Sandwich, United Kingdom

Sandwich is a village in Kent, one of the Cinque Ports responsible for England's maritime defence. In the 14th / 15th century the harbour silted up and the river changed its course, leaving Sandwich well inland: so it lost its importance and its attractive medieval centre was preserved. In modern times a large industrial area has developed a couple of miles north, with a pharmaceutical complex operated by Pfizer, but this doesn't impinge on the old town. In 2011 Sandwich had a population of 4985. The TIC is in Guildhall, see below.

Anglo-Saxon England didn't have an army or navy. When hostilities loomed, each baron ordered his men to take up arms, while the Channel ports mobilised ships. This was haphazard enough to let in the Normans in 1066, so once in power they made more systematic arrangements. A Royal Charter of 1155 designated five leading ports, hence Cinque Ports - Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. Between them they had to make 57 ships available for Crown use for 15 days each year. In return they were exempt from tax, and enjoyed a long list of privileges: soc and sac, tol and team, blodwit and fledwit, pillory and tumbril, infangentheof and outfangentheof, and mundbryce, were some of the best fun you could have in the 12th century.

Sandwich Tours & Activities