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The Rype, Lydd - - 215217.jpg
The Rype, Lydd
Population 6,567 (2011)
  • Shepway
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Romney Marsh
Postcode district TN29
Dialling code 01797
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament
  • Folkestone and Hythe
List of places
KentCoordinates: 50°57′03″N 0°54′23″E / 50.9509°N 0.9064°E / 50.9509; 0.9064
High Street, Lydd - - 215215
High Street, Lydd

Lydd is a town and electoral ward in Kent, England, lying on the Romney Marsh. It is one of the larger settlements on the marsh, and the most southerly village in Kent. Lydd reached the height of its prosperity during the 13th century, when it was a corporate member of the Cinque Ports, a "limb" of Romney. Actually located on Denge Marsh, Lydd was one of the first sandy islands to form as the bay evolved into what is now called the Romney Marsh. The name Hlyda, which derives from the Latin word for "shore", was found in a Saxon charter dating from the 8th century.

The parish of Lydd comprises the town of Lydd, Dungeness, Lydd-on-Sea and parts of Greatstone.

Notable buildings in Lydd include the Gordon house longhall, a guildhall and a mediaeval courthouse. Chamberlains and churchwardens accounts of the 15th century survive alongside the town charters.


Lydd developed as a settlement during the Romano-British period on a shingle island when the coast at the time cut off Lydd from the mainland. The settlement continued into the Saxon period, with the Saxon church using Roman materials as part of its early construction. The town reached the height of its prosperity during the 13th century, when it was a corporate member of the Cinque Ports, a "limb" of Romney. As with much of the marsh, the town was a base for smuggling in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Before the First World War Lydd became an important artillery practice camp. Experiments with high explosives carried out on the shingle wastes around 1888 led to the invention of the explosive Lyddite. Lydd was at one time a garrison town and the area is still an important training ground for the armed forces, at one time having an extensive narrow gauge railway network.

Second World War

Aerial view of Lydd, Kent
Aerial view of Lydd with the airfield in the centre of the photograph

In September 1940, one of four young Dutch men who had landed on the coast between Hythe and Dungeness in a rowing boat was arrested for spying shortly after drinking at the Rising Sun pub. Three of the four were hanged at Pentonville Prison.

On 21 October, a Dornier was forced to land at the Lydd aerodrome, short of fuel, the pilot having been confused in his bearings whilst attempting to return to France, by the use of recently invented equipment devised to interrupt the homing beams sent from Germany to guide such planes. The Dornier was the first example of this new type of bomber to fall into the hands of British Intelligence. Lydd's wartime airfield was situated north of the town – only one Nissen hut now remains.

A Wellington bomber had the misfortune to crash-land on 26 June on returning from a 1,500-plane attack on Bremen. The 19-year-old pilot managed to get the plane down safely near Lydd, and the crew survived the crash, but were not certain they were in England until rescuers came to their assistance.

On 27 November, a train came under attack by two Focke-Wulf 190s. The train, hauled by Southern Railway D3 number 2365 which was just departing from Lydd Town railway station, had its boiler hit. The resulting jet of high pressure steam from the engine hit the plane, causing it to crash-land nearby; the pilot was found dead, but no railway staff or passengers were injured. The two planes had been heading over the coast after a raid on Ashford.

All Saints' Church

All Saints' Church, also known as Lydd Church or The Cathedral on the Marsh, belongs to the Diocese of Canterbury. All Saints is the longest parish church in Kent at 199 feet (61 m), and also has one of the tallest towers in the county at 132 feet (40 m). The church is thought to incorporate a small Romano-British basilica possibly built in the 5th century, though most of the current fabric is medieval. It was associated with local fraternities or Guilds in the 15th century and could seat 1,000 people at a time. Severely damaged by World War II bombing, the church was subsequently restored and became a Grade I listed building in 1950.

Lydd church with its tall tower was a major link in the chain of trigonometric measuring points for the Anglo-French Survey (1784–1790) linking the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the Paris Observatory. This eighteenth-century survey was led by General William Roy, and included a secondary base-line for checking purposes on Romney Marsh, between Ruckinge and Dymchurch. The primary base-line was on Hounslow Heath.


Lydd Airport, originally known as Ferryfield, and now also known as London Ashford Airport, was the first airport to be constructed in Britain after the Second World War.


Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).

Climate data for Lydd, UK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
Average low °C (°F) 3.3
Precipitation mm (inches) 48
Source: Weatherbase
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