THE five ports, named the Cinq Ports (of which Hastings is one) were from a very early period the principal fishing towns in England; at present, however, almost every coast-town furnishes a greater or lesser number of fishermen, through whose industry the inland country to a considerable distance is supplied with various kinds of fish.
The fishermen are a bold, hardy class of men, and necessarily exposed to great fatigues and dangers in the winter months, particularly on the eastern shores, where numbers of them often perish by storms setting in suddenly from the eastward. Their boats are of a strong construction, and will keep the sea in very boisterous weather; and in cases where ships are in distress, or wrecked, upon the coast, the fishermen frequently render most essential services to the crews.
Source: Picturesque representations of the dress and manners of the English
by William Alexander. London: Printed for Thomas McLean, Haymarket; by Howlett and Brimmer, Frith Street, Soho.