Lamb House in Rye, East Sussex, England

Lamb House, Rye, East Sussex

Since I realised that the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson were set in Rye in East Sussex I’ve wanted to visit the place, especially as Rye was the location for the TV dramatisations. I certainly wasn’t disappointed as it’s a lovely place albeit one that has more than its fair share of tourists but that’s to be expected I suppose although I was surprised that there were so many German visitors around, I wonder why, is it the Mapp and Lucia aspect? Or maybe it’s Henry James. Both authors lived in Lamb House which used to be the home of the mayor of the town many years ago. It’s difficult to get a good photo of some of the buildings as the streets are so narrow.

The staircase in Lamb House is nice but nothing out of the ordinary really.
Staircase, Lamb House, Rye,

The study below is on the right hand side as you enter the front door. The cabinets are full of Henry James and E.F. Benson books, I had no idea that Benson had written so many.

Lamb House, Rye

Lamb House, Rye

The drawing room below is on the left hand side as you go through the front door and is bigger. There’s a drawing by Beatrix Potter on the wall.

Lamb House, Beatrix Potter

There’s also a framed L.P. of Land of Hope and Glory whose words were written by Arthur Benson, E.F.’s brother.

Lamb House, Rye

Henry James had always admired the house but never thought it would come on the market so when it did he snapped it up and lived there happily for decades. When Henry James died his family agreed to lease the house to E.F. Benson so between the two the house has hosted lots of visits from other writers over the years, but now it belongs to the National Trust and is a popular tourist destination.

The dining room is at the back of the house with doors which lead out to the garden.

Lamb House, dining room, Rye

A lot of entertaining must have gone on in these rooms over the years.
Rye, Lamb House, Henry James,

Only one bedroom is open to the public and it’s quite sparse, but I do love the corner fireplaces in Lamb House.

Lamb House, Rye,

It isn’t a particularly large house and not all of the rooms are open to the public, but I can see why those men both wanted to live in it as it would be a comfortable home and the garden is beautiful, but I’ll leave those photos for another day.

Of course E.F. Benson did end up being Mayor of Rye, for three terms I believe so he must really have thrown himself into the whole community. I don’t think he will ever have had to look far for his characters!

11 thoughts on “Lamb House in Rye, East Sussex, England

    • Sandra,
      I think they were mainly the original colour schemes because the dining room info card said that the sideboard area had been painted white at some point and the porthole window had been added. I think that if they had enough money they wanted to put it back to the original state, presumably the sideboard had originally been mahogany or some other such wood.

  1. What a charming house, so light and lovely. Although it belonged to the National Trust when we were in Rye in the 1980s, the house wasn’t open to the public. As to Benson, I knew him from the Mapp and Lucia books, so I was surprised when I found a nice, fat book of his ghost stories.

  2. I’m something of a deranged Henry James fan, and I think he chose to live in England because he was a man without a country, spiritually speaking, and he sought deep roots to draw upon, as a writer who possessed a reverence for the English language, and a man who, while quite young, determined that he would observe life, not be of it. America lacked the depth of history and customs that inspired him. And his pet subject was the American being seduced by the Old World, mostly women who came to a bad end! I’ve never set foot out of America, but I’m fascinated by your country, and can imagine why Mr. James felt at home there. Thanks for your lovely photos, they made me feel what he found there.

    • Daniel,
      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I think you are right about Henry James, although it is some years since I read any of his books, long before I took to blogging. I should definitely visit his books again. There’s also something about the town of Rye which attracts writers and artistic people, it’s definitely a place I hope to re-visit sometime as I enjoyed it so much. I hope you manage to visit the UK and Rye at some point, but armchair travelling is very nice too, with no flights and delays involved!
      Regards, Katrina

      • Katrina:

        If you do decide to read some Henry James, I would recommend The Aspern Papers, my favorite of his short novels. Of course Washington Square is wonderful, and then watch the 1949 film, The Heiress. And I just read his last novel, another short one, The Outcry, which is great fun (something seldom, if ever, said of a James novel). Set in about 1910, it’s all about American plutocrats descending on England to buy up all the cultural riches they can get their hands on, and marriages being arranged to save family fortunes. Thanks again for the lovely photo tour, and who knows? I might just get there, yet!
        All the best.

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