The Court of Shepway was established less than a century after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Charter of Edward I (reigned 1042-66) records that the King's Court was formed to handle any disputes between the Cinque Ports (then Dover, Sandwich, Romney, Hastings, and Hythe ), which the individual boroughs couldn't settle between themselves. The Court had powers equivalent to those of the Shire Courts which administered the law in England at the time. King's Court sessions were usually held in the open, on Lympne Hill, where the Shepway Cross now stands.
The Cross was erected in 1923 to mark this site.
The Shepway Cross stands at about the centre of the original Cinque Ports. Today Shepway Council, based in Folkestone, provides services for over 90,000 people from just west of Lydd, along the 'Kent Ditch', through Appledore, then east to include Newchurch, north including Elmsted, Stelling Minnis and Lyminge Forest, Hawkinge, part of Capel, and Folkestone itself.