Lathe of Shepway

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The Lathe of Shepway is one of the five lathes of Kent. It takes up the south-eastern corner of the county, encompassing the coastal lands in the south-west of Kent, and their hinterland including such towns as Folkestone.

This part of Kent has a mixture of seaside towns and villages interspersed with woods, with the North Downs at its northern end and in its south the sand and reclaimed marsh culminating in Romney Marsh.

The lathe contains the following hundreds:

  • Aloesbridge
  • Bircholt Barony & Franchise
  • Folkestone
  • Ham
  • Heane
  • Hythe
  • St Martin's Longport
  • Loningborough
  • Newchurch
  • Oxney
  • Stouting
  • Street
  • Worth

The liberty of Romney Marsh covers a large area to the south of the lathe, taking in land in several hundreds.

The lathe predates the Norman Conquest and is believed by some historians originated to have its origin in the territory of the Limenwara, one of the regiones of Jutish Kent.[1]

The Royal Court of Shepway met near Lympne at a place called Shepway Cross, and was the principal court of the Cinque Ports federation.[2]


  1. Brooks, Nicholas (1998), Anglo-Saxon Myths: State and Church, 400-1066, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, p. 59, ISBN 0826457924,, retrieved 2014-06-21 
  2. The Cinque Ports: Royal Court of Shepway