The official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is at Walmer Castle, Kent. Walmer Castle stands at nearly the southeastern extremity of the parish; was built by Henry VIII as a block house; had the same form and design as the neighbouring and contemporaneous castles of Deal and Sandown but soon after its construction became the official residence of the Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports.
The castle has been greatly altered from its original form; commands, from the windows of its principal apartments, a splendid sea view; contains a small room in which William Pitt, as Lord Warden, held frequent conferences with Lord Nelson. Walmer Castle was also the autumn residence of the Duke of Wellington, while he acted as Lord Warden, from 1829 till his death in 1852; contains the room, now considerably altered, in which the Duke had died. During November, 1842 the castle was visited, for 23 days, by Queen Victoria.
As of 1848 Walmer Castle was occupied by Earl Granville. On 12 April, 2005 Lord Boyce GCB OBE DL was installed as the current Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle. Other past wardens included the Queen Mother and Winston Churchill. The post of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is little more than ceremonial today.
The Cinque Ports were originally comprised of the five ports of Hastings (Sussex), Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich but, in order to meet their respective duties to supply ships and men to the King for a short time every year, relied on agreements with surrounding towns and villages to supplement any shortages. These smaller communities became known as "members" or "limbs" of the Cinque Ports.
The current members of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, as "Head Ports", are Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, New Romney, Hythe, Rye, Winchelsea, these last two being in Sussex. The "Corporate Members" are comprised of Deal and Ramsgate; Faversham, Folkestone and Margate; Lydd, and Tenterden.
The Liberty of the town was defined by various markers, some of them inscribed stones. Within this area the town and its' citizens enjoyed various privileges under liberty's charters both as a corporate town as also a member of the Cinque Ports.
The Cinque Ports
With four of the original five Cinque Ports being located in Kent and the majority of the modern total of fourteen also located in Kent, it seems only fitting that a link to the official site is provided rather than attempt to produce an alternative.
Click HERE to enter the Cinque Ports web site
1 Cinque Ports map © 2007, of Clem Rutter licenced by Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic, which can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/deed.en
Note: Walmer castle photo © 1999, Colin Smith licenced by CC-BY-SA Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, which can be found at http://creativecommons.org.
Map of the ancient Cinque Ports. Note Thanet as an island and sea access of Tenterden.1
HMS Endeavour, in Ramsgate Harbour
Grand Turk, in Ramsgate Harbour
A ship circa 13th century sailing under the Cinque Ports flag.
Cinque Ports Barons procession 23 September, 1189 carrying the canopy over and in honour of the coronation of Richard I, "the Lionheart", as King.