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History of Lydd

Lydd comes from the Old English ‘hlid’ meaning a ‘lid, door, gate’; therefore, 'at the gates'.

Lydd parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to All Saints. The Saxons first built it in the late 5th century. The Normans rebuilt the nave and chancel and the three eastern-most bays. In 1441, there is a record of five bells plus a Sanctus, which an unknown founder cast into a great bell. In 1444, Thomas Stanley partially rebuilt and heightened the tower with a clock and added three western-most bays. In 1552, Partridge of Rye – a general merchant who provided lead for the church roof and gutters- bought the great bell. In 1607, Joseph Hatch cast a bell, with a treble, and two others in the following year. In 1611, Churchwarden John Marketman adorned the church with paintings and writings. John Hodson augmented the bells to five with a tenor in 1693. In 1799, Edward Hasted described the Lydd church as a ‘large handsome building, consisting of three isles and three chancels, having at the west end a well-built tower, with four pinnacles on it, of unequal size, with gilt vanes on them. There are five bells in it. This church is very handsomely pewed and ornamented’.


Parishioners restored the interior in the 18th century and increased capacity to 1,000 by replacing box pews with oak. In 1920, Gillett and Johnston recast the five bells into a ring of eight. On 15 October 1940, a bomb destroyed the chancel; the attack occurred at 4:07 PM, being the time when the church clock, stopped. Additional bombing attacks in 1944 caused further damage.


Lydd railway station opened on the South Eastern Railway’s branch line from Appledore to Dungeness, on 7 December 1881. Until 1 April 1883, only freight could continue past Lydd to Dungeness. However, passenger services at Lydd station ceased on 6 March 1967, with freight services going the same way on 4 October 1971. British Rail put the site on the market for redevelopment in May 2006.

Before World War I
Lydd became an important artillery training camp. Experiments with high explosives carried out on the shingle wastes around 1888 led to the invention of the explosive Lyddite. Lydd is the location of an airfield - the first constructed in Britain after World War II - originally known as Lydd Airport its name later changed to London Ashford Airport.

During WWII
Lydd had a fuel pumping station as part of the Pluto: 'Pipe line under the ocean’ project, linking Dungeness via a Petroleum pipeline at Walton-on-Thames.