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Cinque Ports



An association of certain ports (originally five) in southeast England, with special privileges granted in return for responsibility for defending the south coast. The grouping of Dover, Hastings, Hythe, Romney, and Sandwich, began under the Anglo-Saxons and was expanded by the Norman kings. The association, to which Winchelsea and Rye were added in the 12th century, reached its height during the first half of the Hundred Years War, after which the influence of the ports declined.