A bit about Hythe

Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts. First there's the sea and the shingle beach, behind it swathes of parks and greenery leading to the grand wide canal and country park.

The central High Street and heart of the town shelters behind the canal and its surrounding parkland, while the town centre itself masks the hills behind. Alleys from the High Street lead steeply upwards to a higher level of parallel road thats packed with beautiful old houses and cottages. Above these cottages is the highest of the towns three levels, where the magnificent church of St Leonards sits alone, commanding views across the rooftops all around.

Look out for The Hythe Venetian Fete Extravaganza on odd numbererd years, and Hythe Festival on even numbered years.

Look out for regular food festivals on the canal bank and village green.

Getting Around - There is a map at the bottom of the page
There are four car parks in the main part of town, plus on-street parking in many of the roads.
The High Street (main part) is relatively flat, but there are higher levels of Hythe which you might prefer to reach by car. Start at the Red Lion Square end of the High Street. The huge yellow building on your left is Malthouse Arcade.
Walk up the High Street and soon you'll see The Old Willow Restaurant, a wonderful jettied building, on the right.

Don't miss the Post Office, with the plaque above marking the birthplace of Sir Francis Pettit.
Soon you come to The Swan Hotel on the left, then the Old Town Hall, a lovely yellow building with a colonnaded undercroft, which was once the old market place.
St Leonards Church is to the left, but its a very steep climb, so if this is problematic ignore the following section and go by car to the upper car park. Otherwise, turn left from the High Street, taking the path that passes under the Town Halls upper storey. This leads to Market Hill, and to your left you'll see The Manor House, a grand 17th-century red-brick building.
Cross Bartholomew Street and take the footpath up to the church: don't miss the attractive stone cottage on the right. Turn right as you come out to follow Oak Walk, then at its end turn left into Church Hill. At the bottom on the right corner with Bartholomew Street is historic Centuries house.
Turn left and retrace your steps to the High Street.
Continue on up the High Street until you come to the Kings Head on the left, cross the road and almost opposite are the Almshouses, adjoining the timber-beamed premises of Wells restaurant. Further on, turn right into Douglas Avenue, and follow this down to the end, to Prospect Road. Cross over to Waitrose, go down The Avenue, to the left of the supermarket, and follow this road to the end. Go up the steps ahead, and climb up the broad grassy bank to the raised central path.
Ahead is a fantastic view of the canal below, beyond it the cricket ground and houses in the distance. Turn right and walk along this path, and you come to the black-metal Ladies Walk Bridge across the canal.
Before you is the white War Memorial and a splendid garden. Walk over the bridge and from here you can go into the ground of Oaklands house (you can, eventually, reach the seashore by going down Ladies Walk, but this is a long way).
From the canal bank, retrace your steps across the bridge, go out of the park onto Prospect Road. Cross here, and turn left to go back towards town. On your right is Aldi supermarket, go to the left along Bank Street, which leads you back to the High Street.


Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

Shopping in Hythe

This charming town, where contemporary style combines effortlessly with vintage classics, is a mecca for shoppers; and the bustling high street, crammed with an array of boutique shops and restaurants, reflects the town’s unique atmosphere.

Dining in Hythe

Scattered amongst the variety of shops and salons are pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars catering for everyone - from the real ale aficionados to the fussy foodies and cocktail connoisseurs.

Farmers Markets

Hythe Farmers' Market provides good quality local food in Hythe. Sandgate Farmers' and Makers Market selling free-range eggs, breads, cakes, meat, cheeses, vegetables and more.

Getting Around

There are four car parks in the main part of town, plus on-street parking in many of the roads. The High Street (main part) is relatively flat, but there are higher levels of Hythe which you might prefer to reach by car.

Plan your visit

By Road - By Car - By Rail - By Coach - Visitor Centres. Hythe is on the A259 which gives direct access from the Kent and Sussex coast. Hythe is only 3 miles from the M20 junction 11, the M25, the Channel ports and the Eurotunnel.

Walking in Hythe

Amble along this beautiful stretch of the England Coast Path taking in the peace and tranquillity of the Royal Military Canal and the vibrancy of the Folkestone Harbour Arm and Creative Quarter.



Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts


Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

Cycling in Hythe

Shared use pedestrian footway/cycleway from the junction of Reachfields on the A259 Dymchurch Road to the new housing development at the Nickolls Road out near Palmarsh to the west of Hythe.

Hythe Swimming

Hythe Swimming Pool has an exciting programme of swimming activities for all ages and abilities.

Cricket and Football

Hythe Cricket and Squash Club host a number of different sports, much more than the name would imply.

Hythe Golf

Sene Valley Golf Club - A downland course, with stunning views of the North Downs and across the English Channel - Hythe Imperial Golf Club - Challenging 9-hole links course with views over the English Channel.

Hythe & Saltwood Sailing Club

Situated just off the large shingle beach at Hythe, Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club provides great facilities for sailing and windsurfing in an informal, friendly environment

Hythe Football

Hythe Town Football Club is a football club based in Hythe, Kent. They are currently members of the Isthmian League South East Division and play at the Reachfields Stadium.



St Leonard’s is a beautiful church in a beautiful place

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The Royal Military Canal

Take time out on a crisp sunny day and stroll alongside the Royal Military Canal, one of Kent’s famous pieces of local history. Discover its wildlife, beauty and past on a walking route in Hythe.



The Royal Military Canal, one of Kent’s famous pieces of local history


Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

Hythe Lawn Tennis Club

Hythe Lawn Tennis Club was formed in 1889 making it one of the oldest Tennis Clubs in the United Kingdom.

Brockhill Country Park

The park is rich in wildlife, including marbled white butterflies, green woodpeckers and carpets of snowdrops.

Saltwood Castle

Hythe was once defended by two castles, Saltwood Castle and Lympne Castle. Saltwood derives its name from the village in its shadow.

Hythe History Room

Housed in Oaklands, adjoining the public library in Stade Street, the museum comprises 3 rooms stocked full of local interest items relating to the town and port of Hythe. The rooms are themed as ‘Story of Hythe’.

Martello Towers 14 & 15

On the Hythe Ranges with Tower 14, Tower 15 had a 'D' painted on it, although this appears to have worn off. Fort Sutherland originally stood between 15 and Tower 16.

The American Gardens

Hidden here is a gem of astounding beauty, a treasure awaiting discovery: a secret garden in the depths of Kent

Eaton Lands

Eaton Lands are one of Saltwood’s hidden treasures with precious few visitors discovering this delightful area of mature ancient woodland, meadows and wild flowers.

The SASC Monument

The SASC Monument Hythe was completed on 5th February 2014 following the unveiling of its main plaque by His Royal Highness The Duke of York

Hythe Town Hall

Hythe Town Hall was built in 1794. The ground floor was the open Market, which consists of a carriage entrance at each end



Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

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St Leonards Church

St Leonard’s is a beautiful church in a beautiful place. It stands high and proud above the town of Hythe. The crypt of St Leonard’s Church in Hythe contains one of only two ossuaries in the UK



For the past 90 years the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway has been an integral part of the Hythe landscape


Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

Mackeson Square

A parcel of overgrown land in Hythe, has received a makeover, Mackeson Square has being carried out by Shepway District Council

Hythe Beaches

This area is fascinating, the fishing boats winched up onto the Beach, very picturesque. A wonderful place to walk and experience the local charm of Hythe

Hythe Sound Mirrors

On the roughs above Hythe in Kent, on Ministry of Defence land, stands a 30 foot high concrete ear

Lympne Castle

Lympne Castle was built during the 13th century on the site of a Roman castle, Port Lemanis (locally called Stutfall Castle). The remains of this earlier castle can be seen below the hill on which Lympne Castle stands, having slipped down the hill over the years.

A Monumental Cross

A monumental cross now indicates what was from 1358 a meeting place of the confederation of the Cinque ports, several miles west of Hythe, known then as "the Shepway crossroads".

Westenhanger Castle

Westenhanger Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument with a Grade 1 listed house; this reflects both its national and historic importance



Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

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For the past 90 years the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway has been an integral part of the landscape of the Romney Marsh. Known as “Kent’s Mainline in Miniature”,



Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts


Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

Hythe War Memorial

First World War memorial with names added for subsequent conflicts. Executed by Gilbert Bayes and unveiled in 1921

Lionel Lukin

Lionel Lukin 1742-1834 invented the self-righting lifeboat in 1785, and is buried in the parish churchyard.


The house named Centuries is the birthplace of Hamo de Hethe, b.1270, a son of Gilbert and Alice Noble of Hythe.

Francis Pettit Smith

Francis Pettit Smith, inventor of the marine screw propeller, was born and raised in Hythe; a plaque is on the wall above Post Office in the High Street.

Hythe Skate Park

Hythe skatepark is made up of metal ramps on a tarmac base. The skatepark features a back and forth run with a quarter pipe and flat bank either side of a funbox.

Mackeson Brewery

Mackeson & Co. Ltd Founded 1669 by James Pashley and acquired by Mackeson family 1801

Arts & Entertainment

Hythe Art Society was formed in 1965, and is now a thriving, well-supported Society. Hythe Community Cinema is a friendly and well supported film society which serves the town of Hythe.

Folkestone Rugby Club

With a hugely upgraded clubhouse and pitches, Folkestone Rugby Club has clearly signalled its intention of becoming one of the most successful and respected rugby clubs in Kent

St Peter's & St Paul's

One Thousand Years of History. Exploring an early English parish church such as Saltwood is like reading a good detective novel.



Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

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Port Lympne

There's an animal for everyone at Port Lympne. One of the largest wild animal parks in the UK, with plenty of wide open spaces for our animals to roam. Committed to conservation, putting animals first and treating them as guests. World leader in breeding rare and endangered species.



Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts


Hythe is a fascinating town of interweaving scenes and contrasts

Hythe Festival

The biennial Hythe Festival is a community event for Hythe town and its surrounding areas. The majority of events are free to attend and is organised by a very enthusiastic group of local people, for the people.

Hythe Venetian Fete

A biennial water spectacular of family fun with a procession of decorated floats, live music, entertainment and fireworks at dusk.

Tin Tabernacle

The Tin Tabernacle, a beautiful, listed church based in the coastal town of Hythe. Art Exhibitions, weddings etc.

The Whim

Built between 1874-8 to the design of the owner Henry Scott by a local builder Mr Evernden. Timberframed, clad in grooved weatherboarding with a slate roof with terracotta ridge tiles and four small cement rendered chimneys with tall plain chimneypots.

Hythe 41

Awaiting Content

Sandgate Castle

Sandgate Castle was the first of Henry VIII’s ‘Device Forts’ and guarded a beach that stood just 25 miles from the continent making it a likely target in the event of an invasion.

