History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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privileges, they were compelled to supply the King with 57 ships, each provided with 21 men and a boy, to attend the King's service for 15 days at their own expence ; but if any further service was required, then they were to be paid by the Crown."
None of these duties, however, have been exacted for centuries; but we believe the inhabitants are still liable, and as every inhabitant who contributes to the expense of the town, that is, every householder, would, in case it was required, be obliged to contribute towards the formation of this force, so ought they, reasoning by analogy, to be admitted to a share of the privileges; and it is extremely probable that formerly these rights, designated their freedom, were enjoyed by all those inhabitants who were assessed to the exigencies of the public. It is uncertain when these privileges were first granted; but it is known that they were confirmed by Magna Charta, and again by a General Charter of Edward I., which received confirmation from most of the Kings and Queens down to the time of Charles II.
The privileged Ports were at first only three, viz., Dover, Sandwich, and Romney. To these Hastings and Hythe were added by the Conqueror, and these com­pleted the number to five, which were ever after called the Cinque Ports. The ancient towns of Winchelsea and Rye were added before the time of John, and were called " Nobiliora membra Quinque Portuum ; " and from the time of their addition, they were treated and considered as original Ports. Each of these Cinque Ports had some adjacent places belonging to and incorporated with them; and thus Seaford became a member of Hastings, but returning its Members to Parliament separately. The local government of these several places is vested in a Mayor and Jurats, of whom there ought to be twelve besides the Mayor; although of late years it has not been the custom in any of the Ports, except Hastings, to have
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