The Common seals of the Cinque Ports and a number of other ports are of interest and value in understanding the evolution of European sailing ships in the Middle Ages.
Third seal c1390. Shows bolt hands, fenders and gudgeon plates of the stern post rudder also reef points on the sail.
Romney. Late 13th Century. No castles (Embattled fighting platforms for archers etc.). Forecastle still used for the space reserved for the crew.
The Cinque Ports The Lord Warden’s Flag
Dover. 1305. The quarter-rudder is unusual in being slung on the port-side. Large castles and short planking. Flying the banner of the Cinque Ports Confederation.
Sandwich. Late 13th Century. Very early illustration of a ships boat carried on deck. Two prongs projecting from stern post called a “mike” used to carry ropes, anchors etc.
Ipswich. 1200. The earliest representation of a rudder with the blade wholly aft of the rudder post.
Yarmouth. Late 13th Century. One of the earliest illustrations of a bowline led from sail to bowsprit.
Ref. Catalogue of Seals National Maritime Museum. H.H.Brindley Heraldry of the Cinque Ports. G.Williams.
First Published in “Cinque Ports” November 2015
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