St Peter's Church, Sandwich, Kent

Address: Market Street, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9DA
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Open daily but occasionally closed at short notice for events; please telephone 01304 621554 in advance of your visit
Keyholder information, accessibility and facilities

A landmark church that still rings a curfew

St Peter's is the guardian of an ancient Sandwich tradition. Every day at 8pm, the curfew bell rings out, signalling that the townspeople should cover their fires to make them safe for the night. This was once known as the 'pigbell’, as it also informed people they could release their animals into the street.

This old Cinque Port church (Cinque Ports were the five harbour towns on the south coast which in Medieval times provided the king with ships and men in exchange for trading and other privileges) is a local landmark.

Much of today's building dates from 800 years ago, though it has been altered many times. The handsome tower with its distinctive onion dome top is a 17th-century addition - built by Flemish protestant refugees, in the style of their homeland churches.

There was once a Norman church on the site and traces of masonry from this building can still be seen at the west end. The present church dates from the late 13th-/early 14th-centuries, when Sandwich was at the height of its prosperity.

The atmospheric crypt - open by arrangement - was once a charnel house where bones from the graveyard were stored to make room for new graves.

Inside, the church is spacious and airy with few furnishings allowing you to easily appreciate the impressive size and proportions of the lofty interior. The Medieval roofs, handsome decorated windows, and the magnificently carved tomb recesses and effigies to local benefactors reflect the wealth and importance of the town and its people.

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How to find us

To locate this church on a map, click on the 'View on map' link that appears below the address information at the top of the page.

Road directions

In Sandwich town centre follow Historic Church signs on New Street, along No Name Street and Market Street.

Public transport information

Nearest railway station: Sandwich (0.3 mile). Bus route number 13, 13a, 14, 14a.

OS Reference No.

TR 331 580

What’s on & news

News

11/11/14 School children from Sandwich Infant School have made their very own versions of the poppies at the Tower of London,…

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English Heritage property

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

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News about this church

You can find out more about each of the news items summarised below by clicking on the news title.

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Image gallery

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Flash video

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Useful information

Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church and the CCT before you visit?

You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this church.









PDF iconKent County Guide (PDF, 4.7mb)


This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches CCT cares for in Kent. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.

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St Clement's Church, Knowlton, Kent Cherubs bathe in coloured light Knowlton Court, Knowlton, Canterbury, Kent, CT3 1PT
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All Saints' Church,  West Stourmouth, Kent

All Saints' Church, West Stourmouth, Kent A Saxon survivor in the Garden of England Church Lane, West Stourmouth, Canterbury, Kent, CT3 1HT
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Nearby attractions

Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre

Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre Evocatively sited amid the East Kent marshes, Richborough is perhaps the most symbolically important of all Roman sites in Britain, witnessing both the beginning and almost the end of Roman rule here. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/richborough-roman-fort-and-amphitheatre

St Augustine's Abbey

St Augustine's Abbey This great abbey, marking the rebirth of Christianity in southern England, was founded shortly after AD 597 by St Augustine. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/st-augustines-abbey

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Have you visited this church?

Why not share your experience with us?

Comments

  1. Ann Harrison-Brooks (13 Jul 2011, 21:15)

    The mellow stone, peace and serenity of this building, in the heart of the town, are rich reward for the casual visitor. A secluded garden in the former south aisle, maintained by a volunteer, offers a quiet place in which to sit. Further volunteer help enhances the surrounding churchyard with varied planting. This is a popular green space within the town. Another volunteer runs a secondhand bookstall in the church, which generates much-needed funds. A Friends group organises events in the church and helps fundraise - details are on the website at wwww.stpeterschurch-sandwich.or.uk. Don't miss this very special church if you are in the area.

  2. LK (27 Mar 2012, 20:33)

    As a frequent visitor to Sandwich I was happy to come across this website.
    I especially love to sit in the beautifully peaceful garden alongside the church.

  3. Brian (15 Jan 2013, 18:50)

    I love this church, however there is a lack of seating and the existing 2 benches were covered in dust and grit?
    But thanks anyway for the peaceful sense of ancient stones.

  4. Ann Harrison-Brooks (30 Aug 2013, 22:40)

    You should see the church now after its refurbishment. A new timeline screen beautifully illustrates the church's history, colourful banners hang overhead, and two new Browsing books tell the stories behind them and amplify information on the screen. A new Walkround Guide picks out items of particular note. A bookstall run by the Friends of St Peter's helps raise funds and tables and chairs are now provided nearby to enable you to rest and browse the books. Resident organist, George Sharman, gives regular recitals free of charge - currently at 2pm on Fridays. Look out for other events held in this beautiful church.

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Community information for St Peter's Church, Sandwich

 

All our Kent churches are in CCT’s South East region.

About the friends of St Peter's Church, Sandwich

Visit the Friends website

Contact telephone: 01304 614390

Useful local links

Visit Kent tourism website

Let’s Visit Kent website - We are very grateful to Let’s Visit for providing our 360 tours of Kent churches. Please visit their website!

Best Places to Visit in Kent website

Kent History website

Kent Family History Society

Kent County Council website history section

Kent Archaeology Society

Kent Historic Churches website

Friends of Kent Churches

List of Kent churches

Kent is in the Diocese of Canterbury

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

St Peter's Church, Sandwich, Kent

Keyholder

If the access information for this church is listed as 'Keyholder nearby', this means that the key is kept by one of our invaluable volunteer 'keyholders', who usually live just a short walk from the church and can give visitors the key; sometimes this is a nearby hotel, pub, library, art gallery or other venue. You will find instructions explaining how to get the key when you arrive at the church.

Disabled access

Wheelchair access is possible into the church, although there are steps up to different areas within.

Facilities

Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating or running water meaning that they can be cold, and very rarely have toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor. We do apologise for any inconvenience the lack of facilities may cause.