Hythe - More points of interest

Hythe - More points of interest

Useful Directory
Local Services

Folkestone Police Station 01622 690690

Hythe Town Council 01303 266152

Hythe Library 01303 267111

Folkestone Hythe District Council 01303 853000

Shepway Independent Mediation 01303 227296

Citizens Advice Bureau 01303 249310

Social Services 08457 626777

Kent County Council 03000 414141

Age UK 01303 220610

South Kent Domestic Violence 01303 220610

The Samaritans 01303 850202

RSPCA (Ashford) 01233 641189

Cats Protection Folkestone 01303 247540

Mental Health Matters (Kent) 0800 1070160

Report a Gas Leak 0800 999

Report a mains water leak 0330 3030146

Electriciity (power supply interuption) 0800 7838866

NHS non-emergency 111

Local Services

Child Line 0800 1111

NSPCC 0808 8005000

Frank (Drugs Advice)

Relate 0845 4561310

Victim Support Helpline 0845 3030900

Alcoholics Anonymous 0845 7697555

Crime Stoppers 0800 555111

Oaklands Health Centre 03030 235300

Sun Lane Surgery 01303 267102

The William Harvey Hospital 01233 633331

Eakins Chemist 01303 267876

Boots Chemist 01303 267220

Paydens Chemist 01303 261647

Pennypot Dental Hythe 01303 262683

The Country Dental Practice 01303 266308

High Street Dental Practice 01303 266308

Hythe Dental Care 01303 265566

Useful Directory

Walking and Cycling

Walking and Cycling

Lionel Lukin

Lionel Lukin,(1742–1834), lifeboat designer, was born at Dunmow, Essex, on 18 May 1742, the youngest son of William Lukin, of Blatches, Little Dunmow, and Anne, daughter of James Stokes. His father belonged to an old Essex family, one of his ancestors being Henry Lukyn (1586–1630), who is described by Anthony Wood as a mathematician, and who is mentioned by Thoroton in his History of Nottinghamshire as having 'dwelt before the wars at South Holme' (369). On his mother's side he was descended from a Lionel Lane, one of Blake's admirals.

Lukin was for many years a fashionable London coach builder in Long Acre. He became a member of the Coachmakers' Company in 1767, and did not finally retire from business until 1824. He was twice married, and with his first wife, born Walker, and widow of Henry Gilder of Dunmow, had a daughter, and a son of the same name, who patented several inventions, and died in 1839. Lukin appears to have been a man with a taste for science and possessed of a fertile mechanical mind.

Being a personal favourite of the prince regent and connected with William Windham, secretary of state for war and the colonies, Lukin had many opportunities to bring some of his inventions to public attention. Among these was an 'unsubmergible' boat. He began by making certain alterations to a Norway yawl which he purchased in 1784, the efficacy of which he tested as far as was practicable in the River Thames. He obtained a patent in 1785 for his invention, by which 'boats and small vessels … will neither overset in violent gales or sudden bursts of wind, nor sink if by any accident filled with water' (patent no. 1502, 1785). The patent specification explained that this was to be accomplished by fitting to the outsides of vessels projecting gunnells sloping from the top of the common gunnell in a faint curve towards the water … and from the extreme projection … returning to the side in a faint curve at a suitable height above the water-line. The projections are very small at the stem and stern, and increase gradually to the dimensions required.*

The specification further provided that ports of the inside of the boat should be filled up with airtight and watertight compartments or with cork or other light material that would repel water, whereby 'the boat or vessel will be much lighter than any body of water it must displace' Lukin submitted his invention to the prince of Wales, the dukes of Portland and Northumberland, Admiral Sir Robert King, Admiral Schank, and Admiral Lord Howe, who gave him strong encouragement but no official support.

Lukin's first boat, the Experiment, was tested by a Ramsgate pilot but, after crossing the channel several times in rough weather, the boat disappeared—it may have been confiscated in a continental port. His second boat, the Witch, was tested by Sir Sydney Smith and other naval officers, and its qualities were publicly displayed at Margate. But Lukin had to contend with seafaring prejudices, and his 'unsubmergible boats', though they attracted attention, were in little demand. Apart from one built for the Bamborough Charity, only four were ordered, one of which proved very useful at Lowestoft.

In 1790 Lukin published a description of his lifeboat, with scale-drawings. Some time after the date of Lukin's patent a lifeboat was built (not patented) by Henry Greathead, who was rewarded with a parliamentary grant. Lukin declared that Greathead's boat was in general built according to the principles set out in his patent, and had no additional safety features. In 1806 a Mr Hailes put forward the claims of Wouldham of Newcastle as an inventor of lifeboats, and Lukin wrote three letters in 1806 in the Gentleman's Magazine, in which he set out his claims to priority. These he afterwards published as a pamphlet dedicated to the prince of Wales, entitled The Invention, Principles of Construction, and Uses of Unimmergible Boats (1806).

Lukin also invented a raft for rescuing persons from under ice, which he presented to the Royal Humane Society, and an adjustable reclining bed for patients, which he presented to various infirmaries. He invented a rain gauge, and kept a daily record of meteorological observations for many years until his sight failed in 1824. He died on 16 February 1834 at Hythe, Kent. A headstone, marking his grave in the parish churchyard, described him as the 'inventor of the lifeboat principle.' A memorial window in the local parish church was unveiled on 3 October 1892.

Lionel Lukin

Lionel Lukin 1742-1834 invented the self-righting lifeboat in 1785, and is buried in the parish churchyard.

Born in Essex, at Great Dunmow in 1742, Lionel Lukin became credited with the invention of the Lifeboat after some experimentation along the French lines in 1784 with his own conversion of a Norway ‘yawl’ which he tested out on the river Thames, and in 1785 having received the personal encouragement of the Prince Regent, Lukin took out a patent.

The boatmen of Ramsgate were most unfortunate in overlooking the opportunity they might have been given when Lukin’s first patented ‘unimmergible’, as the boat was entrusted to a Ramsgate pilot for further testing, but the unnamed pilot, regrettably used it principally, it is suspected, for the purposes of smuggling!

Inscribed on his tombstone in Hythe Chuchyard.

‘This Lionel Lukin was the first who built a lifeboat, and was the original inventor of that principal of safety by which many lives and property have been preserved from shipwreck.’

The School of Musketry

The School of Musketry with its Corps of Instructors was formally established on 1 April 1854 at Hythe, Kent, although the first instructors were working at Hythe from mid 1853. The School was established by Lord Hardinge who, as Master General Ordnance, was determined to ensure that the best possible use was made of the greatly improved rifle musket then coming into service. From its inception a section of the School was responsible for user testing of infantry weapons and the exemplary collection of weapons in the Infantry and SASC Weapons Collection bears witness to this work.

The Corps Headquarters was then renamed the Small Arms School Corps in 1929 and a Vickers Machine Gun was incorporated into the cap badge. This reflected the change in name adapted for the School at Hythe in 1919 and for the expanding School, which now included Netheravon, that took on responsibility for the Vickers Machine Gun. With the move of the Small Arms Wing from Hythe to Warminster in 1969 the Headquarters of the Corps was part of the School of Infantry and renamed Depot SASC. In 1996 under 'Options for Change' Headquarters SASC was formed as an integral part of the newly formed Headquarters Infantry.

Sainsbury's Supermarket now occupies the original site of the School of Musketry.

This photograph features the first course of students to be trained on the use of the Maxim gun at the School of Musketry, Hythe, in 1889.

The students appear to be all officers and from a cross-section of regiments. The officer standing behind the gun wearing black buttons is Lieutenant WN Congreve of 4th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade. He received a Victoria Cross for his gallantry during the battle of Colenso, South Africa, on 15 December 1899. He later became General Sir Walter Congreve VC KCB MVO, father of Brevet Major Billy Congreve VC DSO MC, also of The Rifle Brigade, the only father and son to have each been awarded a VC and to have served in the same regiment.

Colonel Mackinnon, the Chief Instructor at the School of Musketry in 1889, is third from the left in the back row and Sergeant Hills, the course instructor, is on the extreme right.

The Royal Military Canal

The Royal Military Canal at Hythe Kent is a declared historic monument, and enjoys a tourism Green flag award. Constructed before the age of Steam, over 200 years ago, the canal was dug by hand by an army of Engineers and Prisoners of War. As a defence against invasion. Created in a time of conflict, the canal is now an oasis of peace and quiet, a haven for bird life and flora totalling 26 miles across South Kent. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, a young military genius named Napoleon Bonaparte emerged from the turmoil with a vision of a united Europe under French rule. Under his leadership France set about waging war on its neighbours, declaring war on England in 1793. An uneasy peace was settled in 1802 through the Peace of Amiens, but the countries were soon at war again. Napoleon saw England as the key to conquering Europe: “All my thoughts are directed towards England. I want only for a favourable wind to plant the Imperial Eagle on the Tower of London.”

Once again England faced the threat of invasion and, with Napoleon massing an army of some 130,000 troops and 2,000 boats on the French coast near Boulogne, thoughts turned to how to defend the Romney Marsh - a low-lying stretch of coast which was expected to be the landing point for any French invasion. Defending the Marsh

The Romney Marsh had been left virtually undefended in the belief that it could be quickly flooded and the subsequent morass, criss-crossed by drainage ditches, would be impassable. The very real threat of Napoleonic invasion led to questioning of this long held view. After much deliberation Lt-Col John Brown, Commandant of the Royal Staff Corps, rejected it as unworkable, concerned by the need for ten days advance warning and the potential embarrassment, chaos and huge expense that would result from a false alarm. Brown had another idea. He suggested that a canal be built from Seabrook, near Folkestone around the back of the Romney Marsh to the River Rother near Rye, a distance of 19 miles. The canal system would have sources of water from the sea and the River Rother. It would be 19 metres wide at the surface, 13.5 metres wide at the bottom and 3 metres deep. The excavated soil would be piled on to the northern bank to make a parapet, behind which troops could be positioned and moved out of sight of the enemy. The canal would also have ‘kinks’ to allow enfilading fire along the length of the canal, if the enemy attempted to cross it.

The Duke of York and the prime minister, William Pitt, met on September 26 1804 to discuss the project: they were enthusiastic and preliminary plans were quickly made. The renowned engineer John Rennie, whose previous projects included the construction of London and Waterloo Bridges, was appointed as consultant engineer and it was proposed that the canal be extended from the River Rother to Cliff End, East Sussex incorporating the River Brede in the process. The total length of the canal would be 28 miles, of which 22.5 miles had to be dug. It was estimated that it would be completed by June 1805 and cost £200,000.

All that remained was to convince the local landowners of the advantages of the scheme. Pitt met with the landowners on October 24 at the New Hall, Dymchurch and explained that the canal would not only help to defend their country but would be a major drainage system for the winter, and a reservoir for the summer and would greatly improve conditions on the Marsh. They were persuaded. Pitt was popular with the locals, who referred to the canal as ‘Mr Pitt’s Ditch’.

Digging the Ditch

On October 30 1804 the first sod of the Royal Military Canal was dug at Seabrook. Harsh winter weather and severe flooding, as well as difficulty in attracting labourers - known as navvies - meant that the original completion date appeared wildly optimistic. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Rennie blamed the incompetence and greed of the contractors, accusing them of overcharging and poor supervision. By May 1805 the canal project was close to disaster: only six miles had been completed and work had stopped. William Pitt intervened: the contractors and Rennie were dismissed.

The project was put in the hands of the Quartermaster-General’s department with Lt-Col. Brown in command. Navvies dug the canal, while the military built the ramparts and turfed the banks. Flooding continued to be a barrier to progress and hand pumps were used day and night to keep the trench from filling with water. Eventually powerful steam-driven pumps were used to clear the water.

At its peak there were 1,500 men working on the canal. The canal was dug entirely by hand, using picks and shovels and the soil was carried away in wheelbarrows. Once the canal was dug it was lined with clay. The change of command and the greater work force speeded progress so that by August 1806 the canal was open from Seabrook to the River Rother. However, concessions were made. The original dimensions of the canal were greatly reduced due to increasing problems encountered by the builders and pressures of time, so that for most of its length the canal is half its projected width.

