1000 years of the Cinque Ports

Ref: C3741547

The thirty eight mediaeval cinque ports of Kent and Sussex have a special place in national history and politics. In this course the peculiar membership of the confederation will be investigated and the reasons why it was considered necessary and desirable. Over time the fortunes of the ports changed principally for geographical reasons and these will be explored alongside their very colourful history. We will look at the physical evidence still extant today of this special status conferred on them. The confederation of the cinque ports still exist as an organisation and we will examine what this means.

Course aim

To increase awareness of the significance of local Kentish places in national history and in this case the thirty eight cinque ports and their role in the defence of England in the middle ages

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • An understanding of English is essential

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • List the five Head Ports of the Cinque Port Confederation
  • Describe three special privileges conferred on them
  • State the principal reason for their decline by the 16th century
  • Locate some features within three of the ports which indicate their former special status
  • Explain the past and present roles of the Lord Warden

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • You may like to bring a pen and paper for notes

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full Course information sheet

1000 years of the Cinque Ports


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  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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