Earl of Sandwich Shop in Boston Common, 2014
Earlier Houses: There was a house here in Domesday times.
House & Family History: There was a house here in Domesday times owned by the de Moion family, passing to the Comptons, who sold up in 1919. Mapperton is a house of the 1550s built of rich Ham stone. It was enlarged in the 1660s and the interiors were redone in the 18th century. In the 1920s the Hall, the Dining Room, and the Cross Passage were given reproduction Jacobean ceilings. In 1955 Mapperton was purchased by Lord Hinchingbrooke, father of the 11th Earl of Sandwich, whose seat the house is today. The 11th Earl's ancestor, John Montagu, the 4th Earl (who was seated at Hinchingbrooke House), was postmaster general in 1768, secretary of state in 1770, and first lord of the Admiralty (for the second time) from 1771 until 1782, during which time he presided over the British naval defeats during the American Revolution. The 1959 edition of the "Encyclopedia Britannica" says of Lord Sandwich: "For corruption and incapacity Sandwich's administration is unique in the history of the British navy." The earl attempted to reform and restructure the rates of pay and working methods for the ship-builders who worked for the Admiralty; this resulted, in 1775, in the most serious strike of the century in England. Troops had to be called in at Woolwich, and Sandwich's reforms were dropped. It has been argued that this strike may have been a serious blow on the effectiveness of the British response to the American Revolution. One of the naval ship-builders' perks that the 4th Earl attempted to eliminate was waste wood, known as "chips," that workers took from the dockyards for their personal use. (These "chips" were often times large pieces of wood that could be used in house-building). It was a common sight in the 18th century to see dockyard workers leaving for lunch, each carrying his ration of wood "chips" on his shoulder. Throughout the 18th century successive governments tried to eliminate this perk, as the admiralty felt it was an unnecessary expense. From this is the source of the expression "a chip on the shoulder," as representing resentment against authority. Though Lord Sandwich didn't succeed in eliminating the perk of "chips," Samuel Bentham (1757-1831) was able to eliminate them in 1801. Lord Sandwich was very unpopular and was parodied as "Jemmy Twitcher" in a line from "The Beggar's Opera." Sandwich was dubbed "Jemmy Twitcher" because of the fads that characterized his last years at the admiralty. One of Sandwich's finest achievements was the outfitting and dispatching of Captain Cook on his round-the-world research voyage in 1778. Cook acknowledged his support by naming the Sandwich Islands after him (they later became Hawaii). Lord Sandwich was an industrious worker, often laboring into the night at the admiralty; he was, however, an inveterate gambler and a member of the Monks of Medmenham, also known as the Hellfire Club. When the 4th Earl was gambling he would sit at the gaming table for hours without meals. According to legend, one day he sent his menservants to get him two slices of bread, meat, and cheese; thus made the sandwich. He did this so he wouldn't get his cards greasy. This story about the birth of the sandwich was refuted by N.A.M. Rodger in his 1994 book "The Insatiable Earl: A Life of John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, 1718-1792," a quote from which appears below. "There is no supporting evidence for this piece of gossip, and it does not seem very likely that it has any foundation, especially as it refers to 1765, when Sandwich was a cabinet minister and very busy. There is no doubt, however, that he was the real author of the sandwich, in its original form using salt beef, of which he was very fond. The alternative explanation is that he invented it to sustain himself at his desk, which seems plausible, since we have ample evidence of the long hours he worked from an early start, in an age when dinner was the only substantial meal of the day, and the fashionable hour to dine was four o'clock." (Rodger, pg. 79). In March 2004 the 11th Earl of Sandwich personally opened the flagship Earl of Sandwich restaurant at the Disney Marketplace in Lake Buena Visa, Florida, adjacent to Walt Disney World. The business, called Earl of Sandwich, features gourmet sandwiches and is a collaboration between the 11th Earl and Robert Earl, one of the founders of Planet Hollywood. The Disney restaurant has a décor that reproduces some of the elements of the earl's home at Mapperton. The business started in 2001 with the delivery of upscale sandwiches (made with fresh ingredients from small British producers) to businesses in London and then expanded, selling to supermarkets throughout Britain. The company was the brainchild of Orlando Montagu, the 11th Earl's second son, who worked for 10 years to bring the restaurant to life, taking five years to convince his father of the viability of the concept, then three more years to sell Robert Earl on the idea, and finally two years to strike the deal with Disney. Earl of Sandwich drew standing-room only crowds at its first location at Walt Disney World and the chain is expanding throughout the United States.
Comments: In 2006 "Country Life" magazine called Mapperton "the nation's finest manor house."
Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds contain an Orangery and a formal Italianate garden; the formal gardens were laid out in the 1920s by Ethel Labouchere.
Chapel & Church: The 16th century All Saints Church is on the grounds of the house; though now redundant, it is still maintained.
Country Life: X, 16, 1901. XXXIV, 490 plan, 1913. CXXXI, 18, 66 plan, 176, 1962.
Title: Small House in Eighteenth-Century London, The
Author: Guillery, Peter
Year Published: 2004
Reference: pgs. 200-201
Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
Book Type: Hardback
Title: England's Thousand Best Houses
Author: Jenkins, Simon
Year Published: 2003
Reference: pg. 210
Publisher: London: Allen Lane
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Encyclopedia Britannica
Author: Benton, William (Publisher)
Year Published: 1959
Reference: Vol. 19, pg. 940
Publisher: Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Book Type: Hardback
Title: Historic Houses (magazine)
Year Published: NA
Reference: Spring 1999, pg. 53
Publisher: London: Historic Houses Association
Book Type: Magazine
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Current Seat / Home of: John Edward Hollister Montagu, 11th Earl of Sandwich.
Past Seat / Home of: De Moion family. Compton family, until 1919. Ethel Labouchere, 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home