Cinque Ports rise and fall

Ships and harbours are part of the Cinque Ports heritage - but do we always get the facts right ? Your comments may say otherwise

A talk at the end of the May will focus on the rise of the Cinque Ports to national prominence during the Barons’ Wars of the 13th century. Their role was particularly key during the second war of 1264-67. Although courted and favoured by Henry III, the Ports sided with Simon de Montfort, in part because he allowed them unrestrained licence to indulge in their favourite pastime of piracy. After the defeat of the elder de Montfort, the Ports provided the men and ships for a pirate fleet commanded by the younger de Montfort.

Retribution eventually came knocking. Old Winchelsea held out to the last, but was eventually taken in a combined land and sea assault led by the future Edward I. He hanged a number of its leading citizens, but was otherwise quite lenient.

The maritime aspect of this less-than-glorious episode in the history of the Cinque Ports will be relived on Saturday, May 30, in a talk in land-locked (New) Winchelsea. Dr Adrian Jobson, one of the foremost authorities on this period of medieval history, will focus on “Winchelsea and the Cinque Ports in the Barons War at sea”. Expect blood, treachery and drama! The talk will take place in the Church in Winchelsea at 3pm. It is being hosted by the Winchelsea Archaeological Society. All are welcome. Entry to non-members is £4.