UPDATE ON THE CINQUE PORT BARONS ‘HONOURS AT COURT
Representatives of the 14 members towns of the Confederation of Cinque Ports are being invited to attend the Coronation on Saturday 6th May 2023.
The Confederation is chaired by its Speaker, one of the Mayors of the Cinque Ports; this honour passes between the five original head ports and two ‘antient towns’ by rotation every year.
The current speakership is held by the current Mayor of Hythe. The Mayor quoted:-“The Cinque Ports date back a 1000 years, and our history is enshrined in the history of this country. The Confederation is a unique association of maritime towns and villages in Kent and East Sussex. In the centuries before the Tudor Kings of England first developed a navy, the ‘men and ships’ of the Cinque Ports provided a fleet to meet the military and transport needs of their Royal masters. These small ports – many no longer operational, but still fiercely proud of their traditions, have been called the cradle of the Royal Navy.
From the Coronation of King Stephen, in 1141, until that of King George IV, in 1821, the Barons of the Cinque Ports were granted the right to carry a canopy over the Monarch during the procession, on foot, from Westminster Hall. Canopies have not been used since 1821 but, from 1902 onwards, the Barons have been invited to attend every Coronation. The title of Baron is purely honorary.
I am absolutely delighted that the tradition of the Cinque Ports Barons attending a coronation will continue, and that 14 ‘Barons’ – actually representatives of the 14 members of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, in most cases the mayors – are being invited to the Coronation of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6th May.
I am also very proud to be representing the Cinque Ports, with the 13 other Barons, and am thrilled that we can continue to carry on this ancient tradition.”
Below is a list of the 14 Barons being invited to the Coronation of King Charles and Queen Consort on 06 May 2023.
History of the Cinque Ports
Today, the quiet charm of many of the Cinque Port towns belies their important and sometimes violent role in the development of the nation’s seafaring and naval traditions.
Some survive as working ports. Indeed, Dover is a major international transport hub, handling some 5 million vehicles and 13 million passengers per year. Others, like Hastings, maintain their historic role as centres of inshore fishing. New Romney, Winchelsea and Tenterden, in particular, have been stranded well inland by the retreating sea.
It is sometimes hard to believe that all were once amongst the most significant ports in England.
Their pre-eminence began almost 1000 years ago, around the middle of the 11th century, when they were first granted important legal and fiscal privileges, as well as valuable commercial benefits and social status, in return for providing ships and men to meet the naval and transport requirements of the English Crown
The heyday of the Ports
Their fortunes and prowess peaked under the Plantagenet Kings of the 12th and 13th centuries but waned over the next 300 years, as changing patterns of warfare at sea and natural changes to the coastline of south-east England shifted the focus of naval power to more specialised, deep-water ports in other parts of the country.
The Cinque Ports today
By the 21st century, most of the Cinque Port towns have diversified well beyond their seafaring origins, but all repay the visitor with fascinating glimpses of their colourful past and its continuing influence upon the local, regional and national identity.
(Boorman, K. 2023)