open Sandwich

History of Sandwich Kent: Traditions

The Ancient Traditions of Sandwich

St. Bart's Chapel

St. Bart's Chapel

Ship Money

Collecting Ship Money in the Guildhall Courtroom

Moot Horn

Moot Horn

Sandwich is now a quiet attractive town with a market every Thursday, four schools, a small cinema, a library and many public houses. The ancient buildings still remain along with some of the ancient traditions.

St. Bartholomew's Day

On St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24th, children run around the church of St. Bart's. After completing the circuit they are given a bun and the adults are given a biscuit especially baked for the occasion. The biscuit bears the date 1190 but it is more probable that the founding of St. Bartholomew's Hospital was in 1217 to commemorate the defeat of the French in that year.

The Curfew Bell

The Curfew Bell is still rung from St. Peter's Church every night at 8 pm. This used to be called the Pigbell as it signaled the time that the animals could be put on to the street and that people should put out their fires. There used to be a bell called the Goosebell rung at 5 am but this was discontinued at some time in this century because people no longer wished to wake up so early!.

Ship Money

Tradition of collecting 'Ship Money' from associate Cinque Port Mayor Deputies of Fordwich, Sarre and Brightlingsea, which still takes place today. See the Cinque Port pages for more information.


In the past, the Hornblow (the moot horn can still be seen in the Guildhall) sounded to call every citizen to the Guildhall or at an earlier time to St. Clement's Church, for a Town Meeting. There were fines for those who did not attend. Today there is no Hornblow but there are still Town Meetings and although now voluntary, they are still well attended.

Mayor's Black Robes

Instead of the colourful robes that mayors usually wear on official occasions, the Mayor of Sandwich has worn black robes, ever since the French raid in 1457. Click Here for more information.