Discover Medieval Sandwich: A Guide to its History and Buildings [Paperback]

Helen Clarke(Author); Helen Clarke(Author); Helen Clarke(Author); Helen Clarke(Author)

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ISBN: 9781842174760 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2012 | Language: English 120p, colour illus throughout
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Discover Medieval Sandwich


Sandwich today is a quiet Kentish town on the banks of the river Stour where small pleasure craft tie up at The Quay. It is hard to imagine that in medieval times there was a wide expanse of water, Sandwich Haven, which provided a calm anchorage for every sort of vessel from Anglo-Saxon longships preparing to take on Viking invaders to fleets of Venetian galleys laden with exotic cargoes. Nor does Sandwich now stand at the entrance to a main waterway joining the English Channel to the Thames. It is now a peaceful town beside a lazy river.

This book describes what happened to medieval Sandwich over the centuries. We see how it grew from nothing more than a landmark for Anglo-Saxon seafarers to a Norman market town with 2,000 inhabitants. But then, from a prosperous trading centre where ships of all European nations anchored in The Haven it became a landlocked town with no contacts with the sea. The present town is a beautifully preserved example of a small medieval town, probably the most complete in England. Its houses are its chief glory and many of them are illustrated here. Though the town can be seen as the hero of this book, the people of Sandwich are there too; some serve as mayors and members of parliament, others brew beer and own bowling alleys. All have left their mark.

Table of Contents

Foreword (Colum Giles, English Heritage)

1. The formative years
The changing landscape: Sandwich Haven and its rivers
Sandwich’s beginnings
The earliest town: the 11th century
A period of growth and consolidation: the 12th century

2. Towards a well organized town: Sandwich by c.1300
The Custumal
The urban environment
Sources of wealth
Sandwich Haven and its ships
The Crown and the castle
The religious houses and churches

3. Sandwich survives disease, death and war: from c.1300 to the early 1400s
Sandwich before the Hundred Years’ War
Sandwich and the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453)
Sandwich Haven
Sandwich Castle
Town walls
The Black Death
Sandwich people
Piracy and respectability

4. The end of the Middle Ages: c.1450 to c.1600
Domestic arrangements
Some streetscapes
Sandwich people: merchants
Sandwich people: tradesmen
Sandwich people: beer brewers, inns and taverns
The decline of Sandwich Haven
The Barbican and other gates
The Bulwark
The churches in the 15th and 16th centuries
The Strangers usher in a new era

5. Postscript: the 500 years since the Strangers left town

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