SANDWICH, a market town, municipal borough, and one of the Cinque Ports in the St Augustine's parliamentary division of Kent, England, 1 2 m. E. of Canterbury, on the South-Eastern & Chatham railway. Pop. (1901), 3170. It is situated 2 m. from the sea, on the river Stour, which is navigable up to the bridge for vessels of 200 tons. The old line of the walls on the land side is marked by a public walk. The Fisher Gate and a gateway called the Barbican are interesting; but the four principal gates were pulled down in the 18th century. St Clement's church has a fine Norman central tower, and St Peter's (restored), said to date from the reign of King John, has interesting medieval monuments. The curfew is still rung at St Peter's. A grammar school was founded by Sir Roger Man wood in 1564, but the existing school buildings are modern. There are three ancient hospitals; St Bartholomew's has a fine Early English chapel of the 12th century. The establishment of the railway and of the St George's golf links (1886) rescued Sandwich from the decay into which it had fallen in the earlier part of the 19th century. The links are among the finest in England.
Richborough Castle, ij m. N. of Sandwich, is one of the finest relics of Roman Britain. It was called Rutupiae, and guarded one of the harbours for continental traffic in Roman times, and was in the 4th century a fort of the coast defence along the Saxon shore.
The situation of Sandwich on the Wantsum, once a navigable channel for ships bound for London, made it a famous port in the time of the Saxons, who probably settled here when the sea receded from the Roman port of Richborough. In 973 Edgar granted the harbour and town to the monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, and at the time of the Domesday Survey Sandwich supplied 40,000 herrings each year to the monks. As one of the Cinque Ports, Sandwich owed a service of five ships to the king, and shared the privileges granted to the Cinque Ports from the reign of Edward the Confessor onwards. At the end of the 13th century the monks granted the borough, with certain reservations, to Queen Eleanor; a further grant of their rights was made to Edward III. in 1364, the crown being thenceforward lord of the borough. A charter of Henry II. confirmed the customs and rights which Sandwich had previously enjoyed, and this charter was confirmed by John in 1205, by Edward II. in 1313 and by Edward III. in 1365. The town was a borough by prescription, and was governed in the 13th century by a mayor and jurats; a mayor was elected as early as 1226. The governing charter until 1835 was that granted by Charles II. in 1684. During the middle ages Sandwich was one of the chief ports for the continent, but as the sea gradually receded and the passage of the Wantsum became choked with sand the port began to decay, and by the time of Elizabeth the harbour was nearly useless. In her reign Walloons settled here and introduced the manufacture of woollen goods and the cultivation of vegetables; this saved the borough from sinking into unimportance. Three fairs to be held at Sandwich were granted to Queen Eleanor in 1290; Henry VII. granted two fairs on the 7th of February and the sth of June, each to last for thirty days, and in the governing charter two fairs, on the 1st of April and the 1st of October, were granted; these all seem to have died out before the end of the 18th century. A corn market on Wednesday and a cattle market on every alternate Monday are now held. Representatives from the Cinque Ports were first summoned to parliament in 1265; the first returns for Sandwich are for 1366, after which it returned two members until it was disfranchised in 1885. Sandwich is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 707 acres.
See W. Boys, Collections for History of Sandwich (1792); E. Hasted, History of Kent (1778-1799); Victoria County History (Kent).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)