Hythe, Kent

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Hythe
Hythe Town Hall.jpg
Hythe Town Hall
Kent UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Hythe
Location within Kent
Population14,516 (2011) [1]
OS grid reference TR158350
Civil parish
  • Hythe
District
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HYTHE
Postcode district CT21
Dialling code 01303
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
Kent
51°04′18″N1°05′02″E / 51.0716°N 1.084°E / 51.0716; 1.084 Coordinates: 51°04′18″N1°05′02″E / 51.0716°N 1.084°E / 51.0716; 1.084

Hythe ( /ˈhð/ ) is a coastal market town on the edge of Romney Marsh, in the district of Folkestone and Hythe on the south coast of Kent. The word Hythe or Hithe is an Old English word meaning haven or landing place.

Contents

History

The town has mediaeval and Georgian buildings, as well as a Saxon/Norman church on the hill and a Victorian seafront promenade. Hythe was once defended by two castles, Saltwood and Lympne. Hythe Town Hall, a neoclassical style building, was completed in 1794. [2]

Hythe's market once took place in Market Square (now Red Lion Square) close to where there is now a farmers' market every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Hythe has gardening, horse riding, bowling, tennis, cricket, football, squash and sailing clubs. Lord Deedes was once patron of Hythe Civic Society.

As an important Cinque Port Hythe once possessed a bustling harbour which, over the course of 300 years, has now disappeared due to silting. Hythe was the central Cinque Port, sitting between Hastings and New Romney to the west and Dover and Sandwich to the east.

According to Hasted, a French fleet approached Hythe in 1293 and landed 200 men, 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 1348 the Black Death afflicted Hythe, and in 1400 the plague further reduced the population.

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. [3]

Hythe was the home of the Mackeson Brewery, which after changes of ownership, closed in 1968. It was the birthplace of Mackeson Stout, a type of beer first brewed in 1909, which went on to become a national brand. Mackeson stout is no longer brewed locally but is produced under contract by one of the major national brewers.

Hythe Ranges is a military training ground that takes up a large section of the Hythe shoreline. Access to this section of the shore is restricted when red flags are showing.

Royal Military Canal and Martello Towers

View of Hythe ca. 1830, showing the military canal and four Martello towers near the shoreline. Source: Ireland's History of Kent. Hythe1830.jpg
View of Hythe ca. 1830, showing the military canal and four Martello towers near the shoreline. Source: Ireland's History of Kent.

The Royal Military Canal runs across the northern edge of the marsh, to Winchelsea. Running under Stade Street, the canal, intended to repel invasion during the Napoleonic wars of 1804 to 1815, gives central Hythe its character. Now shaded by trees, the canal, 10 yards wide, passes into the marsh from the middle of the town. The canal begins at Seabrook and runs through Hythe. It follows the original haven that was once Hythe's harbour as far as the light railway thence across Romney Marsh to Winchelsea. Its 26-mile length can be walked.

Also built around the same time as a defence against possible invasion by Napoleon were the Martello Towers. In total 74 of these towers were built between Folkestone and Seaford. The walls were up to 13 ft (4 m) thick, and each tower held 24 men and had a huge cannon mounted on the top. They were named after a similar tower at Mortella Point in Corsica which the Navy had captured from the French. Although never needed for their original purpose they were later used to combat smuggling and also acted as signalling stations and coastal defences during the two world wars. Three of the towers survive at Hythe; one was converted to a house in the 1930s and can be seen along West Parade, and the other two are on the beach and are owned by the Ministry of Defence.

Geologically the town developed on a succession of non-parallel terraces, rising from the level ground around the Royal Canal (previously named the Royal Military Canal) towards the steep incline upon which the parish church of St Leonard was built. From the High Street, alleys lead up to the steeper levels of the town.

Castles at Saltwood and Lympne

Saltwood Castle Saltwood Castle, Hythe.jpg
Saltwood Castle

Hythe was once defended by two castles, Saltwood and Lympne. Saltwood derives its name from the village in its shadow. During the reign of King Canute the manor of Saltwood was granted to the priory of Christ Church in Canterbury, but during the 12th century it became the home of Henry d'Essex, constable of England.

Thomas Becket had sought from King Henry II restoration of the castle as an ecclesiastical palace. Henry instead granted the castle to Ranulf de Broc. That the castle had been returned to Becket, as Archbishop of Canterbury, and remained a church property until the reign of Henry VIII, when Hythe and Saltwood were to be sequestrated to the Crown, suggests that some complicity by the baron Rranulf de Broc was possible in the murder of Becket. It was during this time at Saltwood, on 28 December 1170, that four knights plotted Becket's death the following day. Hugh de Moreville was one of the knights, along with Reginald Fitzurse, William de Tracey and Richard le Breton.

