History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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on receipt of forty days' notice, should supply twenty-one ships for the King's service, each manned by twenty-one able, fitly-qualified, and well-armed men. On the arrival of the ships at their destination, they had to remain there fifteen days at their own cost; but if the King had further need for them, they were provided for at the following rate : the Master of each ship, 6d per day; the Constable, 6d per day; and the men 3d per day.
It will not be unacceptable to readers here to quote an old record of the origin of the Cinque Ports :—
" The proximity of the Southern coasts of England to that of France caused our Sovereigns in early ages to consider the havens along this line of coast of very superior importance ; and by way of eminence they styled them ' Quinque Portuus,' since changed into their present designation ' Cinque Ports; ' and William the Conqueror placed them under the command of an officer called the Warden of the Cinque Ports, who also acted as Admiral among them. Although this officer was formerly of much use to the nation, and had full employment, yet for many years the office has become a complete sinecure. The late Duke of Wellington held the office, for which he received £4,000 per annum.
" The inhabitants of these ports were endowed with many privileges; the most important of which comprised the following:—A power to oblige all who live in their jurisdiction to plead to their Courts, and to punish offenders in their own bounds; as also mur­derers and fugitives from justice;—To be a guild or fraternity, and to be allowed the franchises of Court Leet and Court Baron;—A power to assemble and keep a portmote or Parliament for the Cinque Ports ; to punish all infringers of their privileges; make bye-laws, and hear all appeals from the inferior Courts; — their Barons to have the privilege of supporting the canopy over the King's head at the Coronation. In return for these
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