Thomas Paine 1737 - 1809
Thomas Paine moved to Sandwich in 1759, where he lived in a small house in New Street, a blue plaque marks the house where he lived.
Born in Thetford, Suffolk (present day Norfolk), England, Thomas Paine moved to Sandwich in 1759. He lived in a small house in New Street, where he practiced his trade as a master stay-maker. He married a local girl, Mary Lambert. She was an 'Orphan of Sandwich' meaning she had no money or relatives to provide for her, and had to depend on the local government for assistance. She died after a few months of marriage.
Mary's father had been an excise man, Paine moved to Grantham in Lincolnshire to take up this profession. Eventually he was dismissed from this post and moved to London where he became a teacher. In 1768 he became an excise officer again and settled in Lewes, Sussex. Here he wrote a pamphlet calling for an increase in wages and lost his job as a result. His activities caught the attention of Benjamin Franklin.
Paine went on to produce a series of books and pamphlets, the most famous being, The Rights of Man, and, in one of his pamphlets, he was the first to coin the phrase, 'The United States of America'.
He travelled between England, France, and America and played a prominent role in both the French and American revolutions, but was eventually outlawed by the British government for his views on religion and the monarchy. He spent some time in jail in France for opposing the execution of the King. Finally, he settled on his farm in New Rochelle, New York State, America, where he died an American Citizen, in 1809.
He is still remembered in Sandwich and a blue plaque marks the house where he lived.