From the moment Hythe came under Crown control, the senior official of the town was also a bailiff appointed by the Crown. This state of affairs (uniquely for a Cinque Port) remained until 1575 when Elizabeth I gave the town control of its affairs. The last Crown bailiff, John Bredgman, became the first mayor. A brass inscription bearing his name remains in the parish church, dated 1581.

Cinque port Court of Shepway

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". Shepway cross, erected in 1923, the monument to the Court of Shepway, is beside the Hythe to Lympne road (B2067). The lathe of Shepway was the Saxon name for south-east Kent, roughly corresponding with the modern District of Shepway, comprising Folkestone, Hythe, Romney Marsh and nearby villages as far north as Elham.

Royal Military Canal at Hythe Royal Military Canal at Hythe.JPG
Royal Military Canal at Hythe

Many think this monument marks where the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports held his court for Shepway, and it is referred to as the "Shepway Cross". In fact the Shepway Cross is a civic war memorial erected in 1923. It was placed on the top of Lympne Hill because that was traditionally the site of the Court of Shepway.

Shepway Cross was paid for and unveiled in August 1923 by Earl Beauchamp, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, attended the ceremony. The memorial now shows signs of decay. The lettering denoting the monument's true purpose is hardly legible.

School of Musketry

The School of Musketry was established in Hythe in 1853. [4]

Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway

Hythe is the northern terminus of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, running third-scale steam and diesel locomotives. The track runs parallel to the coast through Dymchurch and New Romney to Dungeness. The founders were Captain J Howey and Count Louis Zborowski. It opened in 1927. The trains run on a gauge of 15 inches (380 mm) and the track is nearly 14 miles (23 km) long. During the Second World War the service transported the Operation Pluto pipeline.

Governance

Folkestone and Hythe are represented in Parliament by the Conservative MP Damian Collins, elected in 2010.

Local places of interest

Sport & leisure

Hythe has a Non-League football club, Hythe Town F.C. who play at the Reachfields Stadium.

Theatre

Folkestone & Hythe Operatic & Dramatic Society owns the Tower Theatre at Shorncliffe. It is a charitable organisation which performs several shows a year.

Local media

Newspapers

Hythe has two paid-for newspapers, the "Folkestone and Hythe Express" (published by the KM Media Group) every Wednesday and the "Folkestone Herald" (published by Kent Regional News and Media). KentOnline.co.uk (published by the KM Media Group) also has a dedicated website for Hythe news. Free newspapers for the town include the Folkestone and Hythe Extra, part of the KM Group; and yourshepway, part of KOS Media. It also has a paid-for monthly magazine "Folkestone, Hythe & Romney Life". A new free community/lifestyle magazine for Hythe, "Hythe Life Magazine" launched in the summer of 2014.

Radio

The local radio station for Hythe is KMFM Shepway and White Cliffs Country. Hythe is also served by the county-wide stations Heart, Gold and BBC Radio Kent. Cinque Ports Radio 100.2FM is the community radio station for Hythe and Romney Marsh and has been broadcasting since 7th March 2022 replacing Shoreline FM, now an online service, which had been broadcasting on 100.2FM from January 2020. [5] Academy FM 105.9FM, the community radio station for Folkestone can also be received in parts of Hythe. [6]

Hythe FM on 95.1FM was a restricted service radio licensed station which broadcast for several years during the time of the Hythe Venetian Fete. The people behind Hythe FM have now started broadcasting online as Hythe Community Radio(HCR) since May 2022. [7]

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Folkestone</span> Town in Kent, England

Folkestone is a port town on the English Channel, in Kent, south-east England. The town lies on the southern edge of the North Downs at a valley between two cliffs. It was an important harbour and shipping port for most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cinque Ports</span>

The Confederation of Cinque Ports is a historic group of coastal towns in south-east England – predominantly in Kent and Sussex, with one outlier (Brightlingsea) in Essex. The name is Old French, meaning "five harbours", and alludes to the original five members. At its peak in the late middle ages, the confederation included over 40 members.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Romney Marsh</span> Wetland in south-east England

Romney Marsh is a sparsely populated wetland area in the counties of Kent and East Sussex in the south-east of England. It covers about 100 square miles (260 km2). The Marsh has been in use for centuries, though its inhabitants commonly suffered from malaria until the 18th century. Due to its location, geography and isolation, it was a smuggler's paradise between the 1600s and 1800s. The area has long been used for sheep pasture: Romney Marsh sheep are considered one of the most successful and important sheep breeds. Criss-crossed with numerous waterways, and with some areas lying below sea level, the Marsh has over time sustained a gradual level of reclamation, both through natural causes and by human intervention.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Romney</span> Town in Kent, England

