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Let us talk about the Cinque Ports

The Cinque Ports are a confederation of towns along the Southeast coast of England, mostly in Sussex and Kent. As an official body, they pre-date the Norman Conquest and are mentioned in the Domesday Book (though not by name) and (by name) in the Magna Carta. It’s super old is what I’m saying.

Their original purpose was to provide ships to the king – between them they were to provide X number of ships for X days in service to the crown every year. They bill themselves the Cradle of the Royal Navy.

Everyone from the Corded Ware People to William the Conquerer to Napoleon to Hitler has tried to enter Britain from this area closest to the continent, so it makes sense to keep it on a warlike footing.

The original Cinque Ports (West to East) were Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. In the Twelfth Century, they wanted to add the towns of Winchelsea and Rye, but that would really mess up the name. So those two aren’t called Ports, they’re called Ancient Towns, sometimes spelled Antient. It’s that way on some of the signposts. Which is very cool.

Then the Ports and Ancient Towns wanted to include some of their neighboring towns, so those became Limbs or Members. At its biggest, there 40 towns in the whole organisation. Today there are 14 towns in the Confederation of Cinque Ports, and we don’t actually live in one.

By the way, it’s pronounced SINK, not SANK as the French would have it, because screw the French is why.

May 2, 2023 — 3:00 pm
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