Iden Lock was completed in September 1808, which linked the canal to the River Rother and Rye Harbour, effectively turning the Romney Marsh into an island, but it wasn’t until April 1809 that the canal was actually completed

Iden Lock

After Napoleon By the time the Royal Military canal was fully ready for use, the threat of invasion had long since past. Napoleon’s plans for invasion suffered a major setback following his navy’s defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He withdrew his troops from the French coast and focused his intentions on central Europe.

The fact that the canal was never used for its intended purpose, cost £234,310 (a huge amount in Georgian England) and was funded entirely by the state meant the voices of cynics and doubters could soon be heard from all sections of society. The canal became an embarrassment to the Government - it was considered to be a white elephant of the largest proportions and a huge waste of public money. The radical journalist William Cobbett, who toured the country on his Rural Rides during the 1820s, was typical of the critics of the canal: ‘Here is a canal made for the length of thirty miles to keep out the French; for those armies who had so often crossed the Rhine and the Danube were to be kept back by a canal thirty feet wide at most!’

The Government desperately needed to find ways of recovering some of the money spent on the canal and in 1807 opened it to navigation and collected tolls for the transportation of produce and goods. In 1810 the canal was opened for public use and tolls were also collected for the use of the military road between Iden, Rye and Winchelsea. There was also a regular barge service running between Hythe and Rye, which took around four hours to complete.

Despite efforts to utilise the canal, traffic was never heavy, and the opening of the Ashford to Hastings railway line in 1851 further decreased its use. The Government was struggling not only to recoup the money invested in the canal but to meet the ever spiralling costs of maintenance. Thus, during the 1860s the Government took steps to unburden itself from the canal. The stretch from Iden Lock to West Hythe was leased to the Lords of the Romney Marsh for 999 years at an annual rent of one shilling, while the the town of Hythe purchased the remaining stretch, that ran through the town, for conversion to ornamental waters. The canal west of Rye was sold to four individual owners. By the late nineteenth century the canal trade had all but gone. The last ever toll was collected at Iden Lock on December 15 1909.

Despite previous doubts surrounding the canal’s usefulness for defence in the nineteenth century, it was quickly requisitioned by the War Department in 1935 as war in Europe became increasingly likely. The banks were lined with pill-boxes as the nation awaited invasion, this time by Hitler, but once again there was no invasion.

The Canal Today

Although never being called upon to defend the nation, the canal has fulfilled one of its intended duties: the improvement of conditions on the Romney Marsh. The canal acts as a sink for the network of ditches that criss-cross the Marsh. During the summer, when rainfall is low and water is needed to irrigate the land, water is pumped from the canal into the drainage ditches. In winter, when there is a risk of flood, water can be taken from the ditches into the canal and the excess water let out of the canal at Iden Lock or the sluice at Seabrook. This vital function of the Royal Military Canal is managed by the Environment Agency.

Today the tree lined banks of the Royal Military Canal are an excellent place for quiet enjoyment, whether walking, fishing or simply watching the world go by. This large stretch of fresh water provides a home for many forms of wildlife, and parts of the canal are designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), with the remaining length designated as a Local Wildlife Site. The Royal Military Canal is also protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), ensuring its survival for future generations.

Seabrook Stream

The interest of this site centres on the alder carr and fen communities that support an exceptional number of cranefly species. The varied geology over the course of the stream has given rise to a range of conditions in which different habitats have developed in close proximity. Rising in a wooded valley below the Chalk of the North Downs near Folkestone, the Seabrook Stream crosses a belt of Gault Clay before cutting into the Lower Greensand. A springline occurs at the junction between the Folkestone and Sandgate Beds of the Lower Greensand series, resulting in numerous seepages on both sides of the valley and a gradation from dry sandy conditions, towards the top of the valley sides, to saturated peat and tributary streams on the valley floor.

Base-rich springline alder carr has developed on the wettest soils and here the ground flora is varied. Characteristic species such as opposite-leaved golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, lesser pond-sedge Carex acutiformis and common valerian Valeriana officinalis are frequent in some areas along with marsh marigold Caltha palustris and yellow flag Iris pseudacorus. In the west of the site where a tributary stream arises there are more willows Salix spp and the ground flora is dominated by sedges Carex spp and wood club-rush Scirpus sylvaticu. Where seepages arise above the woodland rich flush communities occur, generally dominated by great horsetail Equisetum telemateia and great willowherb Epilobium hirsutum but also including greater pond-sedge Carex riparia, marsh horsetail Equisetum palustre and common spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsia. There are several areas of reedswamp dominated by common reed Phragmites australis within the site, the largest extending to almost two hectares.

On the drier slopes of the valley there is woodland, scrub and neutral grassland. The woodland canopy is dominated by oak Quercus robur, ash Fraxinus excelsior and hazel Corylus avellana with bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta, red campion Silene dioica and moschatel Adoxa moschatellina frequent amongst the ground flora. The scrub is principally of hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, elder Sambucus niger and blackthorn Prunus spinosa. Within the grassland are found species characteristic of basic soils, such as stemless thistle Cirsium acaule as well as other species characteristic of more acid soils, such as heath speedwell Veronica officinalis.

The whole of the Seabrook valley supports an exceptional number of cranefly species, 67 having been recorded to date from this site alone. This total includes four nationally scarce species, one being Erioptera limbata, which lives on stream margins, known from only two other sites in Britain. It is the seepages within the alder carr providing a wide range of moisture regimes, that allow this site to support so many species. 14 other invertebrate species found on the site are nationally scarce: for example the caddis fly Rhvacophila septentrionis which lives in the stream itself and whose larvae feed on those of midges, mayflies and stoneflies; Osmylus fulvicephalus, Britain's largest lacewing, found by wooded streams and whose larvae feed on insects at the water margin; and the harvestman Homalenotus quadridentatus which occurs in the drier grassland further up the valley sides. Breeding bird species present are known to include reed and sedges warblers, grey wagtail and sand martin. On a national scale sand martins have undergone major population changes in recent years and the quarry in the west of the site contains one of the few significant colonies known in Kent.

Lympne Escarpment

The site consists of a steep escarpment of Kentish ragstone formed by the Hythe Beds of the Lower Greensand. Ragstone is a hard sandy limestone which produces calcareous soils. The grassland and woodland of this site are among the best remaining examples of semi-natural habitats on ragstone in Kent. Wet ash - maple is the predominant woodland type with a small area of calcareous ash- wych elm wood. Many plants usually associated with chalk soils occur in the grassland. The south-facing slope is close to the sea and the resulting mild humid conditions encourages the growth of ferns and mosses. Numerous springs and flushes occur at the base of the escarpment at the junction of the ragstone and the Atherfield Clay. Lympne Park Wood is the largest remaining example of ash coppice woodland on the ragstone escarpment. It is thought to be of ancient origin with a long history of woodland cover. Most of the wood is ash, field-maple and hazel coppice with oak and ash standards. Wych elm is present in a small area in the south-east corner. Many of the mature elms have been killed by Dutch elm disease but some saplings have survived. The calcareous nature of the soil is shown by the presence of shrubs such as spindle Euonymus europaeus, wayfaring-tree Viburnum lantana and privet Ligustrum vulgare. The ground flora is mostly dominated by brambles Rubus fruticosus but other plants present include stinking iris Iris foetidissima, early-purple orchid Orchis mascula and common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii.

Outcrops of ragstone are frequent on the upper slopes of the escarpment. The vegetation here is dominated by grasses such as fescues Festuca species cock’s- foot Dactylis glomerata, false oat-grass Arrhenatherum elatius and tor-grass Brachypodium pinnatum. Grazing helps to minimise a diverse flowering plant community including cowslips Primula veris, carline thistle Carlina vulgaris and hound’s-tongue Cynoglossum officinale which are associated with calcareous soils. Due to the high humidity of the area wood sedge Carex sylvatica and stinking iris, species usually restricted to woods, are able to grow in the open grassland.

Past landslips have produced much scree at the foot of the escarpment and the grassland here is dominated by tor-grass. The marshy ground below the springline has tall herb vegetation including plants such as great horsetail Equisetum telemateia, great willowherb Epilobium hirsutum, ragged-robin Lychnis flos-cuculi and water figwort Scrophularia auriculata.

Sir Francis Pettit Smith

SMITH, Sir FRANCIS PETTIT (1808–1874), inventor of the screw-propeller for steamships, only son of Charles Smith, postmaster of Hythe, by Sarah, daughter of Francis Pettit of Hythe, was born there on 9 Feb. 1808. He was educated at a private school at Ashford in Kent, and began life as a grazing farmer in Romney Marsh, afterwards removing to Hendon, Middlesex. In boyhood Smith acquired great skill in the construction of model boats, and displayed much ingenuity in contriving methods of propulsion for them. Continuing to devote much of his spare time to the subject, he in 1835 constructed a model which was propelled by a screw, actuated by a spring, and which proved so successful that he became convinced that this form of propeller would be preferable to the paddle-wheels at that time exclusively employed.

The scheme of using some form of screw as a propeller had been advocated by Robert Hooke [q. v.] as early as 1681, and by Daniel Bernouilli and others in the eighteenth century. On 9 May 1795 Joseph Bramah [q. v.] took out a patent for a screw propeller, but did not apparently construct one. But between 1791 and 1807 John Cox Stevens, an American mechanician, made practical experiments with a steam-boat propelled by a screw at Hoboken, New Jersey. Moreover, simultaneously with Smith's first efforts, Captain John Ericsson, a Swede, was actively working in the same direction.

Smith was wholly ignorant of these endeavours. Impressed with the importance of the appliance, of which he believed himself the sole discoverer, he practically abandoned his farming, and devoted himself with whole-hearted enthusiasm to the development and perfecting of his idea.

By the following year (1836) he had constructed a superior model, which was exhibited in operation to friends upon a pond on his farm at Hendon, and afterwards to the public at the Adelaide Gallery, London. On 31 May in the same year he took out a patent, based upon this model, for ‘propelling vessels by means of a screw revolving beneath the water at’ the stern. Six weeks later, on 13 July—it is curious to note—Captain Ericsson took out, also in London, a similar patent. Smith quickly perfected his invention. With the pecuniary assistance of Mr. Wright, a banker, and the technical assistance of Mr. Thomas Pilgrim, a practical engineer whose services Smith engaged, he soon constructed a small boat of ten tons burden and fitted her with a wooden screw of two turns, driven by an engine of about six horse-power. This was exhibited to the public in operation in November 1836. An accident to the propeller led him to the conclusion that a shortened screw would give more satisfactory results, and in 1837 a screw of a single turn was fitted. With a view to proving the efficiency of this method of propulsion under all circumstances, the little vessel was taken to Ramsgate, thence to Dover and Hythe, returning in boisterous and stormy weather. The propeller proved itself efficient to an unexpected degree in both smooth and rough water.

