Sandwich - Boats on the River Stour
Dover White Cliffs
Hythe - Royal Military Canal
New Romney now approx 1 mile from the sea
Hastings - Fishing Boats
The town of Sandwich is now 2 miles from the sea. When it was at the height of it's power, between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, Sandwich Haven was a major port in England. It was the landing place for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury and travellers to London.
According to the Cinque Port Charter of 1668, Fordwich was then a corporate member town, associated with Sandwich, and Deal a non corporate member. Deal grew to be a much busier port and took over Fordwich's position and is now the main associate.
Sandwich only began to decline as a port in the sixteenth century, as the sea began to recede even more.
In the past, Dover received a great deal of Royal support, probably more than the other Cinque Ports. For example, in Henry VIII 's time, an embankment was built as a barrier to the sea and wind. When these defences were later damaged by the sea, Elizabeth I built a new harbour.
Dover still stands as a major port,mainly using the Eastern Docks, although the Channel Tunnel is now a major competitor as regards freight and passengers on their way to and from France.
In the past, Hythe had important status as a Head Cinque Port. The Shepway Cross beside the Hythe to Lympne Road, was the traditional meeting place of the Shepway Court. This was made up of the Barons of the Cinque Ports and the Lord Warden.
West Hythe was an important harbour, but like so many of the Cinque Port towns, the sea receded and the harbour silted up. Today, Hythe's beach is about half a mile from the town.
Today, New and Old Romney are small inland towns on the edge of Romney Marsh.
New Romney is not really 'new', it acquired its name in the thirteenth century, when the wharf at Old Romney deteriorated.
New Romney used to stand in the Bay of Romney. In 1287 there was a great storm which caused mud to block the River Rother. The river changed course and flowed, instead, to Rye. As a result, Rye prospered, but New Romney never really recovered. It retained its importance as a Head Port, however, because it is situated between the Kent and Sussex ports, so was regarded as a suitable place for meetings.
At the time of the Norman Conquest, in 1066, Hastings was a flourishing port, and continued to be so for the next two hundred years.
In the twelfth century, Hastings was supplying twenty ships to the Crown Fleet, but when Edward I's Charter of 1278, was drawn up , the harbour was already beginning to silt up. The Great Storm of 1287 added to its difficulties, and the next few centuries were spent in continual struggle with the receding sea.
Today, it is still a coastal town, full of history and on the cliffs can be seen the remains of the Norman castle, built after the Conquest
Sandwich Haven on the River Stour
Flag of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Note that this image shows the particular flag of Admiral Lord Boyce - the badge in the flag's hoist changes with the appointment of a new Lord Warden.
Admiral Lord Boyce was preceded in post by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who used the same flag but with her Royal Cypher as the badge in the hoist.
(Image & text from Wiki Media)
Information from the Sandwich History Society publications & archives - Hythe, New Romney & Hastings photos on this page from www.geograph.org.uk - copyright Andy Hatton, Charlotte Homewood & Nigel Chadwick respectively under the Creative Commons License
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