Afternoon Sandwich (May 7)

We spent some of the afternoon exploring Sandwich and meeting some very nice, helpful people. The town has many medieval buildings including one of England’s highest concentrations of half-timbered houses. In the 16th century Elizabeth I invited 350 Protestant Flemish refugees to settle in the town. The influence can be seen in ornate brickwork on some houses. The River Stour runs through Sandwich with a Barbican tollgate built by Henry VIII (not literally) which controls traffic flow over the river’s only road bridge. We had lunch sitting outside by the river. Lovely.

Above is St. Mary’s Church which probably originated as a convent in 664-73. The church has been rebuilt several times following the Norman conquest.

Above is St. Peter’s Church with the bell tower that was rebuilt by Dutch refugees.

On the right is St. Clements, still used for Parish services and the 800 year old Baptismal font (how do they keep that from leaking???

Sandwich has three churches that all date to medieval times. They have all been rebuilt in Norman times and after, however. St. Clements is now the Parish church as the others have been made redundant and are under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. St. Peter’s Church rings bells every 15 minutes throughout the day (but stopped the overnight ringing, which had been done for some 900 years, because one resident said it kept him awake – we think, from things he said, that it was our host who caused that). A curfew bell is rung every evening, for 10 minutes, at 8 pm. Apparently, this began in the Middle Ages and, according to some sources, had to do with preventing fires (they were put out for the night) and, other information says the curfew bell brought people inside to prevent the spread of the plague. Whatever, it is quite a sound for 10 minutes. Our host wants this stopped, too.

There are many wonderful buildings from the Middle Ages and some that were just interesting.

Half-timbered house.

Don’t know the age of this but loved the name of the business.

The British are so literal!

The toll bridge is a swing bridge across the Stour River dating from 1892. Posted are the tolls which were abolished in 1977. The barbican (click here for information about the Sandwich barbican) was an outer defence of a castle or walled city above a gate or drawbridge.

Marilyn getting advice from some of the locals about where to eat Fish and Chips.

Where the locals sent us. Right by the river on a beautiful, sunny day!

Bob enjoying a Shandy while we wait by the water for our Fish and Chips.

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