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Disks with all Speakers Day Gallery and images of New Romney in 2014 £10 + £1.50pp
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The historic office of Speaker of the Cinque Ports was celebrated in New Romney on Saturday 4th October 2014 with a day that included a mix of pomp and pageantry, quiet reflection and celebratory music.
Speaker’s Day commenced with a civic procession headed by the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports The Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce KG, GCB,OBE DL, led by the Band of TS Veteran Sea Cadet Corps, New Romney and followed by the Officers of the Cinque Ports Confederation and fourteen Cinque Ports Mayors dressed in full ceremonial regalia, together with their Macebearers and Town Clerks. Invited dignitaries included the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex and the Bishop of Dover.
The office of Speaker is an ancient jurisdiction and an honour that has been bestowed in political and civic life since as far back as the 12th Century. The office of Speaker of the Cinque Ports has traditionally been rotated amongst the five head ports and two antient towns. Long before a Royal Navy was established in England, the Cinque Ports – a group of five port towns on the south east coast of England, which included New Romney, Sandwich, Dover, Hythe and Hastings-provided vessels and sailors to assist in protecting the coast and defending the country from frequent attacks by sea. In return, they were granted special royal privileges, which included retention of all legal fees assigned in court cases held in their towns. As a result, these towns became quite prosperous. Over time two further towns Rye and Winchelsea became affiliated with the Cinque Ports and gained official legal status as ‘Antient Towns’ and then, with the need for increased defence of the coast, further towns became affiliated to the ‘Cinque Ports Confederation’. At its peak in medieval England, there were as many as 42 towns in the Confederation but as some towns fared less wellwith varying economies and with the receding of the sea and silting up of rivers as well as a dwindling need for coastal defence, once busy towns became little more than villages and this number gradually reduced, leaving the 14 towns that today form the Cinque Ports Confederation.