The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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338                    THE SUSSEX COAST
well-known old Saxon Doom that " if a merchant thrived so that he fared thrice over the sea by his own means, then was he of thane-right worthy." There is no novelty in sending successful men of business into the House of Lords. The Cinque Ports were Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Romney, and Hythe; two additional ones whose status seems to have differed chiefly in name were Win-chelsea and Rye : they were styled the two ancient towns. A considerable number of other ports belonged to the organisation as members of the confederate towns, and these, so far as Sussex was concerned, were Seaford and Pevensey, cor­porate members of Hastings and Bulverhythe, Hydney, Higham, Northeye and the Grange, non­corporate members of the same.
In truth, the institutions of the Confederacy seem to have originated from business at Yar­mouth, whither vessels from all the ports resorted for purposes of fishing and selling fish; but this was a tame and uninspiring beginning, so a connection was claimed with the venerable or­ganisation associated with the Roman Count of the Saxon Shore. Nor can this possibly be said to have been merely an idle conceit, for as Shake­speare says, " there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so," and for centuries men really believed that such historic continuity was a fact. Even in setting forth their claim to per­form certain duties at the Coronation of Edward VII., the Ports drew special attention to the fact " that the area subject to the jurisdiction of the ^said Ports and Towns ... is commensurate with that formerly commanded by the Count of the Saxon Shore." J. H. Round believes the organisa­tion of the Ports to have been due to Continental
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