Emilio • Link
Here’s a description of the Cinque Ports that I posted for 21 Mar., 1659/60, taken from
“In Medieval times, the responsibility for the defense of the South East Coast and the Channel, fell to a Confederation of the five main ports at that time. These were, Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, Romney and Hastings, plus two other towns, Rye and Winchelsea. Their correct title is, The Cinque (pronounced ‘sink’) Ports and Two Ancient Towns. They supplied the Crown with ships and men, and in return were granted privileges.
Over the years there have been a varying number of member towns associated with them, called corporate and non corporate members, the present main associates can be seen on the map.
The Great Storm of 1287 was the beginning of the end for many of the ports, it silted up harbours, blocked rivers, and submerged towns. Despite this, the Cinque Ports still retained their status and privileges, probably in recognition of their service to the Crown Fleet, but not necessarily their loyal support of the Crown! The people of the Ports were notoriously independent and tended to go their own way.
Today, these towns are still known as the Cinque Ports, but the coastline has changed considerably over the centuries (see maps in the other sections) and only Dover remains as a major port.
There was always an overall Warden of the Cinque Ports, and this tradition is still carried on today. Former Wardens include, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and lately, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who will be greatly missed. The present Lord Warden has yet to be appointed.”
Emilio • Link
[A bit more info from Susanna for the same day:]
The Cinque Ports (although there were and are more than five of them) have had a special legal status since the time of Edward the Confessor. Certain cities along the English Channel were allowed to keep the legal fees from their court cases, in exchange for providing ships and men for the crown in time of war. Dover is probably the most important of these “ancient towns.”
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.