Sandwich - The 'Completest Medieval Town in England': A Study of the Town and Port from its Origins to 1600 [eBook (PDF)]

Helen Clarke(Author); Sarah Pearson(Author); Mavis E. Mate(Author); Keith Parfitt(Author)

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Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 352p, b/w & color illus throughout




Sandwich - The 'Completest Medieval Town in England'

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To the casual visitor of today, Sandwich appears as simply a small inland market town on the bank of a modest river. But locals and historians have long known that in the Middle Ages it was a strategic and commercial seaport of great significance, trading with northern Europe and the Mediterranean and growing prosperous on this business. The medieval fabric of the town has been preserved to a remarkable extent, but historians and archaeologists have never agreed on quite where the first settlement was located. Nor has there been close study of what the surviving medieval buildings can tell us about Sandwich's development. It is the physical development of Sandwich that forms the focus of this volume, providing new theories on how, when and why the town came to take its present form. As well as providing a great amount of detail on the houses, churches and defences of medieval Sandwich, the authors apply the material evidence in order to draw out important social, economic and cultural facets in the evolution of the town. The study of Sandwich also has much wider implications, as despite being largely affected by its location, it also shared much with other English medieval towns in terms of its physical growth and the role of its major institutions. The story of the town, therefore, is both particular and general, and this detailed study gives new insights into the influences affecting urban development, both in the formative period of growth and in later periods in which towns adapted to new circumstances. The method presented here could therefore, be equally applicable to studies of other medieval towns. Maps, plans and photographs, all in full colour, supplement the text and graphically underline many of the conclusions.

Reviews & Quotes

"The work undertaken by the present project ensures that Sandwich is one of the best-understood historic towns in England.'"
Christopher Catling
Current Archaeology (vol XXI, No. 3, 2010)

"Anyone interested in Sandwich and its history will be thrilled with this substantial volume. Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, it is an authoritative account.'"
Jonathan Fryer
Journal of Kent History (Issue 71, September 2010)

"[an] outstanding contribution to the study of urban vernacular architecture... [a] model for the quantity and quality of work that a small group of individuals can achieve.'"
C. R. J. Currie
Vernacular Architecture (Vol. 41, 2010)

"An impressive attempt has been made to meld together the disciplines informing topography and urban morphology, together with archaeological, architectural and historical investigations, rather than providing a collection of individually authored essays with only loose connecting strands... This is a very important and well-produced book, successfully extending the use of interdisciplinary studies, and it has set the standard very high for new studies of other towns.'"
Elizabeth Edwards
Archaeologia Cantiana (Vol 131, 2011)

"[Behind] a chronologically structured account of the origins and development of the town and its standing buildings from the eleventh to the seventeenth centuries, lies a wealth of scholarly research - the product of nearly two decades of study and one that synthesizes historical and archaeological data from several different disciplines and scholars. It thus provides one of the best examples of a truly multidisciplinary study of a medieval town.'"
Kate Giles
Antiquaries Journal (2011)

"A definitive study of the origins and evolution of the town and port... the reader, attracted by the excellence of the illustrations, the clarity of the maps and the effective use of modern colour photography on details of buildings, will not be disappointed.'"
Lawrence Lyle
Friends of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust Newsletter, No. 82 (Summer 2010)

"The treatment of the micro-topography, through the use of close contour surveys, is a model which all future urban (and rural) studies should strive to emulate. The inclusion of the basic street plan with street names and parish and property boundaries as end papers is but one example of the thoughtful and user-friendly use of maps and plans to illustrate and support the text which is shown throughout the volume.'"
Jeremy Haslam
Journal of the Medieval Settlement Research Group (2010)

"So often what claims to be an interdisciplinary study is nothing more than a series of essays written by individual experts. Sandwich was promoted as being different, with all authors contributing to each section. This aim has been fully attained... For anyone interested in medieval towns, this study deserves to head reading lists for many years to come.'"
David Martin
Sussex Past & Present, No. 122 (December 2010)

"It is a splendid account that has taken full advantage of developments in publishing and is a visual delight... The authors are to be congratulated on achieving their aims and providing this splendid account of the town and the port. This book should be on the shelves of all those interested not only in urban development and the Cinque Ports, but also in the history of Kent.'"
Duncan Harrington
The Local Historian, vol 41, No. 2 (May 2011)

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