The attention of the admiralty was now invited to the new invention, to which at the outset the sentiment of the engineering world was almost universally opposed. The admiralty considered it to be desirable that experiments should be made with a larger vessel before recommending the adoption of the screw in the navy. Accordingly a small company was formed, and the construction of a new screw steamer, the Archimedes, resolved upon. This was a vessel of 237 tons, fitted with a screw of one convolution, propelled by engines of eighty horse-power, the understanding with the admiralty being that her performance would be considered satisfactory if a speed of five knots an hour were maintained. Double this speed was actually achieved, and the vessel, after various trials on the Thames and at Sheerness, proceeded to Portsmouth, where she was tried against the Vulcan, one of the fastest paddle steamers in her majesty's service, with the most gratifying result. This was in October 1839, and in the following year the admiralty experts deputed to conduct a series of experiments with her reported that they considered the success of the new propeller completely demonstrated. The admiralty would not even then, however, definitely commit themselves, and it was not until a year later—in 1841—that orders were given for the Rattler, the first war screw steamer in the British navy, to be laid down at Sheerness. In the meantime the Archimedes was taken to the principal ports in Great Britain, to Amsterdam, and across the Bay of Biscay to Oporto, everywhere exciting interest, and leaving the impression that the value of the screw had been fully proved. When at Bristol Isambard Kingdom Brunel [q. v.] was invited to visit the vessel, and he was so satisfied with the new propeller that the Great Britain, the first large iron ocean-going steamer, which was originally intended to be fitted with paddles, was altered to adapt her for the reception of a screw. The Rattler was launched in 1843, and on 18 March 1844 Smith's four-bladed screw was tested in her with complete success. Orders were soon given for twenty war vessels to be fitted with it under Smith's superintendence. The hitherto accepted theory that the screw could not economically compete with the paddle because of the loss of power arising from the obliquity of its motion was also completely refuted, and its universal adoption for ships of war and ocean steamers became a mere question of time.

Smith acted as adviser to the admiralty until 1850, but derived from his work for the government and from his commercial operations very inadequate remuneration. In 1856 his patent—upon which an extension of time had been granted—expired, and he retired to Guernsey to devote himself once more to agriculture. But he was in 1860 compelled, by lack of pecuniary means, to accept the post of curator of the patent office museum, South Kensington. This office he held until his death. Some recognition of his services was made by Lord Palmerston in 1855, when a pension of 200l. was conferred upon him, and in 1857 he was the recipient at St. James's Hall of a national testimonial, comprising a service of plate and a purse of nearly 3,000l., which were subscribed for by the whole of the shipbuilding and engineering world. Later, in 1871, the honour of knighthood was conferred on him. He was an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers, member of the Institute of Naval Architects, and of the Royal Society of Arts for Scotland; also corresponding member of the American Institute. He died at South Kensington on 12 Feb. 1874. He was twice married: first, in 1830, to Ann, daughter of William Buck of Folkestone, by whom he had two sons; and secondly, in 1866, to Susannah, daughter of John Wallis of Boxley, Kent. His widow and two sons survived him.

[On the Introduction and Progress of the Screw Propeller, 1856 (consisting of biographical notices of Smith published in various journals in 1855); Woodcroft's Origin and Progress of Steam Navigation, 1848; Treatise on the Screw Propeller by Bourne; Smiles's Industrial Biogr.; Men of the Reign; Illustrated London News; Times, 17 Feb. 1874.]

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The Town & Parish of Hythe

THE PARISH OF HYTHE, at this time within the liberty of the Cinque Ports, and the corporation of the town of Hythe was antiently, with part of the parish of West Hythe, within an hundred of its own name.

It is called in some antient records, Hethe; in Domesday, Hede; and according to Leland, in Latin, Portus Hithinus; Hithe signifying in the Saxon, a harbour or haven. (fn. 1) In the year 1036, Halden, or Half den, as he is sometimes, and perhaps more properly written, one of the Saxon thanes, gave Hethe and Saltwood, to Christ-church, in Canterbury. After which they appear to have been held of the archbishop by knight's service, by earl Godwin; (fn. 2) and after the Norman conquest, in like manner by Hugo de Montfort, one of those who had accompanied William the Conqueror hither, at which time it was accounted only as a borough appurtenant to the manor of Saltwood, as appears by the book of Domesday, taken in the year 1080, where, under the title of lands held of the archbishop by knight's service, at the latter end of the description of that manor, it is said:

To this manor (viz. Saltwood) belong two hundred and twenty-five burgesses in the borough of Hede Between the borough and the manor, in the time of king Edward the Confessor, it was worth sixteen pounds, when he received it eight pounds, and now in the whole twenty-nine pounds and six shillings and four-pence .

Besides which, there appears in the description of the archbishop's manor of Liminge, in the same record, to have been six burgesses in Hede belonging to that manor. Hythe being thus appurtenant to Saltwood, was within the bailiwick of the archbishop, who annually appointed a bailiff, to act jointly for the government of this town and liberty, which seems to have been made a principal cinque port by the Conqueror, on the decay and in the room of the still more antient port of West Hythe, before which it had always been accounted within the liberty of those ports, which had been enfranchised with several privileges and customs, though of what antiquity they were, or when first enfranchised, has not been as yet, with any certainty, discovered; and therefore they are held to enjoy all their earliest liberties and privileges, as time out of mind by prescription. The quota which the port of Hythe was allotted to furnish towards the mutual armament of the ports, being five ships, and one hundred and five men, and five boys, called gromets. (fn. 3)

The archbishop continued in this manner to appoint his bailiff, who acted jointly with the jurats and commonalty of the town and port of Hythe, the senior jurat on the bench always sitting as president, till the 31st year of king Henry VIII. when the archbishop exchanged the manor of Saltwood, together with the bailiwick of Hythe, with the king for other estates elsewhere. After which a bailiff continued to be appointed yearly by the crown, till queen Elizabeth, in her 17th year, granted them a particular charter of incorporation, by the name of mayor, jurats, and commonalty of the town and port of Hythe, under which they continue to be governed at this time; and she likewise granted to the mayor and his successors, all that her bailiwick of Hythe, together with other premises here, to hold by the yearly fee farm of three pounds, by which they are held by the corporation at this time.

The liberty of the town and port of Hytheextends over the whole of this parish, and part of that of West Hythe, which indeed before the harbour of it failed, was the antient cinque port itself, and to which great part of what has been said above of the antient state of Hythe likewise relates, but not over the scite of that church. The corporation consists of a mayor and twelve jurats, of which he is one, and twenty-four common councilmen, together with two chamberlains and a town-clerk. The mayor, who is coroner by virtue of his office, is chosen, as well as the other officcers of the corporation, on Feb. 2d yearly, and, together with the jurats, who are justices within this liberty exclusive of all others, hold a court of general sessions of the peace and gaol delivery, together with a court of record, the same as at Dover; and it has other privileges, mostly the same as the other corporations within the liberties of the five ports. It has the privileges of two maces. The charters of this corporation, as well as those of the other cinque ports, were in 1685, by the king's command, surrendered up to colonel Strode, then governor of Dover castle, and were never returned again.

Hythe has no coat of arms; but the corporation seal represents an antique vessel, with one mast, two men in it, one blowing a horn; and two men lying on the yard arm.

THE PRESENT TOWN OF HYTHE is supposed to owe its origin to the decay of the antient ports of Limne and West Hythe, successively, the harbours of which being rendered useless, by the withdrawing of the sea, and their being banked up with sand, occasioned this of Hythe to be frequented in their stead, and it continued a safe and commodious harbour for considerable length of time, till the same fate befel it likewise, and rendered it wholly useless; and whoever, as Lambarde truly observes, considers either the vicissitude of the sea in different places, and the alterations which in times past, and even now, it works on the coasts of this kingdom, will not be surprized that towns bordering upon the sea, and supported by traffic arising from it, are subject in a short time to decay, and become in a manner of little or no consequence; for as the water either flows or forsakes them, so they must of necessity flourish or decay, flowing and ebbing, as it were, with the sea itself. (fn. 4) Thus after the sea had retired from the town of West Hythe and its haven, the former fell to decay, and became but a small village of no resort, and the present town of Hythe, at two miles distance, to which it was continued by a number of straggling houses all along the shore between them, rose to prosperity, and its harbour became equally noted and frequented in the room of it; so that in a short time the houses and inhabitants increased here so greatly, that Leland says there was once a fair abbey in it, and four parishes and their churches, one of which was that of our Lady of Westhithe, which shews that West Hythe was once accounted a part of the town itself. But this must have been in very early times; for long before king Richard II.'s reign, I find it accounted but as one single parish. The town and harbour of Hythe were by their situation always liable to depredation from enemies; in particular, earl Godwin, when exiled, returned in 1052, and ravaging this coast, took away several vessels lying at anchor in this haven, and Romney; and in king Edward I.'s reign, anno 1293, the French shewed themselves with a great fleet before Hythe, and one of their ships, having two hundred soldiers on board, landed their men in the haven, which they had no sooner done, but the townsmen came upon them and slew every one of them; upon which the rest of the fleet hoisted sail, and made no further attempt. In the latter part of king Richard the IId.'s reign, a dreadful calamity happened to it, when more than two hundred houses of it were burnt down in one day; (fn. 5) and five of their ships were lost, and one hundred men drowned, by which misfortunes the inhabitants were so much impoverished and dispirited, that they had thoughts of abandoning the place, and building themselves a town elsewhere; but king Henry IV. by his timely interposition, prevented this, and by charter released them from their quota of shipping for several turns. The following is Leland's description of it, who wrote in king Henry VIII.'s reign, "Hythe hath bene a very great towne yn lenght and conteyned iiii paroches, that now be clene de stroied, that is to say, S. Nicholas paroche, our Lady paroche, S. Michael paroche, and our Lady of West Hithe, the which ys with yn less than half a myle of Lymne hill. And yt may be well supposed that after the haven of Lymne and the great old towne ther fayled that Hithe strayt therby encresed and was yn price. Finally to cownt fro Westhythe to the place wher the substan of the towne ys now ys ii good myles yn lenght al along on the shore to which the se cam ful sumtym, but now by banking of woose and great casting up of shyngel the se is sumtyme a quarter, dim. a myle fro the old shore. In the tyme of king Edw 2 ther were burned by casuelte xviii score houses and mo, and strayt followed a great pestilens, and thes ii thinges minished the towne. There remayn yet the ruines of the chyrches and chyrch yardes. It evidently appereth that wher the paroch chirch is now was sumtyme a fayr abbey, &c. In the top of the chirch yard is a fayr spring and therby ruines of howses of office of the abbey. The havyn is a prety rode and liith meatly strayt for passage owt of Boleyn; yt croketh yn so by the shore a long and is so bakked fro the mayne se with casting of shingil that smaul shippes may cum up a large myle towards Folkestan as in a sure gut." Though Leland calls it a pretty road, yet it then seems to have been in great measure destroyed by the sands and beach cast up on this shore, by the desertion of the sea, for he describes it as being at that time as only a small channel or gut left, which ran within shore for more than a mile eastward from Hythe towards Folkestone, that small vessels could come up it with safety; and the state of the town and trade of it in queen Elizabeth's time, may be seen by a survey made by her order in her 8th year, of the maritime parts of this county, in which it was returned, that there were here, a customer, controller, and searcher, their authority several; houses inhabited, 122; persons lacking habitation, 10; creeks and landing places two; th'on called the Haven, within the liberties; th'other called the Stade, without the liberties. It had of shipping, 17 tramellers of five tunne, seven shoters of 15; three crayers of 30, four crayers of 40; persons belonging to these crayers and other boats, for the most part occupied in fishing,

Soon after this, even the small channel within land, above-mentioned, which served as the only remaining harbour, became likewise swarved up and lost, though it had the advantage of the Seabrook, and other streams, which came down from the down hills, as a back water, to keep it scowered and open; and though several attempts were from time to time afterwards made, at no small expence and trouble, to open it again, yet it never could be effected; and the abovementioned streams, for want of this channel, flow now towards the beach on the shore, and lose themselves imperceptibly among it.

