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Return To Sandwich

September 26, 2016
by the gentle author

A year ago, I enjoyed a day trip to the ancient town of Sandwich and wrote a eulogy in these pages, outlining the wonders of the borough. Before long, an invitation to return was forthcoming from the citizens of Sandwich and, consequently, I had the pleasure of giving a lecture there in the Elizabethan courthouse last Friday as part of Sandwich Arts Week.

Again, I was blessed with a golden autumn day for my visit which, I was reliably informed, was on account of the Sandwich micro-climate. After spending a quiet night at the Fleur De Lis Hotel in Delft St, I woke early on Saturday morning and followed the narrow path down to the sea which has retreated a mile since the days when Sandwich was Britain’s second largest port, after London.

Sandwich Courthouse where I gave my lecture may be seen at the centre of this photograph taken from the tower of St Peter’s church

Manganese Delft fireplace in the courthouse

The courtroom where I gave my lecture

The house on the left is the birthplace of Thomas Paine, author of the ‘Rights of Man’

Holy Ghost House, dated to 1636 and Holy Ghost Alley

Looking back down Holy Ghost Alley

Medieval bastions of the Water Gate

Malt Shovel House

Thanks to the generosity of the owner, I was able to visit the rambling Harfleet House which has graffiti dated 1411 and a window from a medieval galleon built into the structure

At St Mary’s Church

Effigy at St Peter’s Church

The path to the sea

The last blackberries

Golfers on the dunes

Sea Holly

Digging for whelks at Sandwich

You may like to read my original story

At Sandwich

19 Responses leave one →
  1. September 26, 2016

    Tremendously good photographs: their allure entices me to visit this handsome town.

  2. John holt permalink
    September 26, 2016

    Hi, Read your last year’s Life on Sandwich and have been meaning to go, but havn’t. Know I must. Thank you for these daily bursts of enlightenment on which ever subject they happen to be each day. Small point. Tom Paine was born in Thetford?. Again many thanks. J.

  3. September 26, 2016

    Nice town worth a visit for Brits and overseas guests lots of history well laid out here by GA, with hints of the sea shown. Parts of the town would not be out of place in the 17thC Sam Pepys could have been strutting his stuff. Regarding the last of the blackberries pic, these berries become more bitter as the days roll on; because it is reputed the devil pee’s on them, which makes them a bitter no-go fruit. PS the birds will eat them into October they are more seedy by then. John B

  4. Barbara Elsmore permalink
    September 26, 2016

    I so enjoyed this return to Sandwich – what treasures there must be there to see. Thank you.

  5. September 26, 2016

    What a lovely trip!
    Thanks for sharing

  6. Helen Breen permalink
    September 26, 2016

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a lovely piece. Love the interior of the courthouse. Glad you had good weather for such an excursion…

  7. September 26, 2016

    I didn’t think anything would ever want to make me want to leave my beautiful rural spot in the Hudson River Valley…….(two hours by train from Grand Central Terminal)…..but this place
    totally beckons me. Pre-dawn here, and I am ready to rush to the airport. This post is the
    next-best-thing to a visit to Sandwich, and I have totally enjoyed the trip.

  8. September 26, 2016

    Apart from enjoying reading about the fascinating town of Sandwich and appreciating the thought that went into this piece…I was reminded of a joke from my childhood: “Why is it impossible to starve in Sandwich? Because of all the sand which is there.” Sorry!

  9. Leana Pooley permalink
    September 26, 2016

    What an extraordinary timewarp Sandwich is. Where are the satellite dishes to improve the inhabitants’ telly reception? Why are there still wooden sash windows when they could be keeping warm behind white plastic double glazing? And where are the glass office blocks and the odd bit of ghastly facadeism? The sign on the veg shop windows says it all – “Culture is Everything”. Perhaps the veg shop owners could open branches through the UK and spread this message.

  10. pauline taylor permalink
    September 26, 2016

    Is there anything ugly or modern in Sandwich at all, it looks absolutely perfect to me. I don’t know whether to thank you or to be grumpy because you have made me so envious of the people fortunate enough to live there.

  11. Nicholas Keeble permalink
    September 26, 2016

    Great post: thanks.

  12. Genevieve Letellier permalink
    September 26, 2016

    I’m rather puzzled to read that digging the sand which we see in the last picture could ever yield whelks. Cockles or clams…but whelks, really?

  13. John Campbell permalink
    September 26, 2016

    ‘Digging for whelks’ is a great photo!

  14. Laurence Uttley permalink
    September 26, 2016

    Thank you GA for such an interesting and entertaining talk in the court room on your last trip down to Sandwich. Some fascinating information about the people and places in Spitalfields and some great photos of Sandwich.

  15. Carol green permalink
    September 26, 2016

    The Gentle Author enriches my day
    Return to Sandwich is beautiful

  16. September 26, 2016

    I’ve never heard of this lovely village and now I feel I must put it on my list of places to visit when I once again get a chance to visit England. :)

  17. vanda permalink
    September 27, 2016

    Beautiful photographs of a beautiful area, how I would love to walk down the path to the sea, once there to sit and reflect on the past. The whole area is so clean and inviting, I would love to visit the Funky Granny shop and not to the mention the sweet shop – I would have an absolute party there. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit the UK again and Sandwich will definitely be on my list of places to visit. Thank you for the lovely article and photographs.

  18. September 27, 2016

    This article on SANDWICH brings back memories of my grandfather’s walks in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, MI USA (twin cities) along the river development and the Great Lakes Lake Michigan shores-Silver Beach-1946 to 1952. The sound of the old buildings-businesses, lake ships, bridges going up for the large ships, sounds of life, the Lighthouse and its reminder of bad storms on the Lake. All gone, but memory. Thanks, brings a tear to my old eyes. Mrs. Arthur Keith III

  19. September 27, 2016

    A great place. I love The Secret Garden with its incredible selection of tulips.

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