Wye is a historic village in Kent, England, located some 12 miles (19 km) from Canterbury and is also the main village in the civil parish of Wye with Hinxhill. The parish population was 2,384 (for the entire parish in 2001), although the students at Wye College add to this total.
Wye became an important ancient communications centre because of the ford across the Great Stour River connecting the parts of the ancient track way across the North Downs at this point. The Romans constructed their road between Canterbury and Hastings using the gap through the North Downs; remains of a Roman camp and villa have been found. By medieval times the town was a market, but in the later 18th century the new turnpike had bypassed the village on the opposite bank of the river; the main A28 road does the same today. Wye railway station was built when the line from Ashford to Margate was opened on 1 December 1846 by the South Eastern Railway.
Wye Racecourse was here: the first race was run on 29 May 1849, the last 2 May 1974 and closed permanently in June 1975 after being unable to improve the course which the jockey club had insisted upon in august 1974.The Long family who owned the course were unable to raise the funds to change the camber on bottom bend and improve the stands and the jockey club would not assist and the national hunt world lost another course. It is described thus: “Less than one mile (1.6 km) round, and more suited to a greyhound track than a racecourse, Wye could not be entirely classed as the ideal preparation for a tilt at the Champion Hurdle.”
The Wye Campus of the Imperial College of London (“Wye College”) was founded in 1447 as a Latin school and seminary by John Cardinal Kempe, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor. It has been part of London University since 1900. Until 2005 it was an agricultural college: events in 2005 changed that, but the somewhat fraught situation that arose in 2005 regarding the possibility of large scale development. This was the subject of a local campaign to oppose development on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty through a local group, Wye Future Group, and an independent web site, save-wye.org. The campaign was also documented by local author David Hewson in his book Saved which is now available for free at Scribed.
The parish church is dedicated to SS Gregory and Martin
On the Downs east of the village is a crown (hill figure) carved in the chalk by students in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.
A farmers market is held in Wye on the first and third Saturday of every month; and an annual summer festival of blues music and real ale, is held in the grounds of Withersdane, Wye, with profits to charity
Wye is on the Pilgrims’ Way and at a junction of the North Downs Way, a long distance walk from Farnham in Surrey east to Dover, and the Stour Valley Walk from Lenham via Ashford and Canterbury to Sandwich and finally the English Channel.
• Aphra Behn, (1640–1689) Restoration dramatist and spy.
• John Kemp, (c1380-1454) English cardinal, Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor.
• Catherine Macaulay, (1731–1791) English historian and republican
• Bryan Keith-Lucas, (1912–1996) Political scientist
• David Hewson, (1953-) Author