The parish of Hythe, which is wholly within the liberty of the corporation, extends from the sea shore, the southern bounds of it, northward up the hill a very little way beyond the church, which is about half a mile, and from the bridge at the east end of the town westward, about half way up the hill towards Newingreen, being more than a mile and an half. The town, which contains about two hundred houses, is situated exceedingly pleasant and healthy, on the side as well as at the foot of the quarry-hill, where the principal street is, which is of a handsome breadth, and from the bridges at the extremities of it, about half a mile in length. It has been lately new paved, and otherwise much improved. The court-hall and market place are near the middle of it, the latter was built by Philip, viscount Strangford, who represented this port in parliament anno 12 Charles II. His arms those of the five ports; of Boteler; and of Amhurst, who served likewise in parliament for it, and repaired this building, are on the pillars of it. There are two good inns; and near the east end of it St. John's hospital. Higher up on the side of the hill, where the old town of Hythe is supposed once to have stood, are parallel streets, the houses of which are very pleasantly situated; several of them are handsome houses, occupied by genteel families of good account, the principal one of them has been the seat of the family of Deedes for several generations.

This family have resided at Hythe, in good estimation, for upwards of two hundred years; the first of them that I meet with being Thomas Deedes, who by Elizabeth his wife, sister of Robert Glover, esq. Somerset herald, a most learned and judicious antiquary, had one son Julius Deedes, whose youngest son Robert had a grant of arms confirmed to him, and Julius his nephew and their heirs, by Byshe, clarencieux, in 1653, Per fess, nebulee, gules and argent, three martlets, counter changed , which have been borne by the different branches of this family ever since. William, the youngest son but one, left a son William, the first who appears to have resided at Hythe. He died in 1653, and was buried in this church, which has ever since remained the burial place of this family. He had one only son Julius Deedes, esq. who was of Hythe, for which he was chosen in three several parliaments, and died in 1692, having had three sons, of whom William, the eldest, was ancestor to the Deedes's of Hythe, and of St. Stephen's, as will be mentioned hereafter; Henry, the second son, was of Hythe, gent. whose eldest son Julius, was of Hythe, esq. and died without surviving issue, upon which this seat, among the rest of his estates, came by the entail in his will, to his aunt Margaret Deedes, who dying unmarried, they came, by the same entail, to her cousin William Deedes, esq. late of Hythe, and of St. Stephen's, being descended from William, the eldest son of Julius, who died in 1692, and was a physician at Canterbury, whose son Julius was prebendary of Canterbury, and left one son William, of whom hereafter; and Dorothy, married to Sir John Filmer, bart. of East Sutton, by whom she had no issue. William Deedes, esq. the only surviving son before-mentioned, of Hythe and St. Stephen's, possessed this seat at Hythe, with several other estates in this neighbourhood, by the above entail. He married Mary, daughter of Thomas Bramston, esq. of Skreens, in Essex, and died in 1793, leaving surviving two sons, William, of whom hereafter; John, who married Sophia, daughter of Gen. Forbes, and one daughter Mary, unmarried. William Deedes, esq. the eldest son, is now of Hythe, and married Sophia, second daughter of Sir Brook Bridges, bart. by whom he has two sons and three daughters.

Further westward is St. Bartholomew's hospital. Opposite Mr. Deedes's house, but still higher up, with a steep ascent, is the church, the hill reaching much above it northward. On the upper part of this hill, are several springs, which gush out of the rock, and run into the streams which flow at each end of the town. All the houses situated on the side of the hill, have an uninterrupted view of the sea southward, Romney Marsh, and the adjoining country. The houses throughout it are mostly modern built, and the whole has a neat and chearful appearance. There is a boarding-school kept in the town for young ladies, and on the beach there are bathing machines for the accommodation of invalids. There was formerly a market on a Saturday, which has been long since discontinued, though the farmers have for some time held a meeting here on a Thursday, for the purpose of selling their corn; and two fairs yearly, formerly held on the seasts of St. Peter and St. Edmund the King, now, on July 10th and December 1st, for horses and cattle, very few of which are brought, and shoes and pedlary.

Here is a small fort, of six guns, for the protection of the town and fishery, which till lately belonged to the town, of which it was bought by government, but now rendered useless, by its distance from the sea, from the land continuing to gain upon it; the guns have therefore been taken out. Soon after the commencement of the war, three new forts, of eight guns each, were erected, at the distance of a mile from each other, viz. Twis, Sutherland, and Moncrief; they contain barracks for 100 men each. Every summer during the present war a park of royal artillery has been established on the beech between the forts and the town, for the practice of guns and mortars; and here is a branch of the customs, subordinate to the out port of Dover. This town is watered by two streams; one at the east end of it, being the boundary between this parish and Newington; and the other at the west end, called the Slabrooke, which comes from Saltwood, and runs from hence, by a channel lately made for that purpose, into the sea, which has now left this town somewhat more than half a mile, much the same distance as in Leland's time, the intermediate space being entirely beach and shingle-stones, (the great bank of which lines this shore for upwards of two miles in length) on which, at places, several houses and buildings have been erected, and some parts have been inclosed, with much expence, and made pasture ground of, part of which is claimed by different persons, and the rest by the corporation as their property.

THE CINQUE PORTS, as well as their two antient towns of Rye and Winchelsea, have each of them the privilege of returning members, usually stiled barons to parliament; the first returns of which, that are mentioned for any of them, are in the 42d year of king Edward III.

The following is a list of such returns of the barons which have been returned to parliament for the port of Hythe, from the beginning of Elizabeth's reign.


Years of the Reign, &c. Names of the Barons in Parliament.

1st. At Westminster. Ralph Hasilherst, Ralph Hasilherst.

5th.— Edward Popham, gent. John Bridgman, gent.

13th. — William Cromer, esq. John Stephens, gent.

14th. — Thomas Honywood, esq. John Bridgman, gent.

27th. — Christopher Honywood, gent. George Moreton.

28th.— John Smith, William Dalmington, gent.

31st. — John Smith, gent. John Collins, gent.

35th. — Henry Fane, esq. John Collins, gent.

39th.— Christopher Honywood, Christopher Toldervy, esqrs.

43d. — William Knight, mayor, Christopher Toldervy, esq.


1st. — John Smith, Christopher Toldervy, esqrs.

12th. — —.

18th.— Peter Heyman, Richard Zouch, LL. D.

21st. — The same.


Years of the Reign, &c. Names of the Barons in Parliament.

1st. At WestminIst. At Westmin Edward Dering, knt. Edward Clarke, esq.

1st.— Peter Heyman, knt. Basill Dixwell, esq.

3d. Peter Heyman, Edward Scot, knts.

15th. — Henry Heyman, John Wansford, esqrs.

16th. — Henry Heyman, bart. John Harvey, esq.


12th. — 1660. Philip, viscount Strangford, Phineas Andrews, esq.

13th.— 1661. John Harvey, esq. Phineas Andrews, esq.

31st. — 1678. Edward Dering, bart. Julius Deedes.

31st. — 1679. Edward Dering, bart. Edward Hales, esq.


1st.– 1685. Hon. Heneage Finch, Julius Deedes, esq.


Years of the Reign, &c. Names of the Barons in Parliament.

1st. At Westminster, 1688. Edward Hales, Julius Deedes, esqrs.

2d. – 1690. Philip Boteler, bart. William Brockman, esq.


7th. – 1695. Philip Boteler, bart. Jacob Desbouverie, esq.

10th. – 1698. The same.

12th. – 1700. Philip Boteler, bart. John Boteler, esq.

13th. – 1701. The same.


1st. – 1702. Philip Boteler, bart. John Boteler, esq.

4th. – 1705. The same.

7th. – 1708. Hon. John Fane, John Boteler, esq.

9th.– 1710. Richard, viscount Shannon, Hon. John Fane.

12th. – 1713. Jacob Desbouverie, esq. John Boteler, esq.

Deedes, the mayor, is not duly elected. New writ ordered in his stead. Journals, vol. ix. William Shaw, esq. was chosen in his room.


Years of the Reign, &c. Names of the Barons in Parliament.

1st. At Westminster, 1714. Sir Samuel Lennard, bart. Jacob Desbouverie, esq.

7th. – 1722. Sir Samuel Lennard, bart. Hercules Baker, esq.


1st. – 1727. Sir S. Lennard, knt. and bart. Hercules Baker, esq.

7th. – 1734. Hercules Baker, William Glanville, esqrs.

14th. – 1741. Hercules Baker, William Glanville, esqrs.

21st. – 1747. William Glanville, esq. Sir Thomas Hales, bart.

28th. – 1754. The Same.


1st. – 1761. William Glanville, esq. Lord George Sackville.

7th. – 1768. John Sawbridge, Wm. Glanville Evelyn, esqrs.

14th. – 1774. Sir Charles Farnaby, bart. William Evelyn, esq.

20th. – 1780. The Same.

24th. – 1784. The Same.

30th. At Westminster, 1790. Sir Charles Farnaby, bart. William Evelyn, esq.

36th. – 1796. The same.

The right of election, as was determined by the house of commons in 1710, at which time the number of the electors were fifty, is in the mayor, jurats, common council, and freemen, making together in number at present in all about one hundred and thirty-six, that is mayor and jurats twelve, commoners twenty four, freemen one hundred and seventy-three, of which altogether there are only twentytwo residents.

The barons, or freemen of the cinque ports, and their two antient towns, have, time out of mind, been allowed to carry the canopy over the king and queen at their coronations, and afterwards to have the same, with their appurtenances, as their accustomed fees; and also to sit the same day at the principal table, at the right side of the hall. These fees of the canopies and bells, the barons divide equally among themselves. (fn. 17) This is called, in the charter of Edward I. their honors at court, to perform which they formerly received summons, but they have long since been used to put in their claim by petition, and at the time of a coronation, a special election is made by each port, of thirty-two of their respective barons to serve for this purpose; the number for Hythe being usually two for each canopy.

THERE ARE TWO HOSPITALS in this parish, for the maintenance of the poor; one called St. Bartholomew's, and the other St.John's. The former, now called St. Bartholomew's hospital, seems to have been that which was at first intended to be founded in this parish by Hamo, bishop of Rochester, in 1336 (fn. 18) on the spot where he and his ancestors had their origin, and was dedicated by him to St. Andrew the Apostle, the patron saint of his church of Rochester. When it first changed its name to St. Bartholomew, I have not found, but I have not met with the name of St.Andrew any where but in the bishop's charter of foundation, now how he came afterwards to alter his intention, and to found it in the parish of Saltwood instead of Hythe, but so it appears he did, for it is universally described as the hospital of St.Bartholomew of Saltwood, from whence it was not removed till after the year 1685, to its present situation in Hythe. Although the foundation was to have by the king's licence, xiii poor in it, yet the bishop, by his charter for that purpose, as may be seen hereafter, placed in it at first only ten brethren and sisters, who were to be chosen especially from such of this parish who had fallen from affluence to poverty, who were to be clothed uniformly in russet gowns, and to have four-pence each a week alms for their food. They were to attend divine service in their own chapel, if they had one, or otherwise in this parish church, and the rest of the day employ themselves in useful and honest occupations; and if the revenues should at any time be increated, the number of poor and their stipends, with the authority of the diocesan, should be augmented likewise; which seems to have happened afterwards, and the full number of xiii, mentioned above, to have been admitted, and continued in it for some length of time. In the 26th year of king Henry VIII. the revenues of it were valued in the king's books at 4l. 6s. per annum; and in the 5th year of queen Elizabeth, anno 1562, as appears by the return of archbishop Parker, at eight pounds per annum, with the charges; at which time there were xiii poor, according to the foundation, who were relieved by alms in it. This hospital is now situated in this parish of Hythe, at no great distance south-westward from the church. There are ten poor persons in it, five men and five women, who have each about nine pounds per annum in money, with an apartment, coals, and other emoluments. There are about one hundred acres of land belonging to it, which lie near it, of the yearly value of about one hundred and twenty pounds per annum. It is under the management of three trustees, now called wardens, chosen by the mayor and corporation. The owner of the manor of Postling has a nomination of one of the poor persons in this hospital, as is supposed from his having been at some time a benefactor to it. Mrs. Margaret Deedes, of Hythe, by will in 1762, left five pounds per annum to this hospital, payable out of land now in Mr. Deedes's possession.

