CINQUE PORTS

CINQUE PORTS

Cinque Ports (singk ports). [Fr. ¡°five ports¡±] The five English ports ¡ª Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich ¡ª that were important defenses against French invasion. ? They received special privileges and were obliged to furnish a certain number of ships for use in war. See COURT OF SHEPWAY.

¡°Cinque ports … are those special havens that lie towards France, and therefore have been thought by out kings to be such as ought most vigilantly to be proserved [sic] against invasion. In which respect they have a special Governor or Keeper, called by his office, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.¡± Thomas Blount, Nomo-Lexicon: A Law-Dictionary [n.p.] (1670).

¡°[M]ost of the seaport towns, or at least the more important ones, had local, as distinguished from national or centrally controlled, courts with jurisdiction over the administration of the local sea law. Among these ports was one group which was particularly notable, called the Cinque Ports, or Five Ports ¡ª ¡®cinque¡¯ being the French word for five. These five ports were of particular importance as naval bases because of their nearness to the continent. In exchange for special naval assistance to the king in time of war, they were not only permitted to acquire but also to keep a position of special importance in the field of maritime law, and with it a considerable measure of local, independent jurisdiction, which served as a reminder in later centuries of the original local character of English admiralty jurisdiction.¡± Charles Herman Kinnane, A First Book on Anglo-American Law 362 (2d ed. 1952).


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