The Cinque Port Obligations & Ship Money
Sandwich Ship Money being collected in the Guildhall Courtroom
Town Hall Fordwich
The Little Stour near the village of Sarre
The Domesday Book records the obligation of the Cinque Ports to supply ships and men to the King once a year. This ship service continued for over three hundred years until larger ships were needed by the Navy.
There were other towns associated with the Cinque Ports who helped supply the ports with ships and crews, these were known as "Limbs". There used to be about 30 Limbs in Kent and one, Brightlingsea, in Essex, each limb was associated with a Head Port and came under it's jurisdiction.
Each Year a ceremony is held for receiving the allegiance of the three places still remaining as the Sandwich Limbs, Brightlingsea, Fordwich and Sarre. The elected Mayor Deputies also receive their chain of office.
As a token of their allegiance, each Mayor Deputy pays "Ship Money" to the Mayor of Sandwich. The Mayor Deputy of Brightlingsea pays 10 shillings (50p), the Mayor Deputy of Fordwich pays 3 shillings and 4 pence (17p) and the Mayor Deputy of Sarre always pleads poverty because they are only a very small village. Today, of course these are just token payments, but the ceremony is always very well attended and entertaining.
See the 'Ancient Traditions' page for more traditions still going on today in Sandwich.