ideas fostered the American people’s desires for complete freedom of government and were incorporated in the Declaration of Independence.

The Guildhall, built in 1579 is the town centrepiece and contains an interesting museum and historic oak-panelled courtroom. Queen Elizabeth, I visited Sandwich in 1573 and there is a beautiful stained glass window in the courtroom depicting the reception at Sandown Gate.

The Salutation Gardens are a plant lover’s paradise. Designed in 1912 by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

There are several historic churches, a P22 gunboat used for pleasure trips, Championship Golf Course, walking & cycle routes, nature reserves, oldie worldie shops and plenty of places to eat and drink to name a few of the things to do here. I can personally recommend the fish & chips from Ossies!

A wonderful town for a day out.

Check out my Kent VLOG below to see my iPhone photographs from the area.

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