New Romney is a market town in Kent, England, on the edge of Romney Marsh, an area of flat, rich agricultural land reclaimed from the sea after the harbour began to silt up. New Romney, one of the original Cinque Ports, was once a sea port, with the harbour adjacent to the church, but is now more than a mile from the sea. A mooring ring can still be seen in front of the church. It is the headquarters of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lydd</span> Human settlement in England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Folkestone and Hythe District</span> Non-metropolitan district in England

Folkestone and Hythe is a local government district in Kent, England, in the south-east of the county. Its council is based in the town of Folkestone. The authority was renamed from Shepway in April 2018, and therefore has the same name as the Folkestone and Hythe parliamentary constituency, although a somewhat narrower area is covered by the district.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dymchurch</span> Human settlement in England

Dymchurch is a village and civil parish in the Folkestone and Hythe district of Kent, England. The village is located on the coast five miles (8 km) south-west of Hythe, and on the Romney Marsh.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lympne</span> Human settlement in England

Lympne, formerly also Lymne, is a village on the former shallow-gradient sea cliffs above the expansive agricultural plain of Romney Marsh in Kent. The settlement forms an L shape stretching from Port Lympne Zoo via Lympne Castle facing Lympne Industrial Park then via the main settlement to Newingreen in the north, centred 11 km (7 mi) west of Folkestone, 2.3 mi (3.7 km) west of Hythe and 13 km (8.1 mi) ESE of Ashford.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Military Canal</span> Defensive canal in southern England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Folkestone and Hythe (UK Parliament constituency)</span>

Folkestone and Hythe is a constituency in Kent represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Damian Collins, a Conservative.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hythe railway station (Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway)</span>

Hythe station is the northern terminus of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The station has curved platforms with an overall roof, loco release road, former engine shed, signalbox with 16 lever frame, and a turntable. In terms of passenger bookings Hythe is the busiest station on the railway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saltwood</span> Village in Kent, England

Saltwood is a village and civil parish in the Folkestone and Hythe District of Kent, England. Within the parish are the small hamlets of Pedlinge and Sandling.

West Hythe is a hamlet near Palmarsh in Kent, England, and a few miles west of the cinque port town of Hythe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greatstone-on-Sea</span> Human settlement in England

Greatstone is a beach-side town, the third town up from the "point" of the Romney Marsh area of Kent. It is situated near the largest town there, New Romney in Kent, England. Although permission was given for a company to construct large numbers of homes and facilities in the 1920s, only a small number were actually built. There was widespread development in the 1960s and 1970s, however, leading to a sizable community. The church of St Peter's, built in the 1960s, is a daughter church of All Saints, Lydd, in which parish half of Greatstone is situated. It is in the civil parish of Lydd. There is a small group of shops at one end of the town, and the other end simply melds into Lydd-on-Sea. The local school is the Greatstone Primary School, from which most students either go on to The Marsh Academy, the Folkestone School for Girls or the Harvey Grammar School.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old Romney</span> Human settlement in England

Old Romney is a village and civil parish in the Folkestone and Hythe district of Kent, England.

Newchurch is a village and civil parish in the Folkestone and Hythe District in Kent, England. The village is located on the Romney Marsh, 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Dymchurch

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burmarsh</span> Human settlement in England

Burmarsh is a village and civil parish in the Folkestone and Hythe District of Kent, England. The village is located three miles (4.8 km) west of Hythe on the Romney Marsh. The Burmarsh Road connects the village to the once fully operating Burmarsh Road train station. The closest major settlement is Folkestone which is a minimum of 9.5 mile car journey.

Palmarsh is a community in Folkestone and Hythe district, in the County of Kent, England. In origin it was a hamlet on the edge of the Romney Marsh, but modern development to the west of Hythe in a corridor along the A259 coastal road, has led to the joining together of the ancient town and cinque port of Hythe and the rural hamlet of Palmarsh in a single conurbation.

References

  1. "Town Population 2011". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  2. Historic England. "The Town Hall (1068981)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  3. "British History Online: Hythe, Kent". Archived from the original on 7 December 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  4. "Formation of the early School of Musketry" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  5. "Shoreline FM". Ofcom. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  6. "105.9 Academy FM Folkestone". Archived from the original on 25 November 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  7. "Hit BBC drama Back to Life returns this month". 18 August 2021.
  8. Blundy & Lycett 1987, pp. 49–50; Kawczynski 2011, p. 13; Bruce St. John 2012, p. 138