Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
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The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is a ceremonial official in the United Kingdom. The post dates from at least the 12th century but may be older. The Lord Warden of the Cinque ("Five", in Norman French) Ports was originally in charge of the Cinque Ports, a group of five port towns on the southeast coast of England. Today the role is a sinecure and an honorary title, and today 14 towns belong to the Cinque Ports confederation. The title is one of the higher honours bestowed by the Sovereign. It has often been held by members of the Royal Family or Prime Ministers, especially those who have been influential in defending Britain at times of war.
The Lord Warden was solely responsible for the return of all writs to the Crown, along with the collection of taxes and the arrest of criminals. His court was held in St James's church, near Dover Castle, and there he exercised jurisdiction broadly equivalent to that of Chancery. He also had a "lieutenant's powers of muster", and the Constableship of Dover Castle, later added to the Warden's office, enabled him to keep a garrison and administrative staff, including the Clerk and the Lieutenant of the Castle.
The coat of arms of the Cinque Ports first appeared in 1305, second amongst the earliest English known heraldic emblems, predating even the coat of arms of the City of London. The coat of arms of the Cinque Ports displays three ships' hulls and three lions passant guardant conjoined to these hulls, all in gold. These may originally have been Gules three lions passant gardant in pale Or (for England) dimidiating Gules three ships' hulks in pale Or. The coat of arms of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports is set out on a red and blue background and traditionally represents the 14 'Corporate' Members.
- 1 Creation and appointment of the Lord Warden
- 2 Barons of the Cinque Ports
- 3 List of Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports
- 4 References
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
Creation and appointment of the Lord Warden
The creation and appointment of the Lord Warden, once the most powerful appointment of the realm, by the Sovereign was instituted principally after the portsmen sided with the Earl of Leicester against King Henry III, in the Second Barons' War, and was intended to provide some central authority over the Cinque Ports, which were essentially otherwise independent of the King's sheriffs. It was combined with the office of Constable of Dover Castle. However from 1708 Walmer Castle at Deal was to be preferred as the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Lord Warden also holds the office of Admiral of the Cinque Ports with a maritime jurisdiction extending to the middle of the English Channel, from Redcliffe near Seaford, in Sussex to the shore underneath the Naze Tower, encompassing Brightlingsea in Essex  the only Cinque Port north of the Thames. In earlier centuries the northern limit was taken as the Shoe Beacon in Essex.
The courts of Brodhull and Guestling were established to protect the privileges of the Cinque Ports by the portsmen themselves. From the 15th century these courts had been largely replaced by the Lord Warden's Court at Dover. From the 16th century the principal business of the courts was the installation of the Lord Warden and the court is now only occasionally summoned. The office continued to be a powerful one. In 1550 the Mayor and Jurats of Dover refused to accept a Royal Writ because it was not accompanied by a letter of attendance from the Lord Warden. The member ports' parliamentary representatives were appointed by the Lord Warden at first; this influence continued until the 19th century.
At the installation of a new Lord Warden, the Speaker of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports instructs the Lord Warden: "to undertake the duties of the Ancient and Honourable Office and to uphold the Franchises, Liberties, Customs and Usages of the port."
The office of Speaker has traditionally rotated between the affiliate townships every year dating from at least 1550. Inaugurations are begun on 21 May, and membership is ordained through a longstanding maritime tradition of a principle of the prevailing winds coming from west to east.
The position of Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports is the most ancient military honour available in England. Of the 158 holders of the office, only three have to date been commoners.
A unique uniform is specified for the Lord Warden (though the present incumbent wears his naval uniform in preference). The uniform is very similar to a pre-1956-pattern Admiral's uniform (complete with cocked hat) trimmed in red and with Cinque Ports insignia. Sir Robert Menzies's uniform (pictured), which he wore as Lord Warden from 1966 to 1978, is preserved at the National Library of Australia.
Barons of the Cinque Ports
All Freemen of the Ports, termed "Portsmen", were deemed in the age of Feudalism to be barons, and thus members of the baronage entitled to attend the king's parliament. Termed "Barons of the Cinque Ports", they reflected an early concept that military service at sea constituted land tenure per baroniam making them quasi feudal barons. The early 14th-century treatise Modus Tenendi Parliamentum stated the Barons of the Cinque Ports to hold a place of precedence below the lay magnates but above the representatives of the shires and boroughs. Writs of summons to parliament were sent to the warden following which representative barons of the Cinque Ports were selected to attend parliament. Thus the warden's duty in this respect was similar to that of the sheriff who received the writs for distribution to the barons in the shires. The warden and barons often experienced clashes of jurisdiction. In the 21st century the title "Baron of the Cinque Ports" is now reserved for Freemen elected by the Mayor, Jurats, and Common Council of the Ports to attend a Coronation, and is solely honorary in nature.
List of Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports
The first authoritative list of Cinque Ports Confederation Members was produced in 1293 when Stephen of Pencester was Warden. The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports is appointed for life, but in the earliest of records this was not the case. The office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports has been traced from the year 1226 from the appointment William de Averanch, although he was not the first incumbent of this office. The longest term of office was that of William Brook, Lord Cobham, who presided at the court for 40 years.
- Henry d'Essex (about 1150-54)
- William de Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey 1204–06 and 1214
- Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent 1215
- Geoffery de Lucy 1224 (1230)
- William de Averanch 1226
- Robert de Ayberville 1228
- Peter de Rivaux 1232-34
- Walerland Teutonicus 1235
- Bertram de Crioill 1236 (intermittently until 1255)
- Henry Hose
- Lord de Segrove
- Peter de Savoy 1241
- Reginald de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham 1255
- Sir Roger Northwode
- Nicholas de Moels 1258
- Richard de Grey 1258
- Hugh de Bigod 1259-60
- Nicholas de Croill 1260
- Robert de Walerand 1261
- Walter de Burgsted 1262
- Hamo de Crevequer 1263
- Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford about 1264?
- Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster???
- Henry de Sandwich ???
- John de Haia???
- Sir Roger de Leybourne???
- Henry de Montfort 1264?
- Matthew de Hastings 1265
- Edward "Longshanks", Earl of Chester 1265
- Sir Matthew de Bezille 1266
- Stephen de Pencester 1267-71, then at intervals until 1298 (32 years)
- Sir Simon de Creye 4 February 1275 
- Robert de Burghersh, 1st Baron Burghersh 1299-1306
- Henry de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham 1307
- Robert de Kendall 1307
- Henry de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham 1315
- Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere 1320
- Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester 1320
- Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent 1321
- Sir John Peche 1323
- Ralph Basset, 3rd Baron Basset de Drayton 1325
- Bartholomew de Burghersh, 1st Baron Burghersh 1327
- William de Clinton, 1st Earl of Huntingdon 1330
- Bartholomew de Burghersh, 1st Baron Burghersh 1348
- Patrick Dunbar, 2nd Earl of March 1355
- John Beauchamp, 3rd Baron Beauchamp 1359
- Sir Robert de Herle 1361
- Baron Spigurnell 1364
- Richard de Peinbrugge (Sir)
- Andrew de Guldeford
- William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer 1374
- Sir Thomas Reines
- Edmund of Langley, Earl of Cambridge 1376
- Sir Robert Assheton 1381
- Sir Simon de Burley 1384
- John Devereux, 1st Baron Devereux 1387
- John Beaumont, 4th Baron Beaumont 1392
- Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York 1396
- John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Dorset 1398
- Sir Thomas Erpingham 1399
- Henry "of Monmouth", Prince of Wales 1409
- Thomas FitzAlan, 12th Earl of Arundel and 10th Earl of Surrey 1412
- Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester 1415
- James Fiennes, 1st Baron Saye and Sele 1447
- Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham 1450
- Richard, Lord Rivers 1459
- Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick 1460
- Sir John Scott 1471
- William FitzAlan, 16th Earl of Arundel 1483–1488
- Philip Fitz Lewes 1488
- Sir William Scott 1492
- Prince Henry, later King Henry VIII of England 1493
- Sir Edward Poynings 1509
- George Nevill, 5th Baron Bergavenny (appointed, but resigned)
- Sir Edward Guilford (1474/9-1534)
- George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford (1533)
- Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset
- Sir Thomas Cheney 1535/1558
- Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle 1539-1542
- Sir Thomas Seymour, temporary joint Lord Wardenship between Cheney in 1545
- William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham
- Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham (son of above) 1597
- Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton 1604-1614
- Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset 1614-1615
- Edward, Lord Zouche of Haryngworth 1615-1625
- George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham 1625-1628
- Theophilus Howard, 2nd Earl of Suffolk 1628-1640
- James Stewart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox 1641-1642
- Sir Edward Boys 1642-1646
- Major John Boys 1646-1648
- Sir Algernon Sydney 1648-1651
- Colonel Thomas Kelsey 1651-1656
- Admiral Robert Blake 1656-1657
- Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea 1660 (unconfirmed term may have been father/son)
- James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany 1660-1673
- Colonel John Beaumont 1673-1691
- Henry Sydney, 1st Earl of Romney 1691-1702
- Prince George of Denmark 1702-1708
- Lionel Sackville, 7th Earl of Dorset 1708-1712 (served two terms)
- James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde 1712-1715
- John Sidney, 6th Earl of Leicester 1717-1727
- Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset 1727-1765
- Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness 1765-1778
- Frederick North, Lord North (2nd Earl of Guilford from 1790) 1778-1792
- William Pitt the Younger 1792-1806
- Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool 1806-1827
- Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 1829-1852
- James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie 1853-1860
- Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston 1860-1865
- Granville Leveson-Gower, 2nd Earl Granville 1865-1891 (not installed?)
- William Henry Smith 1891 (not installed?)
- Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava 1892-1895
- Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury 1895-1903
- George Curzon, 1st Baron Curzon of Kedleston 1905
- The Prince George, Prince of Wales 1905-1907
- Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey 1908-1913
- William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp 1913-1934
- Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading 1934-1935
- Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon 1936-1941
- Sir Winston Churchill 1941-1965
- Sir Robert Menzies 1966-1978
- Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother 1978-2002
- Cinque Ports Act 1821. c76 (Regnal 1 & 2 Geo IV) Sect. 18 Boundaries & Jurisdiction of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
- Dress and Insignia worn at HM Court, Lord Chamberlain's Office, 1937
- Roskell, J.S. History of Parliament, House of Commons 1386-1421, Stroud, 1992, vol.1, p.751, Cinque Ports
- "Knights of Edward I" (ed. C Moor, pub. The Harleian Society 1929, Volume 1 pp250-1)
- The London Gazette: . 7 March 1905. Retrieved 2013-01-7.
- cinqueports.org: "THE OFFICE OF LORD WARDEN"
- Body, Edward (1992) The Cinque Ports and Lords Warden : a history in verse and prose, Larkfield : Kent Messenger, ISBN 0-900893-13-3
- Brentnall, Margaret (1972) The Cinque Ports and Romney Marsh, London : Gifford, ISBN 0-7071-0223-5