Kent Archaeological Review extract

The Sandown Gate at Sandwich.

In January, 1978 Kent County Council workmen carried out extensive bridge repair-work on the east side of Sandwich. During the course of this work they exposed the front of the famous Sandown Gate the site of which has been known for many years. The Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, carrying out an official watching-brief, was able to make a photographic and drawn record. The curved fronts of the two brick gate-towers were revealed and these flanked a single carriageway which had been blocked, probably in the 18th century. Part of the original arch of the gatehouse survived intact on the north side.

Although prints survive showing the Sandown Gate intact a number of complex dating problems still remain and only further work is likely to resolve these and this is planned for later in 1978. It is clearly unwise to make hasty guesses on the slender evidence recently revealed.

Apart from the rapid recording the most important aspect of the work was that the Unit itself was able to protect the freshly exposed masonry with sheets of plastic only seconds before 20 tons of concrete was poured over it. But for this action it would effectively have been destroyed. Quite clearly it would have been irresponsible just to record the evidence and to do nothing to prevent the gate-house being severely damaged in this way.

The Unit acknowledges the help of the Kent County Council engineers, their foreman Mr Knibbs and the East Kent Mercury. It also gratefully acknowledges the concern and keen support of Mrs Jane du Boulay, Mayor of Sandwich.

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