Cinque Ports. A maritime confederation in Kent and Sussex, and the nearest England ever came to having an urban federation of the continental kind. Their privileges from the crown, in return for naval service, go back at least to the 12th cent., and they remained a formidable maritime power until Tudor times. The original ‘Five Ports’—Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich—were later joined by Rye and Winchelsea, and other lesser ports were included as ‘limbs’ or members. Most of their special jurisdiction was abolished in 1855, but the office of lord warden remains a distinguished honour in the gift of the sovereign.
David M. Palliser
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