THE OTHER HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN, is situated at the east end of the town. The founder of it, as well as the time of its foundation, is totally unknown. further than that it appears by the charter above-mentioned, of Hamo, bishop of Rochester, in 1330, to have existed at that time, and to have been founded especially for the relief of lepers, excepting that Henry Skinner of Hythe, by will anno 1461, gave to the alms house of St.John Baptist, of Hythe, a piece of land lying at St.Nicholas, and Richard Cromp, of Hythe, mercer, by will anno 1580 in that reign, gave to the alms-house of Hythe, and to the perpetual relief of the poor members of Christ there entertained, ten acres of land lying in Biddenden, both which I suppose were intended for this hospital, from which time till the reign of queen Elizabeth, I meet with nothing more concerning it; but in the account given by archbishop Parker, in the 5th year of it, anno 1562, of the state of the hospitals in his diocese, by order of the queen, he returned, that the hospital of St.John of Hythe was founded, ordered, and charitably only maintained by the jurats and commonalty of the said town; and that there were kept daily and maintained eight beds, for the needy poor people, and such as were maimed in the wars, and further, that the hospital was endowed with lands amounting to six pounds per annum, but that it was not taxed to the tenths. (fn. 19) The revenues of it at present consist of fifty-four acres of land, of the value of 57l. 16s. per annum. It is under the management of trustees, who are in general members of the corporation, and when their number is reduced to two, they are to chuse as many more as they think proper. The number and qualifications of the poor relieved is at the discretion of the trustees, and there are six apartments in it for their accommodation. It is situated on the south side of the high street; the front of it has an old gothic arch for its entrance, and over it a window of the like form. Near this, eastward, was another stone building, of like fashion, belonging to it, which has been lately pulled down, and the scite and materials converted into a tanner's barn.


THOMAS WALTON, of Hythe by will anno 1508, ordered his feoffees to enfeoffe the churchwardens of Hythe, in his piece of land called the Kowleeze, lying at Damycott, to the use and reparation of the church for ever; which land is now in two pieces, which are let together at 2l. 6s. per annum.

WILLIAM LANGDON, of Hythe, by will anno 1581, gave 12d. yearly to the reparation of the church here, to be raised out of his then dwelling house here for ever; and 6d. yearly out of his shop, called the Fordge; and 6d. likewise yearly for ever out of a garden, called Hopis-hall.

LAURENCE WELLER, of Hythe, tanner, by will anno 1663, gave to the poor of Hythe 3l. to be distributed on the day of his funeral; and he gave to the poor of this parish a parcel of meadow and pasture land, lying in Saltwood, containing two acres. And the sum of 80l. which he directed that the churchwardens, with the consent of the mayor and jurats, should lay out and secure in lands, the yearly profit to remain for ever, to be from time to time employed towards putting out apprentices, one or more poor children, whose fathers or mothers were dead, or whose mothers were widows; and in default of such poor children, whose parents were no ways able to provide for them; and on the churchwardens or overseers neglecting to observe his will in this behalf, then he wills the benefit of it to the use of the poor of Saltwood, till such time as the parish officers of Hythe should perform the same. The annual produce of which bequest is now 12l, 2s, 6d. per annum.

JOHN BROWN gave by will 20l. the interest of it to be distributed among the poor of this parish on every Easter-day.

There is a charity school in this parish, supported by voluntary contributions, to which-Dr. Tenison, bishop of Ossory, gave a piece of land at Kennington, held by lease from the dean and chapter of Canterbury, now let for 1l. 7s. per annum.

There have been several scarce plants observed in and about this parish, and among others

Papaver cornutum flore luteo, yellow horned poppy; plentifully on the beach along the sea shore here.

Behen flore albo elegantiori; all along upon the beach between this place and Romney.

The PARISH OF HYTHE is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Eleham.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Leonard, is a fine handsome building, consisting of three isles, a north and south cross, and three chancels, with a tower steeple at the west end, in which are six bells and a clock. The church stands on the side of a high and steep hill, a considerable height above any of the town, having a very large church-yard adjoining, mostly on the west and north sides, in the middle of which is a large open well of water, under a cove of the quarry stone. There is a very handsome flight of many stone steps up to the church, given by William Glanville, representative in 1729. The room over the porch at the entrance, is the town-hall, where the mayor and other members of it are yearly chosen. The tower, built in the room of the old one, which suddenly fell down in 1748, was rebuilt, and the church repaired, by a brief. It is a very fine one, of excellent masonry of quarry stone, with ashlar quoins and ornaments, and has four turrets on the top. The middle isle has, not long since, been paved with Portland stone, and new pewed. There are two galleries; one built at the charge of the parish, in 1750; the other by Hercules Baker and William Glanville, representatives, in 1734. In the middle hangs a handsome brass branch. This isle has a row of small upper windows on each side, being an upper story in the choir fashion. The south cross, at the time the tower was new built, and the church repaired, was taken down by the family of Deedes and rebuilt by them, with a vault of its full size underneath, for their burial, which was finished in 1751, at their own charge; for this, and for appropriating to themselves and servants four pews in this isle, they obtained a faculty. This cross isle or chancel is paved with Portland stone, and is separated from the south isle by an iron railing. In it are several monuments of the Deedes family. On the west side of the north cross, there appears on the outside to have been an antient door-way, the arch over it being circular, with zig zag ornaments, &c. The ground on the outside is nearly up to the spring of the arch, and there are no appearances of it on the inside. The three chancels are very antient indeed, much more so than the isles, from which there is an ascent to each; the pillars in them are inclustered with small ones of Bethersden marble, and both the arches and windows very beautiful and lofty. The middle or high chancel has a grand approach, having eight steps to it from the middle isle, and three more towards the altar. The windows are very light and losty, especially the three at the east end, which are remarkably elegant. There are, round the upper part of it and on the south side, small double arches and Bethersden pillars, similar to those on the sides of the choir in Canterbury cathedral. The whole is new paved with Portland stone. The north chancel, which, as well as the opposite one, has a rise of steps from the isle, has no inscription in it. The pillars of both these chancels have an unusually large base, of near three feet high, and about five feet square, upon the surface of the pavement. The rector formerly repaired the high chancel; but on account of the smallness of his living, the parish took upon themselves the repair of it, and in lieu assessed him to a small portion of the church rate. In this church are numbers of monuments and memorials; among others, for the family of Deedes, for the Master's and Collins's. Memorials for Isaac Rutton, lieutenant of Dover castle, obt. 1683; for Henry Estday, gent. obt. 1610; for Robert Kelway, A. M. rector of Hope, &c. obt. 1759. An inscription on brass for John Bredgman, the last bailiff and the first mayor of Hythe, obt. 24 Elizabeth, 1581. For several of the Knights, arms, A chevron, between three birds ; and a monument for Robinson Bean, gent. ten times mayor here, &c. &c.

Leland says, as has been already mentioned before, that it evidently appeared, where the church now is was once an abbey, and the ruins of the offices belonging to it were in his time to be seen, near the spring in the church-yard; but there have been no traces of any such buildings for a long time, nor any mention made of such foundation by any other writer.

In the cript or vault under the east end of the middle chancel, is piled up that vast quantity of human sculls and bones, so often mentioned in this history, the pile of them being twenty-eight feet in length, and eight feet in height and breadth. They are by the most probable conjectures supposed to have been the remains of the Britons, slain in a bloody battle, fought on the shore between this place and Folkestone, with the retreating Saxons, in the year 456, and to have attained their whiteness by lying for some length of time exposed on the sea shore. Several of the sculls have deep cuts in them, as if made by some heavy weapon, most likely of the Saxons.

Leland's authority has been mentioned for there having been four parish churches, viz. St. Nicholas, Our Lady, St. Michael, and Our Lady of Westhithe, at the time this town was in its greatest prosperity, which were then clean destroyed, as he expresses it; and that there remained the ruins of them and the church-yards in his time. And though I meet with no other mention of them by other writers, yet there are probable circumstances, to think there were once more parishes and their churches here than the present parish and church of St. Leonard; for it appears by the map of the hospital lands, made in 1685, that there is a field about half a mile westward from Hythe church, called St. Nicholas's church-yard, with some ruins of a building at the south-west corner of it. Upon the side of the quarry-hills, between Hythe town and West Hythe, is another field, called St. Michael's Ash, probably from that church having been once near it. This will account for two of these churches, Our Lady of West Hythe is the third, and the fourth which he calls Our Lady, I should think means the present church, which might perhaps in early times be so called. However, I find the present one of St. Leonard, mentioned as the only parish church of Hythe as early as the 8th of Richard II. several years before the dreadful conflagration abovementioned happened, which is said to have been the ruin of the town of Hythe. This church of St. Leonard being exempt from the jurisdiction of the arch deacon, has always been accounted as a chapel of ease to the adjoining church of Saltwood, to the manor of which this borough of Hythe was ever appurtenant; accordingly it is, with that rectory, in the patronage of the archbishop, the rector of Saltwood being collated and inducted to the rectory of Saltwood, with the chapel of Hythe appurtenant to it.

It is included in the king's books in the valuation of the rectory of Saltwood. In 1588 here were communicants five hundred and sixty.

There was formerly a chantry in this church, which was suppressed with others of the same kind anno I and 2 Edward VI. when the incumbent William Decon, had a yearly pension of six pounds

Footnotes 1. Lamb. Peramb. p. 184. Spelman's Gloss. p. 277.

  1. Battely's Somner, pt. i. appendix, p. 49.

  2. Jeake's Charters of the Cinque Ports, p. 23.

  3. See Lambarde's Perambulation, p. 187.

  4. See Leland's Itinerarty, vol. vi. p. 11.

  5. See an account of him in Wood's Ath. vol. ii. col. 255.

  6. On his death Thomas Westrow, esq. was chosen.

  7. The year before the restoration, Sir Robert Hales, knight and baronet, and William Kenrick, esq. were chosen by this port to parliament.

  8. In 1672, a new writ was ordered in the room of Sir Henry Wood, deceased, petition of Edward Hales, esq. referred. Journals, vol. ix. Again in 1674 petition of Mr. Hales referred, resolved, that Sir Lioline Jenkins is duly elected. Journals, ibid.

  9. In 1685, information given, that the mayor had returned himself, resolved by the house of commons, that Mr. Julius.

  10. Afterwards earl of Westmoreland.

  11. They were declared unduly elected by the house of commons, on the petition of William Berners and John Boteler, esq. who were declared duly elected in their stead. Journals, vol. xvi. On William Berners's death in 1712, Richard, viscount Shannon, was elected in his room.

  12. He died in 1728, and William Glanville, esq. was chosen in his room.

  13. He died in 1744, and Thomas Hales, esq. was chosen in his room.

  14. He died in 1766, and Col. William Amherst, (youngest brother of Jeffry, lord Amherst) was chosen in his room.

  15. Sir Charles Farnaby, bart. who had taken the name of Radcliffe, died in 1798, and the hon. Charles Marsham, eldest son of lord Romney, was chosen in his room.

