"Erra-hythe (old haven), was anciently a borough, and was granted a market and fairs in 1313.
As the name implies, the ports originally constituting the body were only five in number - Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich; but to these were afterwards added the "ancient towns" of Winchelsea and Rye with the same privileges, and a good many other places, both corporate and non-corporate, which, with the title of limb or member, held a subordinate position.
To Rye was attached the corporate member of Tenterden, and to a Hythe the non-corporate member of West Hythe.
From the Conquest or even earlier they had, besides various lesser rights - (1) exemption from tax and tallage; (2) soc and sac, or full cognizance of all criminal and civil cases within their liberties; (3) tol and team, or the right of receiving toll and the right of compelling the person in whose hands stolen property was found to name the person from whom he received it; (4) blodwit and fledwit, or the right to punish shedders of blood and those who were seized in an attempt to escape from justice; (5) pillory and tumbrel; (6) infangentheof and r L outfangentheof, or power to imprison and execute felons; (7) mundbryce (the breaking into or violation of a man's mund or property in order to erect banks or dikes as a defence against the sea); (8) waives and strays, or the right to appropriate lost property or cattle not claimed within a year and a day; (9) the right to seize all flotsam, jetsam, or ligan, or, in other words, whatever of value was cast ashore by the sea; (10) the privilege of being a gild with power to impose taxes for the common weal; and (11) the right of assembling in portmote or parliament at Shepway or Shepway Cross, a few miles west of Hythe (but afterwards at Dover), the parliament being empowered to make by-laws for the Cinque Ports, to regulate the Yarmouth fishery, to hear appeals from the local courts, and to give decision in all cases of treason, sedition, illegal coining or concealment of treasure trove.
They are found in the Lower Greensand, or Upper Neocomian series, in the Atherfield Clay at Stopham, near Pulborough; occasionally at the junction of the Hythe and Sandgate beds; and in the Folkeston beds, at Farnham.
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