The rites of man, with Thomas Paine

Before Malcolm finishes with Kent (see the two previous posts) he would take a Sandwich.

To be absolutely correct, it was a chilli con carne and a couple of pints of Doom Bar (the Abbot had run out as Malcolm arrived). And it was at the Crispin: an excellent joint, even on a chilly (no pun intended) day.

The town

Sandwich is where the Kentish Stour reaches the sea. Well, it did once upon a time, when this one one of the Cinque Ports — now there’s a couple of miles of marshes before the sea proper. It is, though, one of those places where the yachties sport their plastic navies.

Something that wikipedia seems not to know

Sandwich somehow ended up with three parish churches: St Clement’s, St Mary’s and St Peter’s. By 1948 this was an unaffordable excess, so the three parishes were amalgamated, and — in due course — two of the churches went out of regular use. The one that interests Malcolm here is St Peter’s.

When the plague hit Sandwich in the Elizabethan period, St Peter’s was designated as the strangers’ church. The “strangers” were Dutch Huguenots, and that they were segregated suggests that English xenophobia was then as now. Anyway, that explains (allegedly) the odd Lowlands cap atop the tower (which fell down in 1661, taking with it the original south aisle — and leaving the eccentric plan we have today).

paineWhat wikipedia fails to note is that St Peter’s was where, on 27 September 1759, the corset-maker Tom Paine married Mary Lambert. Paine’s corset-shop went bust the following year, and the Paines moved to Margate, where Mary promptly took sick and died. Paine forwent his corset-manufacturing and adopted the line-of-business of Mary’s family — collecting taxes and excise. That was, at first, a more successful venture: he ended up as exciseman in Lewes, in Sussex; and became the equivalent of a shop-steward for his fellow excisemen, writing pamphlets in their interest. A further business failure, a failed second marriage, and Paine was off to America and fame.

St Peter’s has a nice graphic of the history of the church, and includes the marriage (as right).

A family history

In the nave (that’s the southern of the two remaining colonnades) we find the organ — apparently St Peter’s was very forward in gutting such an appliance of science. Close by is one of those delightful memorial tablets which tells quite a tale. The text reads:

In a VAULT on the outside of this Wall are deposited the
remains of KATHERINE HARVEY, youngest Daughter
who on the eve of her intended Marriage was suddenly
attacked with the alarming symptoms of a rapid decline
which closed her prospects of earthly felicity, separated
her from all family and endearing connexions and
terminated her existence in this World by removing
her to a better on the 28th day of May, 1807, aged 23 years.

Likewise were removed into the same Vault the remains
of ANN ISABELLA the wife of Lieut Col: HARVEY
and Daughter of WILLIAM PINDER Esq of the Island of
Barbadoes, who also died of a decline on the 4th day of Feb
1807, in the 28th Year of her age, leaving issue one son.

Let the young and the cheerful learn from hence,
that sublunary happiness is vain and uncertain,
And that only beyond the Grave true toys are to be found.

ALSO to the Memory of the above Willm. Maundy Harvey Esq.
Lieut. Colonel of the 79th Regiment of Foot, Colonel in the
British Army, Brigadier General in the Portuguese Service
and a Knight Commander of the Portuguese Order of the
Tower and Sword. He died at Sea on his passage home from
Lisbon on the 10th of June, 1813, aged 38 years, and was
buried in the Atlantic Ocean in Lat 45.37, Long 9.42.



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Filed under Britain, History, leisure travel, pubs

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