  16. See Jeake's Charter's of the Cinque Ports, p. 129.

  17. This charter is sealed by the bishop, and by the community of the port of Hethe, with their common seal, anno 10th Edward III. See Reg. Roff. p. 413. Dugd. Mon. vol. ii. p. 468. Rot. Pat. 10 Edward III, p. I, m. 14. Tan. Mon. p. 225.

  18. Strype's Life of archbishop Parker, p. 114.

  19. See Raii Synopsis, p. 142, 252, 337, 375, 423. Hudson, p. 186, 307, 405. Merrett's Pinax, p. 14.

  20. Willia's Mitred Abbeys, vol. ii. 105.


WRITTEN in Domesday,Werde, is the next hundred south-westward from Hythe. In the 20th year of king Edward III. it was written as at present.


  1. WEST HYTHE in part.






And the churches of those parishes; and likewise part of the parishes of LIMNE AND NEWCHURCH, the churches of which are in other hundreds.

This hundred, excepting that part of the parish of West Hythe within the bounds of it, lies wholly in the district of Romney Marsh, and within the liberties and jurisdiction of the justices of the same.

It was intended to have described all the parishes lying on the quarry-hills above the marsh first, and then those in the marsh altogether, in order to prevent the frequent change from the marsh to the upland country and back again, in the descriptions of them; but the hundreds remaining undescribed in this lath extending promiscuously over parishes both on the hills and in the marsh, has entirely prevented that method being pursued.

WEST HYTHE LIES the next adjoining parish south-westward from the township and parish of Hythe, last-described. It was at first called simply Hythe, and in after times Old Hythe, (fn. 1) in comparison of the new and more prosperous town which rose out of its ruins, but more usually West Hythe, from its situation westward of it. Great part of this parish is a member of the town and port of Hythe, and within the jurisdiction of the justices of it, the liberty of which and of the cinque ports claim over so much of it; the residue, being the north-west part, in which the church stood, is within the hundred of Worth, and jurisdiction of the justices of the county. The manor of Wye extends over a small part of this parish.

This place seems to have been but of small consequence, whilst the neighbouring harbour of Limne remained in a flourishing state; but when that was deserted by the sea, and the ships by that means hindered from coming to it, this haven of West Hythe succeeded in turn, and became the usual resort for shipping in its stead, and the town here increased in proportion as that of Limne decayed. But this was of no long duration, for the sea continuing to decrease from this coast, after no great length of time, left this haven likewise so choaked up with beach and sand, that it became entirely useless, and the shipping were necessicated to stop eastward at Hythe, the haven of which then became the usual resort in the room of it; but the same inconstancy of that fluctuating element prevailed after some time there too, and destroyed that harbour in like manner, by withdrawing its waters from it, so that now the sea does not flow near it for the space of near half a mile, nor to this place for three times that distance.

The particular times of the destruction of these havens, by the sea deserting them, has never been ascertained. That of Limne was after the Romans had left this island, and it must have been during the time of the Saxons, perhaps in their earliest time here; for in the reign of king Edward the Consessor, this of West Hythe was become of such resort and consequence, that it was esteemed as one of the cinque ports. From which time the town is said to have greatly increased, insomuch that Leland seems to infer that it in some measure reached all along the shore, to where the substance of Hythe now is, as one of the same town, in which there were three churches besides this of Our Lady of West Hythe, the ruins of which, as well as the church-yards, remained in his time; and although there is great probability of the truth of these circumstances, yet there is no mention of them by any one else, any more than there is, that this town of West Hythe, where the ruins of the church then remained, was more particularly that which was burnt along the shore in the reign of Richard II. as has been already fully related before. When this haven of West Hythe was rendered useless, and that of Hythe, eastward of it, resorted to in its stead, has only been conjectured; but most probably it was not long before the Norman conquest, at which time lord Coke says, Hythe was added to the other ports, which I should apprehend means the present port, in the room of the old one of West Hythe, which thenceforward became only a member to the new one. Some place the Roman port, called Portus Lemanis, at West Hythe, and others at Hythe; among the latter is Baxter, forming their conjectures from the derivation of the name; but neither of these places are of sufficient antiquity for this purpose, and however the learned may disagree where that port was, they in general agree, that it was not at either of these places.

The parish lies on the ridge of quarry or sand hills, and extends below them westward as far as Botolphs bridge, now vulgarly called Butters bridge, the two houses near which are within the bounds of it, and southward quite to the sea shore between the parishes of Hythe and Dimchurch. There is no village; but there are about fifteen straggling houses, and the ruins of the church, at the foot of the hill, close to the marsh grounds. Several large thriving elms grow near the foot of the hill, going down to the church; a tree very rare indeed near this place.

It is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURIDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Limne.

The church, which was dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary, has been long since in ruins; it appears to have been very small, and consisted of one small isle, and a still smaller chancel. The west, north, and part of the south walls are standing. The arch between the isle and chancel is gothic, as is that of the door at the west end, over which is an arch of Roman brick, but not the work of that people; there is a small window likewise in the south wall, turned with the same brick, but of modern work. It probably fell to decay at the very latter end of king Henry VII. or beginning of king Henry VIII.'s reign; for in the 17th year of the former, Robert Beverlye, vicar, was buried in the choir of it; and when Leland wrote, about the middle of the latter reign, about forty years afterwards, he represents it as then in ruins.

This church is a vicarage, in the patronage of the archdeacon of Canterbury, who has likewise the appropriation of the great tithes. In the 8th year of king Richard II. this vicarage was valued at four pounds, and on account of the smallness of its income, not taxed to the tenth. It is valued in the king's books at 8l. 14s. 4½d. and the yearly tenths at 17s. 5¼d. In 1588 here were communicants fiftythree; in 1640, forty; and it was valued at fortyfour pounds. Before the civil wars of king Charles I. there was paid twelve-pence an acre to the vicar for marsh-land in this parish; but the incumbent, to ingratiate himself with the parishioners, abated twopence per acre; so that there has been only tenpence paid ever since.

The christenings, marriages, burials, and other occasional duties, are performed at Limne church, for which the vicar pays to the vicar of Limne an annual acknowledgment.

This vicarage is now of about twenty-seven pounds clear annual income.

Church of West Hythe.

Patrons, Vicars.

Or by whom presented.

Archdeacon of Canterbury. William Merricke, Sept. 23, 1595, obt. 1610.

James Hyrst, A. M. May 29, 1610, resigned 1615.

Barnaby Pownall, Dec. 20, 1615, resigned 1629.

William Kennet, A. M. July 25, 1629, obt. 1633.

Stephen Sackett, A. M. Nov. 9, 1633, obt. 1679.

William Coleman, clerk, May 10, 1679.

William Newton, March 12, 1719, resigned 1732.

John Sackett, A. M. June 16, 1732, obt. 1753.

William Howdell, A. M. 1753, the present vicar.


  1. See Leland's Itinerary, vol. vi. p. II.

  2. See Harleian MSS. No.6997.

  3. Likewise curate of Wingham. He wrote the Antiquities of Maidstone. He resigned this vicarage on being presented to the rectory of Gillingham, in Dorsetshire.

  4. See Folkestone, of which parish he was likewise curate.

Hythe Archaeological Evidence

There are few archaeological data for the town of Hythe and slightly more for its surroundings. Since the mid 1950s there have been six very small excavations. The Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) for the area of study records the following evidence. Unprovenanced material and historic buildings have been omitted. Click the arrows for detailed information.

Iron Age

Iron age pottery has been discovered on the ridge above Stutfall Castle, Lympne, (Collins 1992, 8).

An iron age ditch with sloping sides and a flat bottom was traced for c. 20m to the west of St Leonards church, at TR 15503495. The ditch contained daub, animal bones and iron age potsherds of c. 500-350 BC, sealed by a deposit containing daub, oyster shells, animal bones, iron nails and iron age, Roman and medieval potsherds. The iron age features are thought to represent a small settlement (Willson 1984, 150-155).


Building foundations, bricks and tiles were discovered in 1864 at the south-east corner of Harp Wood,(VCH III, 134).

Much Romano-British material was collected from the fields through which Stone Street (now a footpath) runs. The finds include many Samian and coarse-ware sherds plus two coins of late third century date (Bradshaw 1971, 238).

A dispersed scatter of Roman pottery and tiles was discovered during field walking north of Berwick Lane, Lympne in 1992-3 (Glass 1993).

Romano-British material including coins, coarse pottery, Samian ware and tiles, suggesting a building nearby, were found in 1992-3 during field walking north of Berwick Lane,(Glass 1993).

Stutfall castle (Portus Lemanis). Excavations in 1850 and 1894 revealed east, west and north walls surrounding an irregularly shaped fort with a bathhouse and part of the headquarters building (principia). The main east gate was also excavated. Eleven tiles stamped with variations of CLBR (Classis Britannica), a Romano-British altar and 261 coins were found. Further small-scale excavations from 1976 to 1978 produced a revised plan but no trace of an earlier Classis Britannica base. Work carried out 19781981 on nearby farmland and marsh to the south revealed a storm beach containing large quantities of Romano-British material including tile fragments and a worn stamp of Classis Britannica type, suggesting that the Classis Britannica base lay c. 1km south of the later fort (Cunliffe 1980, 227-228; Horsley 1894; Philp 1982, 175-191; Smith 1850, 233-268). The later fort is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, SAM Kent 74.

Prehistoric, Romano-British and medieval pottery was recovered during field walking c. 1992 on The Roughs above Burmarsh Road, West Hythe (Collins 1992). A coin of Gordianus Pius was found between North Road and the Small Arms School, Hythe (OS Record Card).


Saxon brooches, beads and other material have been found north of Hillcrest Road, Hythe. Saxon brooches and a spindle were exhibited in 1863 and part of a square-headed brooch of c. AD 600, found in the same area, was displayed at Folkestone. The finds are thought to represent a group of Saxon burials. Saxon inhumation burials are marked on the 1872 OS map, (Meaney 1964, 125).

In 1947-8 a Saxon occupation site was excavated on the sand dunes at Sandtun, West Hythe, at TR 12143388. The finds included hearths, fishhooks, shears, scramasaxes, bronze pins, an almost complete Merovingian pot of continental pattern and large quantities of bones of cod. An infant burial and the burial of a cat were also found at the site, but it is not certain whether they are contemporary with the occupation debris. An adult burial and that of another child were reported from the area during the Second World War. The site was interpreted as a seasonal occupation site, probably a summer-camp for fishermen. The lower level of the excavation revealed an eighth to ninth century North French spouted pitcher; the upper level produced a sherd of eleventh to twelfth century pottery from Normandy. Both layers yielded rough sherds of early medieval pottery, possibly of middle Saxon date (Hurst 1959, 21). The site was re-examined from 1993-1998 in advance of housing development and for research purposes (Gardiner 2001). The site was located on a sandbank near the mouth of a gradually silting inlet and was occupied from c.700 AD until the later ninth century. Evidence was recovered from a diverse range of activities including bone-working, spindlewhorl manufacturing and fishing. Salt-making is also referred to in documentary evidence. There was also metalwork typical of rural sites of the period. The pottery assemblage contained a high proportion of imported types and the excavators suggest that the site may have served as a landing-place for trading ships.

Saxon vases are reported to have been found below Shepway Cross on Lympne Hill, Lympne (OS Record Card).

