What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, and London Bridge. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Sandwich. =Distance from London.=–84-1/2 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 13s. 0d. 8s. 4d. 6s. 6d. Return 22s. 8d. 16s. 8d. 13s. 0d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Bell,” “Bell and Anchor,” “Fleur de Lys,” etc.
It is difficult to realise that Sandwich, now 1-1/2 miles from the coast, was yet once situated on the sea, and was the second in importance of the Cinque Ports. In Roman and early Saxon times a wide arm of the Thames, called the Wantsume, flowed from Reculver (then known as Regulbium), where it was a mile wide, southwards to what is now the mouth of the Stour. Between Ebbsfleet and Worth it was over 4 miles wide. The Roman fortress of Ritupiae (Richborough) guarded it on the south, and the river Stour flowed into it at Stourmouth. This stream caused so much alluvial deposit that the sea receded from Richborough in early Saxon times, and part of the population removed to Sandwich. The repeated attacks by the Danes and the French did not check the growth of the town, which attained its maximum prosperity in Edward IV.’s reign, when it was walled. But the sea left its shores, and the town declined to again rise in importance, when the 400 Flemish emigrants settled there in Elizabeth’s reign and introduced silk-weaving, flannel manufactures, and market-gardening.
Sandwich contains some of the richest bits of mediaeval architecture in England. There are some traces of the walls to be seen, and one ancient gateway is perfect, Fisher’s Gate, near the quay. On the north is the Tudor barbican gate. St. Clement’s Church possesses a central Norman tower. The nave is in the Perpendicular style, and the chancel is Decorated. Both have fine roofs. St. Peter’s Church (thirteenth century) has a tower, but its south aisle was destroyed in 1661. The session-room at the town hall has some curious seats for the mayor and aldermen, and the hospital of St. Bartholomew’s has an Early English chapel. The best of the ancient houses in the town are in Strand Street and Lucksboat Street. Manswood Grammar School dates from 1564, and has a Flemish front.
At Richborough can be seen some Roman rectangular walls about 10 feet high, with a subterranean concrete building in the centre.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. FISHER’S GATE, SANDWICH.
A picturesque survival of the days of the town’s importance as a Cinque Port.]