Above is a portrait of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. He seems to have been in good mood when he sat for the painting, perhaps this is because he knew his name would forever after be associated with one the greatest creations in the history of food.
According to the BBC the Earl asked for the particular serving so that he could eat while continuing to play cards and his friends asked "to have the same as Sandwich". The first written record of the sandwich was in 1762 and the Kent town of Sandwich, which is the earldom of the Montagu family, is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the meal.
It is fortunate that Sir Edward Montagu, a prominent naval commander, who became the first Earl of Sandwich when he was offered a peerage in 1660.
Sandwich not Portsmouth. Apparently Sir Edward Montagu chose the title because "at the time Sandwich was the premier sea port in England" (Not sure if that would be the case but let's not ruin a good story). When he was offered the earldom he could have chosen Portsmouth but he chose Sandwich - today we could be eating a Portsmouth.
The current Lord Montagu added seems to follow his ancestor's preference: "My favourite sandwich is a traditional one: roast beef and hot horseradish on freshly baked bread," he said.
So there you have it once more. The chances are that people had been eating sandwiches for a long time before Montagu, but his name got assocaited with and the rest is a rather lucrative history. According to the British Sandwich Association the industry employs more than 300,000 people in the UK and has a commercial value of over £6bn.
One thing we should be thankful for is that he was no John Montague, Earl of Twatt now who on earth would want to eat a Twatt?????