Sherds of Saxo-Norman and medieval pottery, animal bone, tile and possible house platforms were discovered c. 1992 during field walking on The Roughs above Burmarsh Road (Collins 1992).


St Stephens church, Lympne.

Lympne castle. A fortified manor house of the Archdeacons of Canterbury, built 1420-1430, restored several times in the twentieth century (Rigold 1969, 260-262; Vallance 1932, 294).

The remains of St Marys church, West Hythe. Now roofless with the nave still standing but the chancel collapsed almost entirely (Livett 1914a 251-257; DoE 1973, 34). The church is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, SAM. Kent 147.

Lambardes Carde of c. 1570 shows a beacon at Lympne. The beacon system dropped out of use after 1640. Although Beacon Fields are shown at TR 123348 and TR 128349. There is nothing to be seen on the ground (White 1934).

West Hythe deserted medieval village (?), No visible remains and a doubtful site (Beresford and Hurst 1971).

Trial trenches through the site of the church of St Nicholas, exposed some fragmentary walling; one stretch c. 1m long and c. 0.7m wide may have formed part of the nave. In 1902 many bones but no building foundations were discovered while levelling the slope at the eastern side of St Nicholas churchyard. 1978 excavations revealed a medieval ditch cutting through a deposit containing potsherds of c. AD 1300, and a grave on an east-west axis with the remains of an adult with the head to the west and the left arm across the chest. Four iron nails were found close to the skull, suggesting a wooden coffin. There may have been a small medieval settlement here (Elliston-Erwood 1954, 216; Livett 1914a, 257- 261; Willson 1984, 150-155).

Sculpted stones and some bones were discovered c. 1874 when building Cannongate Road, Hythe. This may be the site of the church of St Mary mentioned by Leland in his Itineraries (Livett 1914a, 261).

The site of the medieval St Johns Hospital in the High Street, Hythe at TR 16403484. Founded in the fourteenth century, the present building dates from the sixteenth century and was greatly altered in 1802 (DoE 1973, 20).

The Manor House, Hillside Street, Hythe. Excavations inside the building in 1973 and 1975 exposed three masonry walls, a clay floor sealing a small pit, two gullies and 13 stake-holes cut into underlying deposits in the north-west corner of the house. A thick layer of burnt clay, wood and tile, representing the collapse of a timber and clay internal partition during a serious fire in the fifteenth century, sealed the earlier features. The fire debris contained iron fittings, a carbonised wooden shutter, pottery, a bronze cauldron, a crushed and burnt iron bucket, a large iron bill-hook and a broken bottle, most of which were distorted by the fire. The present house was built c. 1660 (Mynott 1974, 227; Philp 1996, 130 - 141).

St Bartholomews hospital, Bartholomew Street, Hythe, founded before 1276, closed by 1334 and re-founded in 1342. The walls are fourteenth century, but the doorway, windows and the extension up Church Hill are all nineteenth century (Newman 1969, 346).

A hardstanding for the beaching of boats was located in 1998 during excavations at 136-138 High Street, Hythe. The hard is on the edge of a former shoreline, is probably medieval and in use from the early thirteenth to fourteenth centuries. Subsequently the area was used as a rubbish dump before fourteenth and fifteenth century silting created a tidal mudflat across the area (Priestly-Bell 1998).

Since 1500

Burchs corn mill, a watermill built in 1773, immediately north of Mill Road, Hythe at TR 16653498. The machinery, pond and bypass sluice still exist and the tailrace is carried in a tunnel for c. 250m under the mill house and road, to discharge into the Royal Military Canal (Haselfoot 1978, 44).

Two lime kilns on the north side of North Road, Hythe. The site has since been built over (OS 1st edition 1872).

Martello Tower at TR 14863350. Built in 1805; only fragments of the wall remain (Bennett 1977, 38).

Martello Tower at TR 14523329. Built in 1805 but subsequently destroyed by the sea. There are no remains in situ but a few fragments can been seen on the foreshore (Bennett 1977, 38).

Site of a Martello Tower at TR 14193308. Built in 1805, destroyed by the sea before World War II. No remains visible (Bennett 1977, 38).

Fort Moncrieff Battery, at TR 141330. Built 1798, with an armament of eight 24-pounders (Bennett 1977, 38).

Martello Tower at TR 15873400, now a private house. Built in 1805, sold by the War Department in 1906 and used as a dwelling since 1928 (Bennett 1977, 38).

Martello Tower at TR 15503383. Built in 1806 in brick with a coating of cement on the outside. Of two storeys with a flat-roof gun emplacement (Bennett 1977, 38; Scheduled Ancient Monument, SAM Kent 76.

Martello Tower At TR 15213369. As above. Scheduled Ancient Monument, SAM Kent 76.

Martello Tower at TR 16253415. No trace of the tower has been found above ground and a road covers the site. This tower along with Sites 34 and 35 were part of the long line of low-level towers built on the shore in front of Hythe. They were demolished in the nineteenth century when the Promenade was constructed (Sutcliffe 1972, 87-88).

Martello Tower at TR 16493422.

Martello Tower at TR 170344.

Fort Sutherland, at TR 154337. Built in 1798 with an armament of eight 24-pounders (Bennett 1977, 38).

Saltwood Heights Battery, at TR 155349. Built in 1798 with an armament of two 24-pounders (Bennett 1977, 38).

Fort Twiss Battery, at TR 16493443. Built 1798 (Bennett 1977, 38).


An anti-aircraft acoustic-detection device. It is similar to one at Greatstone, Lydd which was built for the RAF between 1930 and 1934 but which went out of use by 1935 with the introduction of radar.

Listed Buildings in Hythe
Listed Buildings in Hythe

1 HIGH STREET (North Side)

No 1 TR 1534 NE 1/1 3.1.50.

A large late C18 or early C19 house. 3 storeys brown brick. Stone parapet and cemented stringcourse above ground floor. 5 sashes with glazing bars intact, and stone cills. 2 of the windows are blanks. Round-headed windows in arcading on ground floor. Large high porch with fluted Doric columns and flat entablature. Wide doorway up 4 steps with large semi-circular fanlight-to doorway, The right side has a 1 storey extension in matching style dated 1899.

Listing NGR: TR1591534751

1-7, Theatre Street (East Side)

Nos 1 to 7 (odd) TR 1634 NW 2/124

C18 or earlier. 2 storeys and basement colour-washed. Hipped old tiled roof. 4 sashes with some glazing bars intact. Cambered doorcases with some vestigial stone weather hoods. The rear elevation has a roof in 3 hips. The portion fronting the High Street has been modernised but it contains beams and 2 Mediaeval carved angel corbels.

Listing NGR: TR1632734786

10, Hillside Street

102 and 104, Stade Street

11 and 13, Theatre Street

110 and 112, Stade Street

112 and 112a, High Street

114, High Street

114, Stade Street

116-120, High Street

119-123, High Street

12 and 14, Hillside Street

122, High Street

124, High Street

125, High Street

126 and 128, High Street

13-17, Portland Road

130, High Street

14-20, North Road

152, 154, 154a and 156, High Street

160 and 160a, High Street

2 and 4, Theatre Street

21-27, Church Hill

22-26, Bartholomew Street

26-38, Stade Street

29 and 31, Dymchurch Road

31 and 33, High Street

36, High Street

38, 38a and 40, High Street

4, Mount Street

4, Prospect Road

46, Bartholomew Street

5 and 7, Bartholomew Street

5-9, Church Hill

53 and 53a, High Street

6, Marine Walk Street

6-18, Theatre Street

64, High Street

67 and 69, High Street

7 and 7a, Dymchurch Road

7-13, Mill Road

8 and 8b, Bartholomew Street

8, Marine Walk Street

80, North Road

82, North Road

86, High Street

87, High Street

93 and 93a, High Street

94-98, High Street

Avenue Cottage and Wall Adjoining to the South

Botfield Cottage

Building Adjoining No 4 on the North (Western Part Only)

Cantle Cottage and Wall Adjoining West and South Sides

II* CENTURIES, 1 and 2


Church of St Michael and All Angels

Dukes Head Inn

Former Animal Pound

Garden Wall on North and West Sides of No 32

Garden Wall to North, South, East and West of No 38

Garden Wall to South of No 36

Garden Walls on South and East Sides of No 34 (Hill House)

Garden Walls to South of Corner House, Quorndon and West Bank

Grove House

Hay House

Hythe Lifeboat Stations

Hythe Town Reservoir

II* Hythe War Memorial

K6 Telephone Box

Lloyds Bank

Martello Tower (No 14)

Martello Tower (No 15)

Martello Tower (No 19)

Military Terrace

Mill House

National Westminster Bank

Oak Hall


Piers Cottage

Portland House

Portland Villa

Pound Cottage

Premises Occupied by Ian Nash Upholsterer

Prospect House

Rear Portion of No 2

Red Lion Public House


Rose Cottage

Ruins of St Mary's Church

Scene Farmhouse

St John's Hospital

Stables to Rear of No 86 High Street

The Bell Inn

The Black Cottage

The Hermitage

The King's Head Inn

The Manor House the Old Manor House

The Oak Inn

I The Parish Church of St Leonard

The Swan Hotel

II* The Town Hall

The Vicarage

The Water Mill

The Whim

The White Hart Inn

Wall Adjoining No 17 (Overbury) to South East

Wall Adjoining No 26 to the North West

Wall Adjoining Nos 5 to 9 (Odd) on South East Side

Wall Adjoining the Old Manor House to North, East and South

Wall to Cantle Cottage on West Side

Wall to North and East of Oak Lodge

Wall to North and South West of Tynwald, North of Clyme House, North and South of Dunkery and North,

Wall to North and West of No 25

Wall to North and West of Nos 7 to 15 (Odd) Hillside Court

Wall to North and West Sides of the Dene

Wall to South of Parish Church of St Leonard

Walls on South and East Sides of No 3 Church Road

Walls to North, South, East and West of Vicarage and Adjoining Property to the West

Walls to South, West and East of Old Walls

  • Getting Around
  • Use the map below or Kent Visitor Information Centres to help plan your visit – you’ll find them in all major towns and cities as well as some larger villages. The Staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and can get all the help you need from local town maps and transport routes to finding the best accommodation for your trip. Many centres stocking a wide range of merchandise from local books, gifts, traditional postcards and souvenirs.


Hythe Directory

A comprehensive searchable directory of businesses, services and skills in the Folkestone, Hythe and Shepway district.

More about Hythe

  • There's a friendly, old world atmosphere in the 1940s-style shops, yet Hythe is close to London and near enough to France to do your shopping plus its tailor made for outdoor activities, from sailing and windsurfing to swimming to golf.
  • This charming town, where contemporary style combines effortlessly with vintage classics, is a mecca for shoppers; and the bustling high street, crammed with an array of boutique shops and restaurants, reflects the town’s unique atmosphere.
  • You’ll be spoilt for choice as you explore this eclectic high street, discovering shops selling everything from fresh local produce, to antiques, up-cycled furniture and one-off pieces for your home. - You'll also find beautiful jewellery, eye-catching art, pre-loved clothing and accessories; plus hairdressers, book-sellers and beauticians.
  • Scattered amongst the variety of shops and salons are pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars catering for everyone - from the real ale aficionados to the fussy foodies and cocktail connoisseurs.
  • Discover lovingly homemade cakes and chocolate treats, with prosecco served on the side; traditional European dishes; fish and chips; tempting Thai food and Indian favourites; plus perfect pizzas and the ultimate fry up, to name a few.
Visit Hythe you will love it!