Rye perches neatly on a hill that overlooks the panorama of the Romney Marshes. In the past (long ago) the town was surrounded by the sea which rolled back. From the churchtower the view on the surrounding landscape of the Marshes is breathtaking.
Rye view on Ypres tower
|view from St Mary's church tower.|
|old map of Susssex county|
Rye's medieval past is bound with France. In 1247 Rye was restored to the English crown.
It's thought that the name Rye originates from the Norman-french "La Rie" = the bank.
The numerous french raiding parties after the restoration - in 1339, 1377, 1449 nearly destroyed the
medieval Rye, and was the reason for building the town wall defenses, the Ypres tower and the Landgate.
The famous american writer Henry James lived 18 years in Lamb house in Rye. John Fletcher was born there, an lived in a house near ST Mary's Church.
Parking in Rye is amazingly cheap in such a touristic town : only 1.50 L /a day.
The numerous cobbled and timber Houses, the antiques shops, the nice tea-rooms and restaurants around the Town Hall and St Mary's church contribute to the charm of the historical center.
|We had tea with eccle cake (a Yorkshire recipe ) by Simon the Pieman the oldest tearoom in Rye|
|pork pie, eccle cake, apple pie, lemon cake....|
The town Hall
Monday was bank holidays, it means that the 1st of May was replaced by the 6 th. On this occasion an old tradition in Rye is that, the Mayor of Rye distributes pennies to the inhabitants. Childrens and adults enjoyed this ceremony, one "town crier" with a clock was announcing the next distribution, there were more and more people waiting on the place. It was very funny to see the children running and collecting the shiny pennies. It brings luck all the year. So, I also got three pennies that are now in my treasury box.
After that, we visited Saint Mary's church which has sometimes been called the Cathedral of East Sussex because of its magnificence and proportions.
|The driftwood Crucifix|
When the building of the present church was started, early in 12 th century, the town itself and much of the surrounding area was still held by the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy. Fécamp was the first Norman monastery to own land in England.
To commemorate the long history of Rye a quilted tapestry was sewed in 2000 by the inhabitants.
|Rye intra muros with the camber river all around|
|timber house on church square|
The Mayor of Rye
|in the entry of Georges Restaurant|
We had lunch at Georges Restaurant, very smart, but had to wait a long time before having our
exquisite meal : scallops (coquilles saint-Jacques), cod with the traditional chips.
|timber houses around Saint Mary's Church|
|in the churchyard|
|Saint Mary's Church|
Quarter Boys cottage refers to the four Cherubs or "jacks" which stood above the clock dial. They were so called because they strike the quarters but not the hours.
This first day was a success with everything we did and the most beautiful and sunny day (20°) with a bright blue sky and birds singing.