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The Medieval Town Of Rye.Sussex.

9111 Views 23 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Ana_Rita
Founded by the Saxons, its name meaning 'island', Rye was originally surrounded by the sea and today remains almost entirely encircled by three rivers; its isolated position enhancing its appeal. Though one can be easily deceived by the town's relaxed ambience, Rye has had a dramatic history. In its early role as one of the Cinque Ports, an ancient body set up to defend England against the threat of invasion, it maintained a high profile and at the height of its renown in the 13th & 14th centuries contributed 5 ships to the King's fleet. In 1377 a French attack depleted much of Rye's resources and over the next few centuries the town's fortunes fluctuated, largely affected by the forces of nature as the sea began to recede and the relentless silting of the estuary changed the nature of the harbour. Notwithstanding this, Rye was still a trading port of importance and in the 19th century was the centre of the ship-building industry;warships for the Crimea set sail from here. In the present, the maritime connection continues, as Rye still derives income from boat-building.

Mermaid Inn (Pic 8 23), Rye's largest medieval building, looms as imposingly as ever. In its heyday this tavern was the watering-hole for many a smuggler, its most infamous revellers being the bloodthirsty Hawkhurst gang reviled as 'that nest of vermin' who terrorised the area in the mid 18th century.
Smuggling and Rye are inextricably linked. As an important Cinque Port Rye smugglers were treated with leniency; a contributing factor being the covert involvement of many corrupt town officials who benefited from the affordable goods these men provided. Russell Thorndike based his well known Dr Syn books in the Rye area.

Many other literary figures found inspiration here. Rumer Godden and E F Benson (the author of the Mapp & Lucia books) both resided here whilst Renaissance playwright John Fletcher was born in Rye in 1579. Perhaps the town's most famous inhabitant was the novelist Henry James who fell in love with Rye at first sight and made his home in Lamb House (Pic 10), tucked away just off Mermaid St. Between 1897-1914 James wrote here, often dictating copy in the garden room that was sadly destroyed by a bomb in World War II. Even in his final years when ill health forced a move to London, he long cherished the memory of the 'blessed, the invaluable refuge of Lamb House.' Built in 1721 by James Lamb, whose descendants held the office of mayor for well over a century, this house witnessed two events of importance in its early years. In 1726 George I, blown ashore on nearby Camber Sands made his way to the mayor's house and was duly recruited as godfather to Lamb's child, born that very night. On a darker note, sixteen years later Lamb became the centre of Rye's most notorious murder case. Nurturing a long held grievance one night butcher John Breads lying in wait in the churchyard poinced on his unwary victim (the mayor as he supposed) only to later discover that it was Allan Grebell, Lamb's brother-in-law that he'd murdered, duped by the red cloak of office that Grebell had been loaned that night.Breads unfathomably proclaimed his guilt in the streets, screeching " butchers should kill lambs" for all the world to hear. Hanged for his crime, remains of his skull are still on display in the town hall. Today Lamb House has gentler associations. Acquired by the National Trust in 1948 it is a literary shrine (open Wed/Sat only) adorned not only by portraits of James but a whole host of other distinguished visitors of the period, including Ford Madox Ford, Conrad and Kipling.































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Absolutely beautiful pictures, love the colours, well done Eric. What a lovely town this is, I never even heard of it. :happy:

They're all great pictures but my favourite ones are 7, 11 and 30. :cheers:
What lovely pictures of Rye!! They are so clear. We love Rye too. There are many unspoilt beautiful villages in the neighbourhood.
Thank you guys :cheers1:
Definately think its one of the most attractive and best preserved towns in SE England. Has so much history and atmosphere, I'm surprised its not used in TV and films more often
nice set of pictures, you had great weather. i go to rye probably 5/6 times a year as its pretty local. it has some great restaurants and pubs. oh they have a river festival as well.

did you go to dungerness by any chance, there are some fantastic photo ops to be had there?

again, lovely pictures
Fantastic pics as always greco, can't say I've ever heard of the place but if I ever go on a tour of England I'll make sure to add it to the list!

I particularly like pic 15, love the shape of the various roofs, very...English :)

Btw, is that a castle in pic 18??
did you go to dungerness by any chance, there are some fantastic photo ops to be had there?

again, lovely pictures
No I didnt but I know its great.I went to Camber Sands though and watched the tide rise.Was very interesting.


Btw, is that a castle in pic 18??
Yeah I think so however it was used as a prison for centuries now its a museum.

Thanks all :cheers1:
Beautiful pictures - thanks for posting.
Ye olde england. Pretty and pleasant!

Don't send these pics to Prince Charles and Boris, they may have bad ideas!
Beautiful pictures, just stunning. I've never heard of the place, looks quite charming though.

I how did you manage to get the sky looking so blue in those street shots without getting a 'bleached' sky? Multiple exposures? If so what program do you use? I use photomatrix, which often produces an annoying ghosting effect. Apologies for all the questions!
Nope all are single exposure pics I just increased saturation and contrast and fixed exposure (Where possible) with Adobe Lightroom (Brilliant software) and Photoshop.
The light wasnt exactly ideal for photography that day as it was too harsh.Anyway the trip was great and the town absolutely lovely.Wonder what it looks like at night.

Thank you mate :cheers1:
Wonder what it looks like at night.
actually not that great, quite eerie.....unless thats what your after.

if anyone is thinking of going overnight i have to recommend the georgel not cheap but class (would need to be an occasion really!).
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What an utterly gorgeous little town - great pics Greco

I've never been to Rye, but i've been to Dymchurch a bunch of times - it doesn't look too far from Rye, next time i'm down there i'll have to pay it visit :yes:
Excellent photos ive never really herd of the place before but it looks very nice and old which i like.
I like photo 15 thats a great view of the town.
What an AMAZING set of photos! Crystal clear. Rye is one of my favourite towns in the country and these pictures really do it justice. Did you go to Camber Sands down the road? One of the most unspoiled beaches on the Kent Coast. One day I would like to live around there.
Yes I did go to Camber Sands ; the beach is great it was full of people and I stayed for a while and watched the tide rise.

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