Sandwich, St Clement's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Beautiful Norman tower
By far the most attractive feature of the exterior is the wonderful Norman tower, which must rank among the finest in southern England. This features three tiers of blind arcading rising to a castellated roofline. The rounded arches are supported on pillars ornamented with marvellous carved scrollwork depicting foliage and strange beasts. If you look at the north west angle of the tower you can see a round-arched door that leads to a spiral stair. The tympanum over the doorway is attractively carved in typical late Saxon or early Norman style. The tower was originally topped by a spire, but this was removed in the 1670s shortly after the towers of both other Sandwich parish churches had collapsed.
In the chancel are attractively carved medieval benches, one of which features a misericord. These benches were installed for the Confraternity of St Clement, a kind of medieval religious guild. Note the unusually large rectangular window between the nave and north chapel, acting as a squint, or hagioscope. There are several notable brasses including one of a medieval Bishop of Ross, who served as vicar of St Clements in 1444. St Margaret's Chapel still features its complete original medieval tiled floor (restored in the Victorian period), while in St George's Chapel you can find a medieval statue of St John that came from Lincoln Cathedral.
Mayors of Sandwich
Until 1683 it was custom in Sandwich that the Mayor was elected in St Clements Church. So important was the position considered that the townsfolk had the right to burn down the house of anyone who refused the honour. Not surprisingly, no one declined the position. St Clements also served as a mustering point in times oftrouble. If the moot horn was sounded, all able men over the age of 14 had to immediately gather at St Clements and report to the Mayor.
Other Sandwich Churches
Sandwich traditionally had 3 parished, served by the churches of St Clements, St Peter and St Mary. In 1948 the parishes were merged into one, served by St Clements. The other two churches in Sandwich were declared redundant and are now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. As I can attest from personal experience, both are well worth visiting, and are less than a 10 minute stroll from St Clements.
About Sandwich, St Clement
Address: Church Street, Sandwich, Kent, England, CT13 9EH
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the end of church Street, just a few minutes walk from the Market Square and from a paid parking lot at the quayside.
Website: Sandwich, St Clement
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Sandwich, St Peter's Church - 0 miles (Historic Church)
The Secret Gardens of Sandwich - 0.1 miles (Garden)
Sandwich, St Mary's Church - 0.2 miles (Historic Church)
Richborough Roman Fort - 1.4 miles (Roman Site)
St Augustine's Cross - 3.8 miles (Historic Building)
Minster-in-Thanet, St Mary the Virgin Church - 4.1 miles (Historic Church)
Minster Abbey - 4.1 miles (Abbey)
Knowlton, St Clement's Church - 4.3 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Sandwich, St Clement:
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Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01304 613 565