town (parish), Shepway district, administrative and historic county of Kent, England, on the English Channel coast at the eastern end of Romney Marsh and on the Royal Military Canal. (The canal was built as a defensive moat when Napoleon threatened invasion of Britain.) The old town lies on the hillside inland from the canal, and the modern town, a seaside resort, lies between the canal and the coast. When the mouth of the River Rother was blocked and diverted eastward by shingle, the medieval port of Hythe replaced the Roman Portus Lemanis, where Lympne and West Hythe now stand, 2 miles (3 km) west of Hythe. Lympne Church has a Norman tower built with Roman material. Hythe ("Landing Place") was a port already in Saxon times, and its royal charter of 1205 confirmed earlier privileges. The port flourished for a time as one of the original Cinque Ports, but it declined as the shingle drift encroached further. The town also suffered from French raids. Pop. (2001) 14,170.
Learn more about Hythe with a free trial on Britannica.com.