Rye in East Sussex, England

Rye in East Sussex, England, is one of the Cinque Ports and is a lovely place to visit for a few days, I’m not sure what it would be like to live there permanently though as it seems to be one of those places that attracts more than its fair share of tourists – albeit of the more genteel variety. I’ve just googled Rye which I should of course have done before visiting the place because surprise surprise – I didn’t know it all. Anyway the link above is just to the Wiki page as East Sussex also seems to have more than its fair share of bloggers who have written about Rye, I didn’t want to choose between them.

It’s a small medieval town which used to be on the coast but the sea is now two miles away as over the centuries the sea has receded and what used to be the sea is now Romney Marsh. The town still feels coastal though, probably because there are three rivers, the Rother, the Tillingham and the Brede. Rye was a centre for smuggling due to the high taxes on so many goods and one of the smuggling gangs met in The Mermaid Inn. I was amused to see that the house opposite The Mermaid Inn is called The House Opposite. Quirky names seem to be all the rage for houses here, another one was called The One Next Door. I should have written them all down as I’ve forgotten them now.

Unusual shaped windows seem to be a feature of many of the houses.
Timbered house, Rye

triangular window, Rye

Apart from Henry James and E.F. Benson lots of authors were attracted to the place including Rumer Godden, Stephen Crane, H.G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Monica Edwards, Radclyffe Hall, John Christopher, Malcolm Saville. Joan Aiken was a native of Rye, Sir Paul McCartney and Spike Milligan lived there as did the artist Paul Nash. I wondered why Captain Pugwash featured in the Museum but apparently his creator John Ryan was a resident of Rye although he was born in Edinburgh. Rye is a very popular place to live.

The house below was the artist Paul Nash’s home.

Paul Nash's House, Rye

The house below was used as Mapp and then Lucia’s house in the TV series I’m sure.
Mapp and Lucia's  House, Rye

St Mary’s Church below also featured in Mapp and Lucia.
St Mary's Church, Rye

I’m sure the street below which is just at the church also featured a lot in the TV series with Quaint Irene painting the weatherboarding at one point.

hilly street, Rye

Below is The Mermaid Inn from the back, you can easily imagine it being a favourite meeting place for smugglers.

Mermaid Inn Arch, Rye

I would definitely visit Rye again, if I can brave the horror that is the M25 motorway again. We rarely got above eight miles an hour!

8 thoughts on “Rye in East Sussex, England

  1. I love Rye. It was a very different place back in the 1980s, when we visited. We only ever travelled in the autumn, so there weren’t ever many tourists. Maybe people travel more now than then. We had the town pretty much to ourselves.
    I recognize that street, too, the one where quaint Irene painted.

    • Joan,
      That’s surprising to me that it was so much quieter in the 1980s, I wonder what caused the ‘boom’, as they make absolutely nothing of the Mapp and Lucia connection. In fact I chatted about that with a shop owner and she agreed that more should be done, but then they don’t really need any more visitors.

  2. Robert Goddard the thriller writer set his novel “Hand in Glove” partly there. We went there a couple of years ago to find the house he used. As you say, a lovely little place but very touristy.

    • FictionFan,
      Me too, I think you would get quite a good view of the street from that window. I like cobbles but I’m not great at walking on them, even although I always wear flat shoes. I sometimes end up going on tiptoe in Edinburgh.

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